The 2023 season of hand-crafted gelato has officially begun. This morning, at Rome’s Casa dell’Aviatore, a press conference was held to present the events and other initiatives honoring one of the most loved desserts of all time. It all kicks off with the 35th edition of Gelato a Primavera (literally: Gelato in Spring) and the 11th European Artisanal Gelato Day, 24 March. Later today, there will also be a meeting of professional gelato makers and representatives of industry associations and authorities.
THE EVENTS. Presented by Artglace, the Confederation of Associations of Artisan Gelato Makers in the European Community, together with the Italian Association of Gelato Makers, the Italian National Committee for the Defense and Promotion of Artisanal Gelato, and the Campania Gelato Makers Association, a great many initiatives throughout Italy and the rest of Europe, all celebrating culture, solidarity and this delicious treat, are to be held on and around European Artisanal Gelato Day. Kicking off the festivities will be Gelato a Primavera, a week-long event that has been held in Italy since 1986 and involves simply giving gelato to pre-school and elementary-school children throughout the country to promote this typically Italian delicacy. This year, the week of “Gelato in Spring” will start off, from 16 to 18 March, by bringing traditions to Italian industry authorities samples of gelato featuring flavors inspired by local, followed, from 18 to 22 March, by giving pre-school and elementary-school children one coupon each for gelato from one of the great many participating gelato shops.
Also in the lead-up to Gelato Day, the event to present the 11th edition of European Artisanal Gelato Day, hosted by European Parliament member Simona Baldassarre, is to be held on 22 March at European Parliament in Brussels, followed in the afternoon, in Liège, by the press conference for Gelato Day led by the gelato association ARAGF at which participants will be able to sample this year’s Flavor of the Year: apple strudel. The celebrations will continue in Venice on 23 March at 10:30 AM at Hotel Ca’ Sagredo in Venice’s Campo Santa Sofia with the awards ceremony for historic Venetian Gelato Parlors, organized by Longarone Fiere Dolomiti and VenicePromex with the support of the Region of Veneto. This event will close with a light lunch and the opportunity to enjoy some delicious apple-strudel gelato.
Selected by Austria, this Flavor of the Year is to be the star of the 11th European Artisanal Gelato Day on 24 March, a day on which all participating gelato shops in Italy and around Europe will be offering the original recipe or creative interpretations of apple-strudel gelato to their patrons. This will include the examples of excellence recognized in the Gambero Rosso 2023 Guide to Italian Gelato Parlors, a partner for this 11th edition of Gelato Day. Also supporting this special day are prestigious associations of gelato makers, including Contaminazioni Stellate, Maestri della Gelateria Italiana, I Magnifici del Gelato and Oltre il Gusto, and the organizations CNA, Confartigianato, Federazione Italiana Gelatieri, Carpigiani Challenge, Gelatieri Artigiani del Triveneto (GAT), Gelato Veneto and Gelato Festival World Masters.
But it’s not all just about eating gelato. Many gelato shops will also be honoring Gelato Day by organizing events aimed at promoting the culture of gelato making, or by supporting good causes, like Confartigianato Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the small-business federation of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, which, on 24 March, will be bringing deliciousness and good cheer to the National Cancer Institute (CRO) in Aviano (in the Italian province of Pordenone), offering apple-strudel gelato, accompanied by a poetic, musical surprise, to around 400 people, including patients, their friends and family, and the institute’s staff.
And the events celebrating European Artisanal Gelato Day won’t stop on 24 March. On Sunday, 26 March, Gelato Day will be heading to the mountains, at an altitude of 2,475 meters (8,120 feet), immersed in the magical, snowy vistas of Capanna Ra Valles, for the event “Non è mai troppo freddo per un gelato!” (It’s never too cold for gelato!), the result of a partnership between the Cortina lift operator Tofana S.r.l. and Ristorante–Pizzeria Capanna Ra Valles, with the support of the Region of Veneto and Gelato Veneto, an association that promotes the gelato-making traditions of the Veneto region in both Italy and Germany. For the occasion, area gelato makers will be regaling tourists and locals alike with some excellent gelato in a range of traditional and innovative flavors.
On 17 April, the festivities head to Vienna and the Italian Embassy in Austria for the presentation and tasting of the Flavor of the Year, apple strudel, which will be whipped up on site using traditional techniques and vintage machinery. In the days that follow, traditional gelato makers from the association Gelatieri Zoldani will be on hand at five Italian gelato parlors in Vienna to present the traditions of hand-crafted Italian gelato to the Viennese public. Then back in Italy, on 23 May, at the “Alfonso Gatto” secondary school in Agropoli (SA) and in conjunction with a local sports festival, the Campania Gelato Makers Association will be organizing the fundraiser “Gelato in campo per la solidarietà” (Gelato on the field in solidarity) to benefit the non-profit association Orizzonte, based in Agropoli. And on 2 June, to celebrate Italy’s Republic Day, the Flavor of the Year will be available for tasting at the Italian Embassy in Berlin.
Gelato will also be featured at the cinema with a film produced with the help of Domenico Belmonte, president of Artglace, to be shown in movie theaters from late March through 31 August 2023 before being released for Italian television (on Mediaset channels) beginning in October. But that’s not all. From 1 March to 31 October, promotional courses will be held to teach the theory and practice of making Italian gelato, led by an expert in food and diet and organized by a group of master gelato makers. At the end of each course, participants will be given an anonymous questionnaire aimed at gathering statistics on the dietary habits of the younger generations.
Finally, on Sunday, 1 October, at the Paestum Archeology Park, the Campania Gelato Makers Association and the Telethon Foundation will be organizing the event “Correre per la ricerca tra Gelato e Storia” (loosely: “Running for Gelato and Historical Research”). During the event, dozens of hot air balloons will fly over the Paestum Archeology Park, and proceeds from event will be donated in their entirety to the Telethon Foundation.
ITALIAN GELATO AND THE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS. Following today’s presentation of events marking the start of the 2023 gelato season, professional gelato makers will be meeting with representatives of industry associations and authorities for the conference entitled “L’importanza della filiera del gelato artigianale: come favorire il Made in Italy a livello internazionale” (The importance of the gelato industry: how to promote Italian craftsmanship internationally), with the participation of Roberto Leardini, president of the Gelato Product Group of Unione Italiana Food; Marco Cavedagni, president of the Italian Association of Manufacturers of Gelato Equipment and Furnishings (ACOMAG); Claudio Pica, secretary general of the Italian Association of Gelato Makers; Ferdinando Buonocore, president of the Campania Gelato Makers Association; and Sen. Luca De Carlo, chairman of the standing committee of the Italian Senate on the Manufacturing, Commerce, Tourism, Agriculture and Food & Beverage Industries.
The initiative is the result of a partnership between the National Committee for the Defense and Promotion of Artisanal Gelato and the Italian Association of Gelato Makers (AIG) with the support of the Confederation of Associations of Artisan Gelato Makers in the European Community (Artglace). With a look at the gelato industry in numbers, posting EUR 9.8 billion in revenue in Europe alone by some 65,000 points of sale employing 300,000 people, the meeting will underscore how Italy leads the world in the industry — thanks to gelato makers, manufacturers of machinery, equipment, furnishings and ingredients, schools, and trade shows dedicated to gelato — and what enormous growth potential there is for the industry.
The numbers for Italy are also impressive, with total revenue of EUR 2.7 billion, 20% of which comes from gelato consumed by international tourists. Experts have pointed to several priorities for the industry, which are to be discussed this afternoon, including the creation of a ministerial roundtable on artisanal gelato, greater investment in training and education and an offering of specific coursework at Italian secondary schools specialized in hotel and food-service management, effective support for business internationalization for small businesses in particular, and a strategy based on commercial agreements enabling free trade, reduced export duties and streamlined bureaucracy.
“Today’s activities mark the start of the gelato season,” said Domenico Belmonte, president of Artglace. “Thanks to the heartfelt participation and contributions of the leading faces of Italy’s gelato industry, whose support is essential to continuing the growth that can be seen in the numbers — both in Italy and abroad — we are proud to be able to share with gelato experts and lovers throughout Italy and Europe the great many initiatives to be held in honor of European Artisanal Gelato Day, aimed at promoting quality, know-how and collaboration in gelato craftsmanship.”
“For Italian gelato, this is to be a season rich in events and other initiatives aimed at promoting and disseminating a product that is truly an example of excellence in Italian craftsmanship. Events like Gelato Day and Gelato a Primavera confirm the industry’s commitment to the promotion of Italian gelato,” explained Claudio Pica, secretary general of the Italian Association of Gelato Makers (AIG).
More information on the eleventh edition of Gelato Day may be found online at www.gelato-day.com, on the official Gelato Day Facebook page (@24MarzoEuropeanGelatoDay), on Instagram (@Gelato_Day), and on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/GelatoDay).
Gelato parlors throughout Italy and Europe have been invited to take part in the 2023 edition of Gelato Day by signing up at www.gelato-day.com and posting all of the events planned for the 24th of March 2023.