Gelato Festival America, now in its third year, celebrated its first Chicago edition to partner with Ron Onesti’s Chicago Little Italy Festa on Taylor Street. The mission of Gelato Festival America is to spread the culture of artisanal gelato throughout the United States by holding events in four cities this summer. The winner of the contest for best flavor at this Festival was Pistachio Sicilia, presented by Angelo Lollino of Massa Café Italiano & Vero Gelato in Elmwood Park, IL. Other local Chicago competitors included Kyleen Atonson of Acadia and Michael E. Meranda of Gelato d’Oro.
– 1st place winner of the Chicago festival, Chicago’s very own Angelo Lollino (Instagram: @verocoffeegelato), received a beautiful medal by Florentine goldsmith Paolo Penko. The Pistachio Sicilia flavor was a hit with the Public Jury, composed of ticket-holding guests, as well as the Technical Jury of 12 professional judges. Angelo balanced his gelato perfectly, combining, “Bronte DOP pistachios with a light Sicilian lemon essence and a topping of candied orange and lemon peel”.
– Second place went to Fragola e Menta Sorbetto, a simple flavor based on fresh fruit and fresh mint that brings memories of warm evenings on Taylor Street, by Michael E. Meranda of Gelato d’Oro in Chicago, IL.
– Third place went to Little Red, an enticing cheesecake gelato marbled with decadent red velvet cake and a traditional honey graham cracker crust, drizzled with melted white chocolate and neatly tied up with a strawberry ribbon, by Savannah G. Lee (Instagram: @savannahs_gelato_kitchen) of Savannah’s Gelato Kitchen in San Francisco, CA.
Held in collaboration with strategic partners Carpigiani Frozen Dessert University and Sigep – Italian Exhibition Group, Global Partner Air Italy, Main Sponsors PreGel and WhyGelato.com, and Technical Sponsor ISA, Gelato Festival Chicago 2019 has produced a winner to continue the competition and enter a flavor in Gelato Festival American Final 2020. It’s the World Cup of gelato, a journey with hundreds of trials and thousands of flavors over four years on five continents! The Chicago stage competitors created and served more than two tons of gelato for thousands of guests over this weekend Chicago’s West Taylor Street using cups by Packaging Sponsor Stanpac.
– Technical Jury: Chocolate Peanut Butter Puppy Chow, a peanut butter and chocolate-based recipe, garnished with chex mix, by Jessica La Forge of God Save The Cream in Boston, MA. The Technical Jury prize is awarded to the professional judging panel’s favorite flavor (with no consideration given to the popular vote by all ticket-holding guests). Each gelato is judged based on presentation, flavor, structure, creativity, and articulation.
– Popular Jury: Lemon Freckled Carrot Bread, her Mother’s homemade carrot bread recipe made with oven-baked bread, cinnamon, and crushed walnuts. It is broken and blended directly into a home-crafted Wisconsin milk base with an extra handful of fresh grated carrots. The gelato is frozen then freckled with zesty lemon peel & topped with our local-made graham crumbles, by Kathy Turek of The Knotted Cone Gelato Co in Appleton, WI. The Popular Jury prize is awarded to the flavor that was preferred by the general admission guests (not counting the professional judging panel).
Winners of the other prizes:
– The Gela-to-go Award: Fragola e Menta Sorbetto, a simple flavor based on fresh fruit and fresh mint that brings memories of warm evenings on Taylor Street, by Michael E. Meranda of Gelato d’Oro in Chicago, IL.The recipient of the Gela-to-go Special Mention Certificate was the chef who sold the most pints of gelato for guests to take home.
– Kids Jury: Little Red, an enticing cheesecake gelato marbled with decadent red velvet cake and a traditional honey graham cracker crust, drizzled with melted white chocolate and neatly tied up with a strawberry ribbon, by Savannah G. Lee of Savannah’s Gelato Kitchen in San Francisco, CA. Little jurors, both pre-selected and among the little guests of the Festival, tasted and scored all the competing flavors.
– Speed Cup Race by ISA: Savannah G. Lee of Savannah’s Gelato Kitchen in San Francisco, CA served the most perfect cups of gelato in Chicago, nine. It was a close call, but Antonio Giannola and Stephano Franceschi claimed second and third place respectively. The top three each received an award to commemorate their placement. Sponsored by ISA, Speed Cup Race is about speed and the art of using the spatula to fill cups in the traditional Italian way. Each Gelato chef has 30 seconds to serve as many perfect servings of Gelato as possible.
– Stack It High by PreGel: Kathy Turek of The Knotted Cone Gelato Co in Appleton, WI stacked a record-breaking 25 scoops of gelato into a single cup to win the challenge and take home the Golden PreGel Scooper. Kathy shared the previous record of 23 with American Champion Mike Guerriero. Sponsored by PreGel, each Gelato Chef was given 30 seconds to stack as many scoops of gelato as possible into a cup.
This weekend was the culmination of a fantastic first Chicago Gelato Festival within Chicago’s Little Italy Festa on Taylor Street where thousands of people enjoyed authentic Italian gelato and voted for their favorites. Guests enjoyed demonstrations, contests and games, ceremonies and most importantly, tasting the artisanal gelato. Next up, the 2019 tour will bring Gelato Festivals to Washington, D.C., September 7 & 8 and LA, September 28 & 29.