Gelato Festival: The World Cup of Gelato

The Gelato Festival is essentially the World Cup of Gelato where the best flavors made by gelateria owners from all around Europe compete for votes to determine the best gelato flavor. And in order to properly vote, you have to taste all the flavors… meaning the gelato festival is an overload of tasting the best gelato in Europe! 
My friend and I headed to the Gelato Festival in the afternoon after the opening ceremony had already taken place. To get to Piazzale Michaelangelo where the festival was held, we had to walk for about half an hour up a large hill. The result was a fantastic view overlooking the city of Florence and a great workout – which would definitely come in handy after all the gelato tasting that was to come. 
There were 16 gelato flavors competing, but there were 32 stations in total at the festival – some stations being put on by sponsors but also offering interesting flavors of gelato to try. We started off at a few of the sponsored gelato stations, then made our way to the competitors to taste and judge the best gelato flavors. Here’s a run down of the flavors we tried:
From Qatar Airlines sponsored station: Pistachio with dates
From PinoPinguino Shake sponsored station: Nutella gelato milkshake
From PinoPinguino Gelato sponsored station: Dark chocolate with graham cracker
From Badiani sponsored station: Tomato gelato on bread, topped with olive oil (supposed to be like bruschetta I guess… but tasted just plain weird and gross)
From Cookies “The Original” sponsored stand: chocolate and vanilla swirl mixed with cookies
Contestant #1 from Gelateria Ettamo in Florence: Ettamo Fragola, made with strawberries, balsamic vinegar icing, and dark chocolate flakes
Contestant #2 from Gelateria Ará in Florence: Crema di ricotta azteca al bergamotto, made with fresh cheese from the sicilian Iblei mountains, chocolate from Monica, and bergamot (the scent that he is spraying on the cone above)
Contestant #3 from Gelateria Il Re Sole in Rome: Zabaione come una volta, made with cream, marsala wine, and eggs
Contestant #4 from Gelateria Artigianale Bar Della Darsena in Rome: Strawberry and Red Pepper, made with strawberry sorbet and red pepper
Contestant #5 from Gelateria Golosia in Turin: Miami Vice, made with coconut, variegated pineapple and fresh strawberries
Contestant #6 from Gelati D’Antan in Turin: Gelato del Vignaiolo, made with raspberry sorbet and sweet malvasia DOC (sweet wine)
Contestant #7 from Gelateria bar MAREA : Femminello IGP, made with lemon and almonds
Contestant #8 from Il Mio gelateria in Milan: Primo Verolatte, made fresh with milk from his cow
Contestant #9 from Creme Glacee in London: Creme dela Baklava, made with fresh vanilla and topped with crumbled baklava
Contestant #10 from Equi’s Ice Cream in London: Scottish Raspberry Sorbet, made with freshly picked Scottish raspberries and Scottish mineral water
Contestant #11 from Gelateria Quatro Si from Warsaw: Sliwka, made with plums, lemon, and cinnamon
Contestant #12 from Gelateria Limoni in Warsaw: Inne Lemon Curd, made with egg yolk, Sicilian lemons, and vanilla
Contestant #13 from Gelateria Cristallino in Hamburg: Communis Fortis, made with hazelnuts, almond, and pistachio cream
Contestant #14 from Fabulous Ice Fires in London: Wild Cherry, made with sweet red and dark cherries from England, sauerkirschen from Germany, and Selvaggia black cherries from Italy 
Contestant #15 from La Piazza in Hamburg: Yoghurt Strawberry, made with yoghurt, strawberry, and cookies
Contestant #16 from Gelateria Marron Glacés near Rome: Nonna Rosa, made with marscapone cream, crunchy rice and almonds, and strawberries from Sila

After consuming a total of 21 substantial cones/cups of gelato in the span of about two hours, my friend and I were about ready to roll down the steps of Piazzale Michaelangelo – we felt so full and honestly a bit sick after eating so much gelato and were likely crashing from a sugar high. But, it was still an awesome experience and I decided that my favorite flavor was a tie between the Baklava gelato and the raspberry with sweet wine gelato. I highly recommend checking out the Gelato Festival if you ever happen to be in Florence during the days of the event! It’s definitely an experience you (and your stomach) won’t forget. 

UPDATE: The winners of the Gelato Festival: “Massimiliano Scotti is the best gelatiere in Europe! He wins with the flavor ‘Il mio primo vero latte’. The silver medal is for Vincenzo Lenci with the flavor Peperone rosso e fragile, the bronze medal for Giacomo Canteri with the flavor Inne Lemon Curd”

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