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Sensory characteristics of ice cream produced in the U.S.A. and Italy

Thompson, Kelly R., Chambers, Delores H., Chambers, Edgar IV
Journal of sensory studies 2009 v.24 no.3 pp. 396-414
chocolate, cocoa beans, firmness, flavor, fruits, grocery stores, ice cream, purchasing, scientists, texture, vanillin, Italy, United States
This study was conducted to define and compare sensory characteristics of high-quality Italian gelati to ice creams produced in the U.S.A. Trained descriptive sensory panelists evaluated gelato samples in Italy, purchased direct from local gelaterias, and ice cream samples in the U.S., purchased from grocery stores and local shops. In general, gelati obtained higher overall fruity and fruit identification scores, chocolate gelati obtained higher chocolate and cocoa notes and vanilla gelati obtained higher vanilla and lower vanillin intensities than most U.S. ice creams. Gelati were consistently associated with higher density, lower firmness and slower meltdown. When compared with U.S. ice creams, Italian gelati are characterized by specific sensory properties: "true to type" flavors - high-intensity flavors considered to be typical to that flavor category or specific fruit and are combined with a dense, smooth texture that allows for the development of flavor, body and bloom, enhancing the perception of flavors. The research conducted in this study may be useful for ice cream manufacturers and sensory scientists. These results are the first to define sensory characteristics of high-quality Italian gelati and may be used to produce ice cream with increased consumer liking. The descriptive attributes developed can be used for the development of new flavors or for the improvement of ice cream products already on the market.