A great way to beat the heat is at Florence’s coolest summer party: the third annual Firenze Gelato Festival. For five days every May, Florence hosts the world’s best gelato maestros from across the world, who converge on the city to compete for the Best Gelato flavour prize.
New gelato concoctions and frozen creations are presented every edition alongside the more traditional flavors like coffee and chocolate. Among the new gelato flavours vying for the top prize this year are those with ingredients like saffron, olive oil and even buffalo milk.
We spoke to a Master Gelato Maker who came all the way from Canada for the festival. James Coleridge of the Bella Gelateria in Vancouver is a veritable Gelato Master, winning in 2011 the “Gelato Pioneers-The Father” prize by Carpigiani. In 2012 he also joined Canada’s team in the finals of the World Cup Gelato Sigep.
James brought the ingredients for his new flavour all the way from Canada for the contest: peacans from California and traditional maple syrup from Quebec. And it was such a hit, it won the Best Gelato Flavour prize!
Every year, the festival is organized in “gelato villages” in the historic centre. In the main village located in Piazza Santa Maria, visitors were able to take part in gelato making lessons and food and coffee discussions with experts or see a special gelato-inspired exhibit at the Alinari museum.
Piazza Strozzi also had gelato stands and piazza Repubblica is where the Sammontana Village was set up. A historic Florentine gelato-maker, Sammontana donated all sales during the festival to Florence’s Meyer Pediatric Hospital.
So be sure to please your palate, make sure you don’t miss it next year. See www.firenzegelatofestival.it for details.