Milan, 21 July 2021 – As we await the tenth edition of Gelato Day, which takes place throughout Europe every 24th March, the art of gelato-making continues to surprise. To give gelato-makers the chance to experiment with their art, Artglace launched a video contest: each contestant was asked to make a short 90-second video showing how to make Flavour of the Year, Mantecado, based on the official recipe.
VIDEO CONTEST. There were three winners of the contest, one from each of the two heats – the first ending on 8 March, the second on 30 June, and the third for the highest-scoring runner-up. The gold medal position was taken by Taila Semeraro from Gelateria Ciccio in the main square in Ostuni, in Puglia, followed by Luca Coccè from Gelateria Peccati di Gola in Gallarate, Lombardy and finally Andrea Lunardon from Gelateria Temptations in Soave, near Verona.
Originality, tradition, territory, ingredients, creativity, professionalism. The many video entries in the contest highlighted various characteristics of the gelato-maker’s art in Italy and elsewhere: through their videos, participants from all over Italy and throughout Europe – as well as a surprise entry from Colombia – opened up the doors to their workshops. The competition proved to be a journey of discovery through the finest of traditions: from the cattle pastures of Imola, from the famous white houses of Ostuni, and the orange groves around Salerno. A series of images depicted the gelato supply chain from farm to bowl: from livestock and fruit farms all the way through to the machinery and display cases, each entry portrayed a world focused on paying close attention to every single detail, taking care over each ingredient, underlining the inspiration that guides the hands of the gelato-maker to create a culinary masterpiece. These are all factors which unite people who may be thousands of miles apart but are inspired by a passion handed down for centuries from one generation to the next. Fourth-year students on the food and wine course at the Sergio Ronco Hotel Institute and from the Galileo Ferraris school in Trino, in Veneto, also submitted an entry (though they did not qualify for the main competition).
SOME DATA ON THE SUPPLY CHAIN. This great response to the Gelato Day contest is just one of the signs of recovery and growth for the entire supply chain. According to the SIGEP Study Centre, the first half of 2021 showed increases in sales of hand-made gelato of around 15%. Compared to the same period last year, that is without doubt significant, although things are not yet back to pre-pandemic figures. Whereas sales in May and June 2021 almost matched the equivalent months in 2019, during this first half year the best results have come from central and southern Italy (with Rome hitting +22%, Calabria +20%), whereas unfortunately sales are sluggish in the main Italian tourist cities, still suffering from a lack of foreign tourists.
As the summer starts to sizzle, as Italy gradually re-opens and as Covid infections continue to decline throughout the country, from north to south gelato is turning into a symbol of rebirth, reflecting the desire on the part of the whole sector to leave their troubles behind and carry on growing. The artisanal gelato supply chain has quite a considerable impact on the Italian economy; indeed, in 2019, there were 39,000 gelato parlours which either made their own gelato or were resellers, doing annual turnover of 4.2 billion euros and employing 75,000 staff.
TASTES OF SUMMER. Summer sees gelato consumption rise, with people both young and old being more inclined to experiment with innovative flavours, especially when it comes to gelato! It’s the perfect way of pampering and indulging the palate, in a return to yesteryear. In addition to Mantecado, now being made by artisans scattered throughout Italy, several interesting trends look set to intrigue us over the coming months, from more traditional flavours such as pistachio, to more original and even “strange” ones. As Thomas Infanti of Gelateria Antiche Tentazioni in Salvezzano di Dentro, near Padova, puts it, gelato is a highly versatile food that lends itself to some rather unusual combinations, such as using aromatic herbs and spices alongside both fruit and cream flavours. It will come as no surprise to some to find cones and bowls flavoured with cheese or salted cod, with beetroot or black carrot – one of the finest qualities of hand-made gelato is its ability to always be delicious with a wide variety of ingredients.