These products are similar but can differ markedly from each other e.g. traditional Italian gelato is significantly different than mass produced, commercial ice cream in Ireland, GB and the US. However, high end artisan produced ice cream made using batch processes can be similar.
Traditional Italian gelato generally contains around 8% milk fat, has a low overrun usually (< 18%) and is served from a cabinet held at around -11°-12°C. The physical properties are usually different. Because of the higher temperature of storage and the concentration of sugars, gelato is served and eaten in a highly viscous, semi-frozen state. The texture is often described as being smooth and dense. Fruit-flavoured gelato is also characterised by intense natural fruit flavours and is quite sweet although natural fruit-like sour notes may be evident.
Traditional gelato is produced using batch production methods and is generally consumed within a short time from manufacture.
While there are differences between these products the scientific principles that underpin their production are similar and in the articles that follow, I will often use the terms ice cream and gelato interchangeably. Please accept that I do not equate the quality and eating experience of traditional Italian gelato with mass-produced commercial ice cream.