An Australian trio has qualified for the grand final of the Gelato World Tour 2.0 tournament. The international competition, dubbed the Formula One of Gelato, travels the globe to track down new-flavour interpretations of Italy's ultimate feel-good treat.
Gelato maker David Lamprell and his father-and-son teammates, Brian and Michael O'Donnell, of 48 Flavours gelateria in Adelaide, outclassed 14 creative flavours from New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and Singapore to scoop second place in the Gelato World Tour's Asia-Pacific region heat in Singapore from March 20-22. The final will be held in the Italian seaside city of Rimini in 2017.
Lamprell, who has more than 30 years' experience, and the O'Donnells secured their tickets to the home of gelato with their Roasted Walnut and Honey Crunch flavour. They described their entry as "a creamy flavour of roasted walnuts blended with smooth Australian honey, and a crunch of nut praline and walnuts for texture".
"Our gelato incorporated high-quality honey that's made locally for our [gelato] lab in Mildura and the roasted walnuts are 100 per cent Australian," Michael O'Donnell said.
The 48 Flavours team hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sydney's Cow & the Moon, which won the inaugural Gelato World Tour final, also held in Rimini, in September 2014. John Crowl and his son Sam's Mandorla Affogato gelato – a Madagascan vanilla-bean base with roasted caramelised almonds folded through a coffee caramel sauce – trumped 23 challengers to be hailed as the world's best gelato. John Crowl and his wife, Wendy, took a break from their holiday to catch the new Gelato World Tour tour as it passed through Singapore.
Held at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands resort, the three-day Asia-Pacific stage attracted an estimated 50,000 gelato lovers, with 16 flavours judged by the public and a technical jury headed by Singaporean chef Justin Quek.
"It was a very tough competition," Brian O'Donnell said. "There was every type of gelato type and combination in there, and they all had something special to offer."
Sharon Tay, of Singapore, won the heat with her Good Ol' Days flavour – a coconut-milk and palm-sugar blend which incorporated sweet, salty ribbons of palm-sugar caramel with sea salt and crisp bean-curd flakes.
Also representing Australia in the competition was self-taught gelato artisan Robbie Hill, of Yamba Icecreamery in Yamba, and Antonino Lo Iacono, of Sydney's Gelatony gelateria.
Lo Iacono's Lemon Zest with Fig Marmalade and Dark Chocolate received a Jury's Special Mention award.
The Gelato World Tour is organised by Italy's Carpigiani Gelato University and Sigep gelato exhibition. Further regional heats will be held before the final in 2017.
Gary Jones is a freelance writer and gelato enthusiast. He was a technical jury member in the Singapore heats.