The new edition of Sherbeth awards an Austrian

In Palermo, at Teatro Massimo, the ice cream competition has returned in person, though without an audience. From Salzburg, a masterful take on hazelnuts. The admonishment of Giovanna Polliotti: «If you feel like you're the best, you'll end up losing»

A great celebration for Celal Karaarslan, the Aust

A great celebration for Celal Karaarslan, the Austrian master with clear Turkish roots, owner of ice cream shop Alpz Gelato & Cafè in Salzburg. In Palermo he won the contest dedicated to Francesco Procopio Cutò, the first ice cream maker in the world

The panettone industry might have a problem with deseasonalising the consumption of its masterpiece, but let's not talk of gelato once the summer is gone and we're about to embrace the winter. So it was a good idea, however forced by the pandemic, to celebrate the 13th edition of the Sherbeth festival on the 14th of December in Palermo, in person, at Teatro Massimo. Unfortunately, without the stands for tastings and, as a consequence, without the public outside. Everything was indoors, with only the contestants, their collaborators and families, the jury and the journalists. Around one hundred people, give or take. Of course, these are only a few people compared to the crowded pre-March 2020 editions, but last year everything took place remotely, with the ice creams sent to Palermo, where only the jury met, and not made on location.

33 professionals competed, from Italy and abroad, plus as usual technical director Antonio Cappadonia supported by Giovanna Musumeci and Arnaldo Conforto, president Salvatore Cannavò, with Luigi Buonansegna as honorary president as he won last year, but could not participate, hence there were no applauses and awards for him. The Sherbeth edition he won ended months before he could finally get the award, among plenty of applause.

The chosen flavour was up to each contestant. Nothing was imposed which is both good and bad, because some will take this as a green light for their fantasy, and commit some extravagance. And weird doesn't necessarily mean innovation. More often it means improvisation. Plus, it's always difficult to judge apples and oranges because with classic flavours there's the advantage that you can compare them, but then they might be penalised by their very fame.

New flavours instead might be meaningless, but enclose the magic of surprise. Pino Cuttaia, chef in Licata, said: «In many ice creams I noticed lots of passion and commitment from ice cream makers, who wanted to try to offer something new. Every ice cream maker, however, must act as an ambassador of their territory and of the products they're using. They must convey the idea that behind every ice cream there's commitment, dedication and work. This is the message that must be sent».

And this message was conveyed by the winner, Celal Karaarslan of ice cream shop Alpz Gelato & Cafè, in Salzburg, Austria, who has clear Turkish roots, and won the award dedicated to Francesco Procopio Curtò, from Palermo, a pioneer in Paris for every ice cream maker, having made the first coffee in history, in 1686. Celal presented Coccole nocciolose [hazelnut cuddles] basically an exaltation of a special hazelnut which is slightly smaller than the more famous ones, like the Tonda gentile variety.

Luigi Buonansegna, the master ice cream maker is portrayed from behind as he receives the award for the 2020 edition of the Sherbeth Festival in Palermo, which took place remotely

Luigi Buonansegna, the master ice cream maker is portrayed from behind as he receives the award for the 2020 edition of the Sherbeth Festival in Palermo, which took place remotely

The second place went to Maria Chiara Sanna from Arte del gelato in Anzio (Rome), the third to Paolo Di Lallo, originally from Roccamorice (Pescara) owner of Mizzica gelateria e cafè in Toronto, Canada. As for the special awards, the one for the enhancement of the territory went to Albina Yasinskaya of Gelato & Latte and Vittorio Baldelli of Gelato Contadino, while the innovation one went to Erika Quattrini of Pinguino Quattrini.

Of this edition of the festival I will cherish the words of Luciana Polliotti, journalist and author of some important books, including a novel about Cutò titled Il genio del gelato. She did not participate in person, but shared her thoughts through and exemplary audio message: «The first victory, for each one of you contestants was participating. You tested yourselves against the experts' judgement, and have created some connections with your colleagues. And please, since not everybody can win, don't start to think there were preferences, don't start to complain, and divide yourselves.

«Learn from those who won, taste their gelatos and celebrate the winners, become friends with them. If they won, it means you have something to learn, perhaps from them, and if you will learn, tomorrow you might win. If you remain convinced that your ice cream is the best in the world, you will continue to lose. And as for the current winners, if they will spread their wings like peacocks, their future won't be so great». Words that could be applied to any industry, and any aspect of life.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Passione Gelato

Storie dal mondo del gelato di qualità

Paolo Marchi


Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.
blog www.paolomarchi.it
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