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
 

….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.

Drawing from Fellini's Book of Dreams in the City Museum, Rimini. Photo: Julia della Croce

Drawing from Fellini’s Book of Dreams in the City Museum, Rimini. Photo: Julia della Croce

Aug 242014
 
Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Pickle, in Ten Minutes

Pickling hasn’t been this hot in America since covered wagon days when being able to preserve food for the long cold winters meant the difference between life and death (remember “Little House on the Prairie”)? Besides anything else, pickling is downright fun. If you know how to, you’re ahead of the game, but if you don’t, did you know that you can “quick pickle” in the time it takes to boil water and vinegar together? Here’s my latest article in Zester Daily for doing just that with the one crop that everyone always seems to have too much of, zucchini. Why [...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...]

Jul 242014
 
Going Italian at the Fancy Food Show

Summer Fancy Food Show, New York, 2014. The Italians always come bearing cheeses and prosciutto, impeccably dressed and wearing the latest eyeglass styles. If you want to sample some truffles or condimento, they’d rather huddle together in the back corner of their little booths and sip espresso than give you any. You have to wait until they’re good and ready to sell you something, or for those without importers yet, to promote something. That’s the the idea, isn’t it?—To sell you something? Even my “Press” badge doesn’t budge them. Still, the Italian pavilion is always my first stop. I like [...more...]

Jul 172014
 
Readers Write: Dr. Brownlee and His Pasta Prodigy

Every now and then someone sends me a message that’s a real charmer. Here’s one I received at the end of last summer about a recipe that appears in my very first cookbook, Pasta Classica: The Art of Italian Pasta Cooking. The writer, Dr. John Brownlee, and so many other readers, have raved about it over three decades, so I’m sharing the message and recipe here.  I am preparing to make lo Stracotto for the second time from your book Pasta Classica, which I purchased in 1988 in New Orleans. It taught me to make pasta, a gift which I have [...more...]

Jul 022014
 
True American Eats for the 4th: Fiery Italian-Fried Chicken Wings

There’s thunder and lightening from where I’m sitting looking out my kitchen window, with no sign of let-up for July 4th. If that means a change of plans for you from an all-American barbecue, consider the Independence Day tradition of the American South: fried chicken. While I grew up in an Italian household, fried chicken was always a special dish and it fit in just fine with potato salad and all the other American trimmings. Whether it’s Kentucky-fried, Georgia-fried, or Italian-fried, it’s as American as grilling on the Fourth of July. Here’s my recipe, sprinkled with some fried chicken history. [...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...]

Jun 102014
 
Love Me Tender: The Italian Way with Green Beans

Besides home-grown tomatoes, green beans from my garden are the vegetable I most look forward to in summer. Right after my beans seeds went into the ground and my thoughts turned to eating them, it occurred to me to write Love Me Tender, a story for Zester Daily, about how I like them best. You may want to know my favorite way to cook them if you love them as much as I do, and if you don’t, you might change your mind after you read  here.