Luca Caviezel, one of the greatest experts on Italian hand-made gelato, divides the characteristics of gelato into two main categories:
- Objective values: mainly linked to the gelato-making processes, the ingredients used and their respective ratios.
- Subjective values: dependent on personal opinion and suitability for specific occasions.
Gelato which “runs” is too soft and so lacks consistency. Gelato which “snaps” has too much consistency and becomes “chewy”. Gelato has to be “palatable” which means semi-hard. The best body for gelato is consistent, homogeneous, harmonious and looks even. It should not have a consistency that is too watery, gelatinous or floury.
This corresponds to the “texture” of the product sold to consumers. An excellent gelato is the fruit of quality, healthy and balanced ingredients, but also careful attention to practical detail. One false move and the structure of the gelato can be altered in some way. The variables for this characteristic are as follows: lightness or heaviness (according to how much air is incorporated during batch freezing); “coarseness” (ice crystals that are too thick due to mistakes in the freezing and hardening phase); “sandiness” (excess lactose); “butteriness” (smoothing process incorrect).
Gelato has to be a complete, balanced food in nutritional terms and preferably have no contraindications (such as being too fatty).
Inside a good hand-made gelato we should find water, carbohydrates (including sugars), fats (animal or vegetable), proteins, mineral salts and vitamins.
This area involves a more personal area – the sense of taste. But it is also the most important factor in the customer’s choice of whether or not to accept the gelato.
In general, a good hand-made gelato should
- have a smooth surface that is slightly porous
- natural attractive color
- fresh taste
- specific flavor (clearly identifiable).
and should avoid:
- rough appearance
- granular appearance
- garish colors
- rancid stale flavor
- non-specific flavor, hard to identify