Oct 082014
 

In my recent article for Zester Daily, I wrote about the gelato explosion. One thing is for sure, gelato is on the move from its Italian home base as more and more entrepreneurs set up shop all over the world using Italy’s state-of-the-art equipment, designed for small-batch, artisan production.

Some of the entries at the Gelato World Tour finale, Rimini, 2014. | Photo: Dino Buffagnani

Gelato entries at the Gelato World Tour Gran Finale, Rimini, 2014. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Following up on my last post about Rimini, here’s the scoop about why I was in that famous beach resort last month. No, it wasn’t to sunbathe or take in the nightclubs. It was to join the World Gelato Tour which, after circling the globe and picking finalists along the way—including two American gelato makers, Matthew Lee from Austin and Stefano Versace from Miami—the contestants had a “cook-off” to vie for  the World Cup. Here are the stars, the winners, the flavors, and the backdrops—and a photo gallery of the three sweet days I spent in Fellini’s native town to join the jury in discerning who should win the title.

Gelato Village, Rimini. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Gelato Village in Fellini Park, Rimini. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Some Sponsors

 A tour of Carpigiani HQ outside of Bologna took in their Gelato University, and the Gelato Museum…

Gelato University classroom. | Photo: Julia della Croce

Gelato University classroom. | Photo: Julia della Croce

At the Gelato University lab, student samples for sale. | Photo: Julia della Croce

Australian jurors inspecting student work at the Gelato University lab. | Photo: Julia della Croce

Gelato cart c. early 20th century. Gelato Museum, Bologna.| Photo: Julia della Croce

Gelato cart c. early 20th century. Gelato Museum. | Photo: Julia della Croce

MEC3, a Willie Wonka-like factory that makes the base ingredients used for making gelato and frozen desserts.

MEC3, Rimini, a Willie Wonka-like factory that makes the base ingredients for gelato and soft-frozen desserts. | Photo: Julia della Croce

MEC3, Rimini. | Photo: Gelato World Tour

Finalists

Matthew Lee, from Téo, Austin. | Photo: Dino Bufagni, Gelato World Tour

Matthew Lee, from Téo, Austin. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Stefano Versace of Versace Gelateria, Miami. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, World Gelato Tour

Stefano Versace of Versace Gelateria, Miami. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

James Coleridge of Bella Gelateria, Vancouver, BC, Canada

James Coleridge of Bella Gelateria, Vancouver, BC, Canada. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Ahmed Abdulati, of Dolci Desideri, Bahrain. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Ahmed Abdulati, of Dolci Desideri, Bahrain. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

A gelato artisan taking a break on her Vespa, Rimini. | Photo: Dino Buffagani, Gelato World Tour

A contestant taking a break in Fellini Park. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

The twenty-four finalists from around the world. | Photo: Dino Buffagnani, Gelato World Tour

All the finalists, from around the world. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Some Favorites…

Hazelnut's Heart, from Gelateria Fiore, Suzzara, Italy

Hazelnut’s Heart, from Gelateria Fiore, Suzzara, Italy. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Sóller Orange Sorbet with Fresh Mint and Cardamon, from Iceberg, Spain.| Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Sóller Orange Sorbet with Fresh Mint and Cardamon, from Iceberg, Spain.| Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Texas Pecan Pie gelato, from Téo, Austin, TX. Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Texas Pecan Pie gelato, from Téo, Austin, TX. Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Sicilian Pistachio Gelato, from Il Cantagalli, Lamezia Terme, Italy. | Photo| Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Sicilian Pistachio Gelato, from Il Cantagalli, Lamezia Terme, Italy. | Photo| Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Bahrani Rose gelato, from Dolci Desideri, Bahrain. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Bahrani Rose gelato, from Dolci Desideri, Bahrain. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Drowned Almond Gelato, from Cow & the Moon, Sydney, Australia. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

Drowned Almond Gelato, from Cow & the Moon, Sydney, Australia. | Photo: Dino Buffagni, Gelato World Tour

To find out who won and the ingredients in the winning flavors, continue reading here. Thanks to the Italian Trade Commission and the many dedicated organizers of Gelato World Tour Rimini for making this trip possible. Special thanks to Valentina Righi, Communication and Public Relations Manager for the Carpigiani Group, for enlightening me about the nutritional value of eating gelato for lunch at least three times a week!

Valentina Righi having lunch at the Carpigiani Gelato University lab. | Photo: Julia della Croce

Valentina Righi having lunch at the Carpigiani Gelato University lab. That plate she’s eating from is a newly designed four-compartment gelato palette that accommodates two flavors and three toppings. Designed by the ever forward-thinking Carpigiani folk. | Photo: Julia della Croce

 

Sep 242014
 
Fellini Drawings Disappear

….Not from the Rimini museum where I recently photographed them, but from Facebook. I’ve been trying to post a story I wrote about the drawings from his dreams yesterday, but Facebook has been blocking the link. Could it be because of his surreal images of naked women? To get to the post, click here.

Sep 222014
 
Rimini. Falling into Fellini

This is where the Gelato World Tour landed after sweeping through four continents. I’ll be reporting on the results of the contest that brought me here for the “world’s best gelato” in an upcoming post, but here’s another side of this splashy seaside town on the Costa del Sole than its appetite for gelato, famed night life, and nine miles of beaches. Rimini is where the  journalist, illustrator, script writer, and finally, legendary film director, Federico Fellini, was born. He never forgot this ancient Roman town on the Adriatic, and it never forgot him. Everything from the airport to the piazzale, [...more...]

Aug 102014
 
Readers Write: About that Peppery Steak Salad Scented with Olive Oil...

The recipe in my last post for a quick and easy steak and potato dish (read here) seemed to be especially popular, and some of you sent me comments and variations. I’m passing some of them along here. One more thing…do wash it all down with a nice Pugliese red. Salute! Great recipe, Julia–reminds me of Tuscan tagliata di bistecca. And perfect for a no-nonsense meal on a hot summer night. You reminded me that the great teaching chef Bill Briwa from the CIA (you know which one of those I mean) experimented with beef and olive oil and found [...more...]

Aug 022014
 
Steak and Potatoes Take on New Meaning Doused with Bold Olive Oils

After my recent travels to Puglia, Italy’s southernmost region, I’ve had its big, bold olive oils on my mind. The province of Bari, founded well before the 8th century BC when it was absorbed by Magna Graecia, has lived on olive oil for millennia. Today the area still makes most of Italy’s olive oils. Drive past places with names like Cassano delle Murge, Bitetto, Bitonto, Bitritto, and Binetto, and you see nothing but forests of olive trees and billows of sky, interrupted now and then by towns undisturbed by tourism. But where once, production was geared toward quantity to meet Europe’s [...more...]

Jun 152014
 
Toritto, Puglia: An Afternoon in My Father's Land

My father left his native Toritto as an infant in his mother’s arms in 1909. With his young parents and grandmother, he sailed for Ellis Island in steerage. The family said that in those bleak times in Puglia, they had survived by eating the wild greens that grew in the fields where they had toiled. Although he returned to Italy many times as an adult, especially to the Carrara quarries to buy marble for his shop in America, my father never went back to where he was born. What kindled his memory was the food he was raised on. His [...more...]

May 192014
 
A 3,000-Year Tradition Makes for Sublime Italian Prosciutto

If you’ve been following my posts this month, you know that I’ve been in Italy at the invitation of the Italian Trade Commission exploring the products of food artisans working in the country’s twenty regions. Throughout May, I’ll be publishing vignettes on some of the food producers I met, both at the 78th annual artisans expo in Florence in April, and subsequently traveling throughout the country. Italian artisans have been making air-cured hams as far back as Etruscan times some 3,000 years ago, originally from the haunches of wild boar. Eventually, pigs were bred and pampered specially for producing prosciutto crudo, [...more...]

May 162014
 
Miggiano, Puglia: A Sighting of an Olive Wood Nymph

Meandering through the ancient olive groves owned by producers Marta Consiglia and her brother, Vito Lisi in Miggiano, Puglia, I came upon an olive wood nymph. If we hadn’t captured her on camera, you wouldn’t have believed me. The tree from which she emerged is 500 years old and still producing olives for oil, the lifeblood of a region has been cultivating olives for oil for over 5000 years. Until modern times, much of the oil was crude and inedible, destined for lampante, lamp oil that lit the streets, homes, and churches of Europe. Today, the family produces organic, high quality [...more...]