Gelato Festival America 2019 - The best gelato in America is 'Blueberry Basil' by Mike Guerriero

2 tags Gelato Festival America Events

Second Place: Texas Pecan Sea Salt Caramel, by Diego Comparin of Paciugo in Dallas, Texas Third Place: Trinacrium, by Maria Liliana Biondo of uGOgelato in Miami, Florida

Gelato Festival America, now in its third year, celebrated the first-ever Miami Festival this weekend at Brickell City Centre.

The mission of Gelato Festival America is to spread the culture of artisanal Italian gelato throughout the United States by visiting seven cities this summer. The winner of the contest for best flavor at this Festival was Blueberry Basil, presented by Mike Guerriero from Gelotti Essexin Caldwell, New Jersey.

mike guerriero

1st place winner of the 2019 American Final, Mike Guerriero received a beautiful cup by Florentine goldsmith Paolo Penko, presented by PreGel, the official supplier of gelato ingredients for Gelato Festival America. This win qualifies Guerriero as one of three to represent America at the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021 in Italy. The Blueberry Basil flavor was a hit with the Public Jury, composed of ticket-holding guests, as well as the Technical Jury of fourteen professional judges. Mike Guerriero describes his winning flavor, “Sweet Jersey Blueberries, garden grown Genovese Basil and fresh squeezed lemon juice are what make our gelato so good.”

2nd place went to Texas Pecan Sea Salt Caramel, a caramel gelato flavored with Dulce de Leche, Mediterranean Sea salt and decorated with toasted Texas pecans. As the second place gelato chef, Comparin will be the second of three to represent America at the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021 in Italy. By Diego Comparin of Paciugo in Dallas, Texas.

3rd place went to Trinacrium, Following the triangular island shape of Trinacria, modern day Sicily, Maria selected a trio of D.O.C. ingredients: Pistachio, Almonds, and Oranges as a "variegato". To finalize before serving, the combined flavors are sprayed with special citrus oil that enhances and completes the sensorial experience. By Maria Liliana Biondo of uGOgelato in Miami, Florida.

3 winners

Winners of the other prizes:

The Gela-to-go Award: Blueberry Basil by Mike Guerriero of Gelotti Essex in Caldwell, New Jersey. The recipient of the Gela-to-go Special Mention Certificate was the chef who sold the most gelato, with an impressive 18 pints.

Kids Jury: Blueberry Basil by Mike Guerriero of Gelotti Essex in Caldwell, New Jersey earned the Kids Jury Special Mention certificate. Little jurors both pre-selected and among the little guests of the Festival, tasted all the flavors in the competition and selected their favorite.

Speed Cup Race by ISA: Maria Liliana Biondo, from uGOgelato in Miami, Florida. Sponsored by ISA, Speed Cup Race is about speed and the art of using the spatula to fill cups in the traditional Italian way. Each Gelato chef has 30 seconds to serve as many perfect servings of Gelato as possible. Biondo received a trophy to commemorate his place.

Stack It High by PreGel: Mike Guerriero of Gelotti Essex in Caldwell, New Jersey. Sponsored by PreGel, each Gelato Chef was given 30 seconds to stack as many scoops of gelato as possible into a cup. Mike Guerriero won with 24, breaking his previous record of 22 scoops and the world record of 23 scoops set last year.

Technical Jury Award: Bagigi Peanut by Nazario Melchionda of Frost, a Gelato Shoppe in Tucson, Arizona was preferred by the Technical Jury composed of expert judges. Popular Jury Award: Sicily Orange Sunrise, by Maurizio Melani of Veneta Gelato Italiano in Valencia Spain.

This weekend was the culmination of a fantastic first Gelato Festival American Final, which was also the first Miami Gelato Festival. At Brickell City Centre, thousands of people tasted authentic Italian gelato and voted for their favorite. Guests enjoyed demonstrations, contests and games, ceremonies and most importantly, all the artisanal gelato they could eat.

Gabriele Poli, President of Gelato Festival announced today from Miami, Florida: "The city of Miami provided the perfect location for Gelato Festival America’s Final. Thousands of people attended this final where 11 winning gelato chefs competed for two champion spots for Gelato Festival World Masters coming up in 2021. Thanks to La Centrale and Brickell City Centre for being our presenters in Miami and to all our sponsors and partners. Viva Miami, Gelato and Gelato Festival. We pledge to return to Miami again in 2020”

Held in collaboration with strategic partners Carpigiani Gelato University, Carpigiani Frozen Dessert University and Sigep - Italian Exhibition Group, Global Partner Air Italy, Main Sponsor PreGel and, and Official Technical Sponsor ISA, Gelato Festival American Final 2019 generates the first two entrants into the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021, the challenge for the best artisan gelato chefs on the planet. It’s the World Cup of gelato, a journey with hundreds of trials and thousands of flavors over four years on five continents!

group photo miami


The 2019 Miami Competing Flavors

Giacomo d’Alessandro
Polosud Gelato Coffee Pastries - New York, New York

Winning Flavor: Dark Chocolate Surprise

Bella Gelateria

Vancouver, Canada

Winning Flavor: Salted B.C. Cherry Cheesecake

Maria Liliana Biondo
uGOgelato - Miami, Florida

Winning Flavor: Trinacrium

Mike Guerriero
Gelotti Essex - Caldwell, New Jersey

Winning Flavor: Blueberry Basil

Diego Comparin
Paciugo Gelato - Texas, Texas

Winning Flavor: Texas Pecan Sea Salt Caramel

Daniela Zomparelli
Lola’s Gelato - Toronto, Canada

Winning Flavor: Sassy Sea Turtle

Nazario Melchionda
Frost, a Gelato Shoppe - Tucson, Arizona

Winning Flavor: Bagigi Peanut

Gianluigi Dellaccio
Dolci Gelati -Washington, D.C.

Winning Flavor: Honey, Mascarpone and Fig Gelato

Maurizio Melani
Veneta Gelato Italiano -Valencia, Spain

Winning Flavor: Sicily Orange Sunrise

Walter Bergamaschi
Gelato Dolce Vita -Phoenix, Arizona

Winning Flavor: Stupefy

Eugenia Sardelli
Gelateria Sardelli- Tuscany, Italy

Winning Flavor: Fior d’Arancia



The mission of Gelato Festival America is to spread the culture of artisanal Italian gelato in the US, this year featuring seven cities. The event gives visitors the opportunity to experience the secrets of high-quality gelato, learn about the production techniques by watching the artisans at work in the ‘laboratory’, and taste all the competing flavors, voting for their favorite one.

The Gelato Festival made its debut in Florence in 2010 inspired by the idea of the first gelato recipe by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1559. Since then, the Gelato Festival has expanded its borders, beginning in Italy, then spreading throughout Europe and finally to the United States in 2017 - A total of 64 festivals, preparing the whole planet for the world championship of the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021.

The four 1st place winners from the 2017 Gelato Festival America, along with the seven 1st place winners from the 2018 Gelato Festival America competed this weekend. The best two gelato chefs qualify for the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021 in Italy. In the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021, there will be a total of 36 chefs from all over the world competing for the main title.


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