The Australian contingent at the World Gelato Cup has beaten the Italians at their home ground. After two days of intense competition, the team of five placed first in the Mystery Box Challenge, one of the hardest categories at the international event.
As part of the challenge, each country was required to produce a gelato that represented the secret ingredient, which for Australia, was Loacker biscuits.
“Even though we had been practicing for nine months, at the last minute anything could go wrong,” gelato maker and owner of Art of Gelato Michelangeo Martino Piccolo told Sunrise.
“I was given two hours in which I first, had to decide what I was going to produce and second, write a well-balanced recipe, pasteurise it, batch it, then serve 12 cones and seven cups.
“To have a win at this level, to be the best of the best, meant the world to me. I was competing against the best in each country and Australia came out on top.”
Eleven countries competed in the event, with Australia placing ninth overall.
The competition was not without its challenges, however, with ice carver and Sydney TAFE baker and pâtisserie head training teacher Ken Train saying the four days the team set aside for final practice runs didn’t go to plan.
“Even before the competition began, it felt like the odds were not on our side, when we learnt that the 400kg of equipment, moulds, tools and support material was held at customs. It took the next six days to convince customs we needed release of our shipping for the competition,” he told Australian Baking Business
“On day one, we arrived at SIGEP to start the preliminaries at 6.30am. We finally received notice our shipment was released at 1.30pm. So with no time to lose, we unpacked, checked, sorted and re-stacked the equipment and contents into our booth – four hours behind the other teams.
“Thankfully the organisers were sympathetic and we were given extra time, but we still had to finish at 8pm.”
Day two was also a brutal challenge, with ingredients and a few pieces of equipment still missing. Nonetheless, Ken said the team’s intensive training regime set in and they began making progress.
“A 6.30pm finish saw all teams well advanced into the competition with prep achieved, centre pieces coming together, bases done, freezers full and everything taking shape,” he said.
“Come day three, there was still a long way to go – ice carving needed to be done, chocolate pieces needed attention, the mignons part was still unfinished. Plus, the Mystery Box challenge still needed to be solved.
“This really could have gone either way. With no permitted practice and only two hours to create, make, churn, produce and decorate, the Mystery Box challenge was really designed to test the gelato makers’ best skills and ability.”
On behalf of the Australian Gelato Team, Ken thanked the sponsors, acknowledging their support and advice was invaluable.
“We left our mark, but we quickly recognised that without the amount of training and support from our sponsors, it would not have gone as well as we expected,” Ken said.
“Thank you to Avion, Barnes Mouldings, Comprital, De Zaan, Fraser and Hughes, Frutex, Moffat and Oppenheimer.”