The Great Frozen Treat Debate

Warning: this post is not for the lactose intolerant.

I’m obsessed with dessert.

And more than that, I’m obsessed with frozen desserts.

Ice cream, smoothies, froyo, sorbet, gelato, popsicles, ice cream bars, and milkshakes: I’m an equal opportunity frozen treat lover (my daddy taught me well).

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I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but there’s an ice cream store across the street from our apartment. There’s also a gelato place two minutes down one street, and a froyo place around the corner in the other direction.

A few nights ago we went to the pop up Magnum Bar at the Tel Aviv port. Magnum bars are huge here–I remember the first time I ever had one was the first time I was in Israel, after I climbed Masada.

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The Magnum Bar was a complete balagan (mess). Instead of forming a civilized line (Israelis don’t like lines), everyone crowded the cashier and pushed their way to the front. Once we paid, we had to join another mass of people waiting for the workers to create our treats.

Instead of designing our own, Noah and I both chose the Magnum Jazz: vanilla ice cream dipped in dark chocolate right before our eyes, topped with candied nuts and who knows what, drizzled with a ribbon of white chocolate.

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Did I mention that Cookeez just opened in our building? Tonight’s the grand opening, they’re giving away free stuff, and the line is about 250 people long. Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose a cookie
  2. Choose a second cookie
  3. Choose your ice cream
  4. Eat your personalized ice cream sandwich and be happy forever

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For the delectable creation above, I chose a chocolate chip cookie, a Lotus cookie, and mascarpone ice cream with berries. (We also just found out that you can buy a single cookie for 5 shekels, so that’s probably going to rival my daily 5 shekel Cofix iced coffee…)

It’s pretty difficult to find American-style ice cream in Israel, but that doesn’t faze me. The incredible gelato makes up for it (that, and the delicious froyo toppings)

Have you ever wondered what makes gelato different from ice cream? I’m here to dispel the myths and teach you the truth, thanks to some much needed info from Max Falkowitz at Serious Eats. It comes down to three main differences.

  1. Eggs: Ice cream uses egg yolks, whereas gelato uses little to no egg yolks.
  1. Fat: Cream is a huge source of fat for ice cream, but gelato uses more milk than cream.
  1. Air: Ice cream is churned at a high speed to incorporate lots of air. Gelato is denser because it’s churned at a slower speed.

Keep in mind that it’s all essentially the same thing (which is ice cream), just different varieties of it.

In case you were wondering, I had gelato today. Salted caramel and crème brulee, because obviously I can’t choose just one. The crème brulee was full of crunchy bits of caramelized sugar, while the salted caramel had a thick layer of white chocolate ganache swirled throughout.

RIP that gelato, because I ate it so quickly that I forgot to take a picture.

Yeah, it was incredible. I’m definitely going to miss the amazing array of gelato and tangy frozen yogurt, but I can already hear a Mr. Freeze puppy chow sundae calling my name.

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