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Is Gelato a Mass Produced Product?

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I love Gelato in its infinite variety of colors and flavors, and I would like to think that each Italian shop has a grandmother in the back room mixing up that wonderful stuff from secret family recipes handed down over the generations. Wandering from shop to shop trying to find just the "best" gelato in Italy is a competitive sport for many tourists, me included.

However, my suspicious nature makes me wonder, in this industrialized world, if at least the basic components of this lovely summer delight are not probably made in a single huge factory outside Rome, flavored, stuff added, dies mixed in, then shipped to the individual outlets to be displayed with fanciful decorations to confuse the gullible public into believing there is a difference.

Would someone who really knows enlighten us all on how gelato is made and distributed?

(Be kind, I would like to still believe in the Easter Bunny)

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