Fourteen gelato artisans from across the US and Canada gathered Thursday at New York’s prestigious James Beard House to compete in the Gelato World Tour – New York Challenge. The winner, Coconut Pineapple by Kelly Chu, owner of Cirsea from Charleston, South Carolina, earned a spot in the Grand Finale in Rimini, Italy this September.

Chu has been making ice cream and frozen desserts for almost 15 years, and her creamery shop, Cirsea opened within the last two years. Her winning flavor, Coconut Pineapple, was created especially for the Gelato World Tour event.

Special Mention was given to the flavor Coast to Coast by James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria, Vancouver, Canada, and the People’s Choice was awarded to Goat Cheese with Fig Balsamic Reduction by Vincenzo Tettamanti, Gemelli Gelato, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

And for only the third time in US culinary history, guests of the event experienced the Gelato Aficionado Dinner. Five of the artisans’ flavors were paired with savory dishes designed by Jordan Frosolone, executive Sous Chef at New York City’s Fowler and Wells and Gelato Maestro, Luciano Ferrari, Head Instructor of Carpigiani’s Gelato University and author of Gelato and Gourmet Frozen Desserts – A professional learning guide.

Proof that Gelato isn’t just for dessert anymore, the pairings for the menu were:

  • Trapanese Pesto (Sicilian almonds, capers, chilies and basil) served with malted milk with maple almond brittle gelato by Joshua Brambir, Pippin Gelato, New York City.
  • Chicken liver mousse, sherry vinegar, sage and crostini served with Chocolate/Licorice gelato by Daniel Burns, Luksus, New York City
  • Braised pork belly, truffle and honey served with egg tart gelato by Jacqueline Dole, Parlor, Boston, Action, Massachusetts
  • Fava bean, english pea and herb salad served with sheep ricotta and marmellata di cipolle gelato by Lorenzo Franchetti, Gelato Giusto,
    New York City
  • Beets, pistachio and crispy quinoa served with goat cheese with fig with balsamic reduction gelato by Vincenzo Tettamanti, Gemelli Gelato,
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

These five flavors and artisans, along with the following nine were selected to compete in the New York Challenge:

  • Tutto del Giardino by Anthony De Paola and Charles Ferrante, Gelato Kings, Farmingdale, New York
  • Brown Butter Pecan by Jon Snyder, il laboratorio del gelato, New York City
  • Daniel’s Chocolate by Maria Mansilla, La Argentina, Houston, Texas
  • Rose Latte by Jen Kavlakov and Elishia Richards, Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato, Jersey City, New Jersey
  • 3 Cheese and Mora by Guillermo Herrera Ramos, Dulce Gelato & Café, Toronto, Canada
  • Coconut Pineapple by Kelly Chu, Cirsea, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Coast to Coast by James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria, Vancouver, Canada
  • Oak with Maple Glazed Walnuts by Karlton Holmes & Eric Treworgy, Pugnuts Ice Cream and Gelato Shop, Surry, Maine
  • Bourbon Chocolate by Kristina Frantz, Dolce Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Judging the event were Katia Delogu, executive pastry chef at Eataly, Victoria Jordan, director of the James Beard House and Daniel Skurnik, executive pastry chef of Le Coucou.

The North American Stage of the Gelato World Tour includes stops in Chicago, Chicago Gourmet, New York City and Los Angeles raising awareness and helping North Americans discover the beauty and culture of true Italian artisan gelato. As a result of this tour, 7 artisans will represent North America in the Grand Finale in Rimini, September 2017.

The Gelato World Tour, with more than 1,600 competitors from 5 continents, is the most comprehensive gelato competition in the world. Major stops include Rome, Valencia, Melbourne, Dubai, Austin, Berlin, Rimini, Singapore, Tokyo, Chicago, Shenzhen and New York. Challenge stops have been held in more than 50 other cities throughout Italy, Europe, the Middle East and South America. The prestigious Carpigiani Gelato University and Sigep – Rimini Fiera, the most important trade show for traditional gelato and pastry, have organized the event. Main Partners are IFI, leading manufacturer of gelato display cases, and PreGel, the world’s largest producer of ingredients for gelato and pastry. The event is supported internationally by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, and the Emilia Romagna Region.

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