Ominous grey clouds and a chilly breeze didn’t stop hordes of hungry Melbourne gelato lovers from flocking to the Gelato World Tour in Carlton last weekend. Over 70,000 people grabbed their gelato spoons and headed to the event, an international competition and festival dedicated to the production (and consumption) of artisan gelato. Together, we consumed 50,000 cups and 80,000 cones of gelato over three days. That is 130,000 serves of gelato! It was a weekend to be remembered, leaving thousands of sugar highs, cardboard cups and little multi coloured fluorescent gelato spoons in its wake.
But it wasn’t just about getting all giddy on the sweet stuff. The GWT is an international artisan gelato competition traveling to 8 cities around the world. Melbourne hosted the Oceania stage of the tour where 16 artisans from Australia and New Zealand competed for a spot in the world finals in Rimini, Italy in September 2014. Judging was determined 50% by a technical jury (headed by Guy Grossi in Melbourne) and 50% by public vote.
I attended the GWT on the Sunday in the afternoon. At least four marquees were set up serving the contestants’ creamy creations. Patrons were given voting cards and the lines for the tastings stretched far into Argyle Square. It was clear from the size of the queues snaking through the crowd and the persistent nudging and elbowing which flavours the public were most excited about. The line for Gelato Messina’s flavour ‘cremino’ – a salted caramel gelato with hazelnut fudge, crushed amaretti and fresh meringue was around 20 minutes long. I jumped straight in that line as soon as I arrived.