a dish of chocolate gelato


Like the Colosseum, Beethoven’s 9th or Luke’s lightsaber – the greats in this world are timeless. Provocative. There is an instant emotional connection. Classic Chocolate Gelato is one of those things.



1. Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.


In 1692 the first recipe for frozen chocolate was published in the Italian book The Modern Steward. It involved chipping ice. endless stirring and had to be served immediately…to the wealthy. Imagine a full day of labor so the elite could indulge in a few minutes of gelato. Things are a lot easier now. I promise.


the chocolates

You’ll need three kinds of chocolate: unsweetened, semi or bittersweet and cocoa powder. The better the chocolate the better the gelato – to a point. Using a rare single varietal probably isn’t worth it. Personally, I stick with usual suspects, Callebaut, Valrhona, and Scharffen Berger. But any high-quality chocolate will make an awesome gelato.

Premium cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or natural) has 20-22% fat. This is what you want (Callebaut, Penzy’s, Scharffen Berger) Can’t find it? A powder with 10% or greater fat content will still work. How to tell? Check the total fat and the serving size on the label: 1g of total fat per 5g serving is 20% fat, .5g of total fat per 5g serving is 10%.


In 20 minutes you can mix up a batch Classic Chocolate Gelato and join a chocolate tradition that started nearly 400 years ago.



Classic Chocolate Gelato is a simple recipe with a complex flavor that comes from using three different kinds of chocolate.  

  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Easy


  • 202g  sugar
  •   34g  non-fat milk powder 
  •   27g  cocoa powder* 
  •   20g  tapioca starch 
  • 617g   whole milk 
  • 192g   heavy cream
  •  36g   corn syrup
  •  30g   egg yolks
  •  23g   unsweetened chocolate finely chopped 
  •  36g   chocolate 65%  finely chopped *



Make an ice bath and set aside.  Put the finely chopped chocolates into a large bowl.  


Combine sugar, non-fat milk powder, cocoa powder, and tapioca starch. Mix milk and cream in a large bowl.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Thoroughly incorporate the corn syrup and egg yolks.


Place the mixture in a medium saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes at medium-high. Heat until bubbles start forming around the edges but do not let it come to a full rolling boil.  Keep stirring the mixture.  In the last few minutes, the gelato will thicken. Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the finely chopped chocolate.   

Let it sit for 3-5 minutes then mix vigorously, scraping the melted chocolate off the bottom.  It may take a few minutes of mixing before the chocolate is completely incorporated (there should be no visible pieces of the chopped chocolate left)  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into the ice bath.


After the gelato has cooled, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.


Give the gelato a quick stir with an immersion blender or whisk then process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  The gelato is finished when it reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes on most machines) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)


  • Cocoa powder should have 20-22% fat content for the best results but a powder with 10% (or greater) fat content will work. 
  • Chocolate should be very finely so it melts evenly and quickly into the hot gelato mix.


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