How Does Gelato Differ from Ice Cream?
It all has to do with the ingredients and the process of making the creamy mixture. American-style ice cream is made with heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, eggs and flavorings before being churned.
Gelato contains less cream and is churned at a slower rate than American ice cream. That’s what makes it more velvety and rich. It’s also served at a slightly lower temperature than ice cream, allowing more of the flavor to shine through. The so called Dolce Gelatos are made with milk instead of high-fat cream. Frutta Gelatos are made with fresh fruit and real flavorings.
Gelato: Indoors and Outdoors
When I first discovered Gelato di Riso, there were only a few tables on the sidewalk from which to enjoy the treat on The Hill. Now there’s a large, attractive patio along one side of the building, that abuts Imo Plaza with its fountain and additional seating. A great way to enjoy the neighborhood.
You can find Gelato di Riso’s velvety-smooth creations at their flagship location on The Hill and in Kirkwood. It’s also offered at restaurants and stores such as: Cafe Napoli, Lorenzo’s, Viviano’s, Charlie Imo’s Market, and Pit Stop.
When Gelato Came to America
Gelato is among the very oldest of sweet treats. The dessert was originally made from snow brought down from mountain peaks by runners. A 16th century Sicilian is considered the first to sell the icy combo of fruits, juices and milk.
An Italian physician in the 1800s wrote that the mixture was good for both mind and body. (You don’t find doctors like that nowadays.) Even so, gelato is revered enough to have its own museum located on the outskirts of Bologna, Italy.
“Send Me Your Poor”—and Don’t Forget the Recipes!
St. Ambrose Catholic Church, the historic centerpiece of the Italian community, has a unique statue on its corner. It’s not a saint, as you might expect, it’s a couple with a baby and a suitcase.
Having just gotten off the boat, with all their earthly possessions in hand, the figures on the statue look uncertain, but hopeful, as they begin life on a new shore. The statue entitled, “The Italian Immigrants” is a powerful reminder of those who settled the area many decades ago.
Gelato Lives On
Today the vibrant and thriving Hill area is a tribute to the hard work and family values of those early immigrants, whose descendants continue their contribution to the Greater St. Louis area.
Fortunately, they brought along their food culture and with it the makings for fine pastas, sauces, breads, and pastries that are still enjoyed today. Gelato is one such delicacy.
Gelato di Riso. 5204 Wilson Avenue on The Hill. Open: Tue-Thu 10a-9p; Fri-Sat 10a-9:30p; Sum 9:30-9p; Kirkwood: 151 W. Jefferson Ave. Closed Mon-Tue; Open: Wed-Thu 12p-8:30; Fri-Sat 12p.-9p; Sun 12p-8:30p.