♥ The Gelato Festival Comes to America! ♥
♥ For several years I have tried (unsuccessfully) to attend a Gelato Festival in Florence, Italy…but several weeks ago, Gelato Festival America came to me!
♥ Si, not only did the Gelato Festival came to America for the first time but it came to California for the first time and, better yet, it came to Santa Barbara!!
♥ As a passionate gelato lover and enthusiast I was, quite literally, thrilled! I cleared my calendar and immediately expressed my enthusiasm on social media. Well, would you believe that somehow it caught the attention of the PR firm (thank you Seth and Gabe!) and (as a food/Italy blogger/lover) I was asked if I would be interested in being a judge!
♥ What? A judge at a Gelato Festival?? Talk about a dream job! Of course, I said “si!”
♥ Arriving for my “assignment”, I picked up my VIP Pass (oh boy!) to The Gelato Village. Every gelataio (gelato artisan) was happy to talk about their unique and oh-so-tempting creation. (I was advised to wait until the actual judging to do any tasting…and I did manage to avoid temptation (but not without difficulty!).
Before I share about the judging, a few words… Gelato is serious business. And this is a real competition. Passionate gelato artisans come from all over the world to share “the fantastic world of artisan Italian Gelato” and their original flavors.
According to the rules of the festival, they each present their unique new recipe to a panel of experts and the public. Their combined vote determines the winners which are announced the last evening of the Festival.
The rules for the Santa Barbara competition were that the recipe had to be non-dairy and non-fat! So, without milk, technically that’s a sorbetto version of gelato and the challenge was to get the creamy, smooth texture, best of the fresh ingredients, and be flavorful. A difficult challenge to be sure. (Trust me, these were unlike any sorbet you’ve ever had!)
Seth explained the rules to the jury. Then, each gelataio (gelato artisan) was introduced and allotted one minute to describe his or her flavor and inspiration (those needing translation had two minutes). Daniele then showed us their bin of beautiful gelato up close and personal to the judges (ah, the aromas!).
Of course, to properly judge, we have to taste and we were given a healthy sample to test taste. An overall score was given as well as a detailed breakdown based on visual appeal, flavor, consistency, etc.
♥ Every flavor was a delightful, creative revelation! And delicious! ♥
The passion and dedication of these artisans was contagious. Obviously, they all were serving more than gelato!
(1) “Sicily Orange Sunrise” – Maurizio Melani (Heladeria Veneta, Spain)
(2) “Spicy Green Paradise” – Mattia Ortelli (Gelatogo, FL)
(3) “Tropical Blast” – Spin Miynarik (Black Market Gelato, Hollywood, CA)
(4) “Ode to Autumn” – Noel Knecht (Colibri Gelato, San Clemente, CA)
(5) “Sorbetto: Maiz Dulce Borracho” – Marcello Mennone (Gelati Gioia, Tampa Bay, FL)
(6) “Fresh Love” – Bruno Couto de Matos (Frio Gostoso, Brazil)
(7) “Shade of Rose” – Salvatore Bonomo (Nonna Rosa, LA)
(8) “Blood Orange “ – Robert Signona (Gelotti, Paterson, NJ)
(9) “Roasted Green Tea with Crunchy Mango” – Michele Brown (Dallas, TX)
(10) “Vegan Pink Pear & Ginger “ – Antonio Corrozza (Latteria Italiana, Miami, FL)
Do you have a favorite? Is your mouth watering? Who do you think won…??
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~ Congratulazioni! ~
♥ Gold Medal:#1 Sicily Orange Sunrise -Maurizio Melani
♥ Silver Medal: #9 Roasted Green Tea with Crunchy Mango – Michele Brown
♥ Bronze Medal: #8 Blood Orange – Robert Sigona
Of course, this is a Gelato Festival, so everyone wins, si? Grazie to all of the gelato chefs and sponsors!
What’s next for the winners? The winner from each stop will compete in the Gelato Festival America Grand Finale at the end of the 2017 tour! Bocca al lupo! Good luck!
♥ The Gelato Village
In addition to tasting all of the special flavors in the competition in The Chef’s Village, you could sample gelato favors at The Gelato Tent, watch your gelato being made fresh daily at The Gelato Laboratory, and learn about the history and making of gelato at The Gelato School.
All in all, a fun, delicious way to spend a day (or two)!
♥ Besides, what’s not to love about gelato??
♥ Do you know the difference between gelato and ice cream? The fascinating history of gelato? Get the scoop here! ♥
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Grazie to the Hosts & Sponsors, including: GelatoExperience.US, Carpigiani Gelato University, SIGEP, Il Buontalenti, PreGel, Il Ruggeri, et al