There’s nothing sweeter than a cup of gelato on a warm summer day, and this weekend you’ll have a chance to indulge during the inaugural Gelato Festival Boston, a partnership between Gelato Festival America and Eataly Boston. The event, celebrating the role of artisanal gelato in Italian culture, is Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, on Boylston Plaza outside the Prudential Center, culminating with a competition to determine the city’s best gelato maker.
Guests can enjoy all-you-can-eat gelato and vote for their favorite of 12 competing flavors, including “Blueberry raspberry lavender delight,” “Crème Brulee with Caramel,” and “Parmigiano-Reggiano.” Judging the gelato and special mentions awards are 12 Boston-area Instagram foodie influencers, food writers, marketing professionals, and chefs, and winners will be announced Sunday at 7:30 pm. The popular votes (40 percent of overall score) combined with the judges’ scores (60 percent) will determine which chef will advance to the Gelato Festival World Masters final in 2021.
Besides voting for the top gelato chef, festival-goers can also learn about different types of frozen desserts in a crash course from Carpigiani Gelato University, play in a scoop-stacking competition and gelato trivia, watch a chefs’ race in the Italian technique of gelato-serving, and more. Find a full schedule of activities here.
Thirsty? Eataly Boston will be selling an array of beverages from Aperol and beer carts, and offering a complimentary chef’s choice appetizer in each of its restaurants (except La Pescheria) with the purchase of food or beverage and a 10 percent discount off any of its marketplace purchases (not valid in the Wine Shop).
Among the festival’s attractions are the Loacker Booth, where guests can taste the famous Italian wafer in award-winning New York chef Giacomo d’Alessandro’s South American dark chocolate and Sicilian light chocolate gelato flavor Cioccolato Loacker. And don’t miss the chance to get a free cup of Caffe Vergnano espresso at the espresso stand, as well as live demonstrations of the frozen dessert machine Carpigiani Mister Art Plus.
Following the Boston event, Gelato Festival America will hold competitions in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and West Hollywood as part of its 2019 tour. Festival founder Gabriele Poli organized the festival in 2010 to celebrate the history of artisanal gelato in Florence, Italy, and it expanded to the United States in 2017 and to Japan in 2018 and 2019. The winners from each festival from 2017 to 2020 will compete in 2021 for the title of world champion in “the most authoritative world tournament of gelato.”
Gelato Festival Boston, at Eataly in the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, is Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, from 11 am to 7 pm. The announcement of the winners and the awards ceremony will be on Sunday at 7:30 pm.
Purchase tickets here. Wristbands for adults (13 and older) are $25, for seniors and veterans $20, for 12 and under $10, and under 2 free. A wristband includes all-you-can-eat gelato, participation in festival activities, and a vote for your favorite gelato. Students and faculty can receive a 20 percent discount on tickets with the code STUDENT25. *Update: this code is now working, and due to previous technical difficulties, the festival has generously increased the discount to 25%.
Abigail Freeman (COM’19) can be reached at [email protected].