Ice Cream, Gelato, or Frozen Custard?

Ice Cream, Gelato, or Frozen Custard?

As the temperature needle rises, our thoughts often turn to the freezer.  Sure, sometimes you just want to just live in one when it gets this hot.  When calmer heads prevail, however, most of us turn to a frozen treat to calm the wicked heat.  In Hillsborough, you have more than one choice for creamy, frozen indulgence.  Whit’s Frozen Custard offers fresh-made frozen custard, Maple View Farm offers has classic ice cream, and Matthew’s Chocolates sells authentic Italian gelato. We know what you’re thinking.  Which one should I choose? Which one is the best? What’s the difference between the three anyway?


The Options (in no particular order)


Option 1: Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Traditional Ice Cream is usually made with a combination of cream and milk with sugar and flavors.  Sometimes it contains egg yolks, but most American commercial makers don’t use them. Those ingredients are cooked, cooled and cold churned very quickly to incorporate a significant amount of air into the base.  This process increases the volume and creates a light, creamy consistency. Finally, it is moved to a freezer, where it sets and freezes completely. Ice cream is stored and served at very cold temperatures, usually well below zero. The result is an easy to scoop product with a light and creamy consistency.


Option 2: Gelato


An Italian dessert staple, Gelato is made in much the same way as ice cream. However, gelato is made with a lower proportion of cream to milk and usually uses no egg yolk..It is also churned at a slower rate, incorporating less air. The result is a rich, dense product that has a much lower fat content than ice cream.  Gelato is also served at a higher temperature than ice cream, usually ten to fifteen degrees warmer. And, instead of scoops, a small spade is used to serve it. Fans of gelato say that the lower level of milkfat to coat your taste buds and warmer temperatures that don’t numb your mouth allow more flavor to shine through.


Options 3: Frozen Custard

Frozen Custard

Frozen Custard is also made in much the same way as ice cream. The milk to cream ratio is the same. With custard, however, there must be a significant amount of egg yolk. It is churned in a machine that allows very little air into the base and it is usually served immediately out of the machine or close to it. The result is a dense, creamy texture that starts to melt as soon as it hits your tongue. Because of its same-day preparation method, frozen custard stands often feature only select flavors.  Usually, vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the day complete their menu.


The Choice is Yours

Hillsborough offers you all three of these wonderful options.  You may prefer one over the others but we think they’re all simply wonderful.  The important thing is this.   Cup, cone, dish or cake, you can get your frozen treats here and enjoy a perfect cure for a hot summer day.  We suggest you head out and try these local shops.  You won’t be disappointed.


Maple View Farm

6900 Rocky Ridge Road – Farm & Creamery with over a dozen flavors, minutes from town


Matthew’s Chocolates

107 North Churton Street – Offering authentic Italian gelato in Downtown Hillsborough


Whit’s Frozen Custard

240 South Nash Street – A regional chain of frozen custard stands, located in West Hillsborough