One of my friends and I were discussing ice cream, as ice cream lovers often do, which led to the question neither one of us knew the answer to: What is the difference between custard and ice cream? This discussion, of course, was inspired by the new custard place in Ashland.

When I was a child, my dad took me to the Tunnel Inn for a custard. (The place was named because it overlooked a railroad tunnel.) I didn’t fully grasp the difference between ice cream and custard other than 1. Custard in a cone was swirly and ice cream in a cone was shaped like a ball; and 2. You got ice cream at home and custard when you went out for ice cream. There weren’t a lot of eateries to choose from and we didn’t go out much, so you can see how a little girl could get confused.

I’m not even sure what I was getting was true custard, but that’s what we called it.

That doesn’t matter, though. It was a treat to go to the Tunnel Inn, whether it was for hot dogs and root beers or a custard.

I told my friend I was sure there was some difference between ice cream and custard that had to do with their chemical makeup. For instance, one has more cream or one has more sugar.

Turns out, that’s sort of true.

I researched the difference between ice cream and custard and learned they are both made from cream or milk and sugar. Both must had at least 10% milkfat, but custard must have more than 1.4% egg yolk, while ice cream must have less than 1.4% egg yolk. The increased egg yolk content creates the smoother texture. The nutritional value is pretty much the same. That’s all according to the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

I also learned there’s a reason that custard was “swirly” and ice cream was “shaped like a ball.” said custard is served a little warmer than ice cream. That’s why it’s shape is more abstract than ice cream.

The website also said frozen custard is a kind of gelato/ice cream hybrid, combining “the density and egg yolks of gelato with the balance of more heavy cream than milk of ice cream.” That means maximizing the fat content.

Yikes. That’s something most of us don’t want to hear.

Yet when we want a treat, where do we go? We usually get some kind of frozen treat.

Will it be custard, ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt? It’s your choice because it’s all good!

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