Hear that sound? It’s everyone in Italy, screaming for ice cream. Because if there’s one country that loves creamy frozen treats, it’s the home of gelato: Italy produced more ice cream last year than any other country in Europe.
Italy was responsible for 19% all the ice cream made in Europe last year, producing 157 million gallons of the stuff, reports Bloomberg. That’s about 6.8 billion scoops. Germany came in second with approximately 135 million gallons.
It makes sense that Italy needs to make a lot of ice cream: Its residents eat an average of 100 scoops of ice cream ever year, served at any of the 19,000 or so gelaterias in the country.
Those shops do brisk business, selling $1.6 billion worth of gelato every year.
“We can sell up to 300 kilograms (660 pounds) a day on the busiest summer days,” the founder of one chain tells Bloomberg.
A great gelato
While you can find gelato on supermarket shelves in the U.S., “authentic” gelato — which is usually creamier and more spreadable, because it has less air whipped into it than ice cream — is produced fresh almost every day in relatively small quantities, and is sold directly to the public in a large number of flavors.
According to Luciano Ferrari, senior instructor and technical director at the Carpigiano Gelato University in Bologna, Italy, a great gelato meets three criteria.
“A not-so-great gelato is missing at least one,” he explained to Consumerist.
1. Taste shall be natural, clean, intense, lasting and not end up leaving just sweetness in your mouth.
2. Structure must be creamy and spreadable. This means gelato should never be too hard nor too soft.
3. Texture — the feel of consistency during consumption — shall be smooth and fine.