Gelato is Italian ice cream, containing the same ingredients as American ice cream, but in different proportions.
Gelato has roots that stretch back thousands of years. The earliest frozen desserts on record can be found in Asian cultures where crushed ice mixed with flavorings was a refreshing beverage, to the ancient Egyptian pharaohs offering a cup of ice flavored with fruit juices to their guests. Frozen desserts first came to Italy from a Roman tradition of eating ice gathered from the volcanoes of Etna and Vesuvius that was covered in mellifluous honey.
It was during the Italian Renaissance that gelato in its modern form was first created. In the 1500s, a wealthy family commissioned artist and architect Bernardo Buontalenti to create an elaborate feast for the visiting King of Spain. Not only was Buontalenti talented in the arts, but he also had quite a culinary prowess and crafted a creamy frozen dessert for the King that has since been known as gelato. The love for this indulgent treat spread quickly throughout Europe and became deeply entrenched in the fabric of everyday life in Italy.