Gelato: A type of Italian ice cream characterized by its density and richness. Although it contains similar custard based ingredients as American ice cream, gelato typically has a slightly higher sugar content and a slightly lower butter fat content. Gelato gets its celebrated richness from the freezing process, which leaves very little air in the finished product.
Sorbet: A dense, frozen dessert made from fruit puree, sugar, water and sometimes a liqueur or wine. Sorbets can have a dense texture similar to ice cream, but sorbets have no milk fat. Sorbets typically have a bright, acidic flavor and are used as palate cleansers at the end of meals or during multi-course meals.
Sherbet: A frozen dairy dessert that contains one to two percent butter fat in the form of milk or cream, and is typically fruit flavored.
Frozen Yogurt: A cultured and fermented milk based frozen dessert that can be served in either soft-serve form or in the hard frozen form typically associated with ice cream. Frozen yogurt is usually thought of as being a lower calorie alternative to ice cream, and can be a tart product similar in flavor to standard yogurt, or a sweet product similar to ice cream.
Soft Serve: Ice cream with a texture somewhere between a standard hard ice cream and a milkshake. Soft serve is ice cream that is channeled through a freezing machine in order to achieve the desired temperature, and then pumped through a draw valve, which churns the product and mixes it with air in order to achieve the correct consistency.
Granita: An Italian frozen dessert that is made from sugar, water and a type of flavoring. Granita differs from sorbet in that it is a coarser frozen desert, with larger ice crystals and a snowy texture.