If you haven’t already tried Pitango’s gelato, then I highly recommend you do so. Temps are expected to reach the ’90s all week long and this stuff is not only the real deal but it’s the perfect way to stay cool in this sweltering heat.
I’ve always been an ice cream kind of girl. My go-to flavors are strawberry cheesecake from Ben and Jerry’s
and I’m a sucker for Haagen Dazs Dulce De Leche.
But nothing even comes close to the pure deliciousness of Pitango’s pistachio gelato.
Now I have to tell you the truth. I really didn’t know what exactly was the difference between gelato and ice cream (or if there even was a difference.) I mean isn’t the word “gelato” italian for ice cream? So I googled it and here’s what I found out. According to an italian food blog this is the difference between ice cream and gelato. And indeed there are many differences.
For a product to carry the label of “ice cream” in the US it has to have a minimum 10% fat content. Lower quality ice cream will be around 11 or 12%, while higher quality products will hit 16% and higher. Gelato is a different thing all together- since the milk-to-cream ratio is much higher, the fat content is significantly lower- anywhere between 3 and 8%.
This is particularly important when it comes to taste, as the lower fat content doesn’t saturate your taste buds as much, and the flavors have the chance to emerge stronger. Air content is also significantly different: overrun, the difference between the weight of the ingredients and the weight of the final product given a fixed volume, used to measure the amount of air that is trapped in the final product, is about 25%-30% ingelato and usually in excess of 50% in ice cream. The reason of the different air content resides in the churning method and the processing speed. Last, but not least- serving temperature. Ice cream is served frozen, while gelato is not- hence the challenge to lick your way around the cone before it melts.
Ok so back to the Pitango I visited on 7th street in NW DC. (There are several other locations including ones in Baltimore, Reston and Capitol Hil area.) Pitango, whose namesake is a variety of cherry that grows wild in Israel. Owner Noah Dan has clearly and successfully reproduced the taste from his gelato from his childhood. Pitango produces a very high-end product without the use of chemicals or artificial additives. Pitango Gelato takes organic milk, cream, eggs, sugar, fruits and nuts and combines them using traditional Italian ice cream making methods. And you can absolutely taste the difference. I have decided that before the summer ends I want to taste every single flavor that Pitango’s offers. Next up is the spicy chocolate and bourbon vanilla!
I’m up for the challenge =)
Vanessa Camozzi is the founder of DC on Heels.