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French Ice Cream vs. Italian Ice Cream: What's the Difference?

When you think of ice cream, which country do you think of? Are you thinking of Italy? Or are you thinking of France? While both countries are known for their versions of the frozen dessert, what’s the difference?

Italian ice cream and French ice cream are made in different ways using different ingredients. Here’s what you need to know about the two.

Italian Ice Cream
Italian ice cream is prepared on a custard-base. This means the dairy, egg, and sugar base is heated up to a high temperature. The temperature is high enough to pasteurize the raw eggs without crumbling them. Italy is not only famous for their standard ice cream, but they’re also known for gelato. Sure, you can get gelato in the United States, but nothing compares to dessert cups full of the genuine frozen treat complete with a tasting spoon. Compared to the French version of ice cream, Italy’s formula tends to be a lot leaner and a lot milkier. It contains less butterfat, which means it has less cream and more milk. It also contains less air and more sugar. The American version of ice cream generally contains more than 50% air after the churning process. So, you can see how Italy's version differs from the States, too.

French Ice Cream
Just like the Italian version, French ice cream is prepared on the same custard-base. Both Italian and French ice creams share the common, generous use of egg. For both types, it’s important to make sure the eggs don’t crumble during the heating process. Unlike Italian ice cream, French dessert cups are creamier and heavier. They contain more butterfat, meaning they have more cream.

Why Use Eggs?
The mixture of eggs with the heated custard-base has a few different advantages. Eggs give a specific taste to ice cream, the yolk, in particular. They contain a lot of fat, emulsifiers, and egg protein. The fat is crucial in most ice creams along with heated egg proteins as they help bind water, which ultimately improves the taste of ice cream.

Even though the two are similar when it comes to the egg and custard-base, the rest of their formula is pretty much opposite. So, which type would you fill a few dessert cups with?
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About the Author: Tim Porter

Tim is the CEO and people builder of In his free time, he enjoys being with his family, collecting watches, and Classic Mini Coopers.


Our purpose at Frozen Dessert Supplies is "Build People and Deliver Joy." That means that everything we do, from manufacturing to packaging to delivery, is to build you and your business and deliver joy to you. We also strive to build our employees and help them to be better people.

Our paper ice cream cups are made withFDA approved food-safe papercoated in a thin layer ofPE (Polyethylene). Our clear plastic cups, banana split boats, and plastic dome lids are made fromPET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). Our plastic spoons and straws are made fromPP (Polypropylene). Our eco-friendly ice cream cups are made fromFDA approved food-safe papercoated in a thin layer ofPLA (Polylactic Acid). PLA is plastic made from corn starch. Our eco-friendly spoons are also made from PLA. Our eco-friendly wooden spoons are made from FDA approvedsmooth birch wood.

French Ice Cream vs. Italian Ice Cream: What's the Difference?