A Cincinnati gelateria won big at a prestigious gelato competition earlier in September.
María Liliana Biondo of uGOgelato at Findlay Market recently won third place at a gelato competition semi-final in Los Angeles, which is part of the bigger Carpigiani Gelato Festival World Masters. Biondo got to advance to the semi-finals after placing third in a Chicago regional final earlier this year.
The competition is part of a four-year-long series of challenges to find the best gelato across five continents. It began in 2022 and will culminate in the final global competition in Italy in 2025. In Los Angeles, Biondo competed against 11 other artisan gelato masters from the U.S. and Canada, showcasing her “Mandorland” gelato, which features a base of natural almond, toasted almond and bitter almond, 70% Venezuelan chocolate, blood orange glaze, almond nougat and is finished with an orange zest spray.
“I created this flavor called 'Mandorland' because ‘mandorla’ means ‘almond’ in Italian, and Sicily is the Land of Almond,” Biondo explained to CityBeat. “I wanted to [fuse] my Sicilian heritage with my Latin American culture … It is a multisensorial experience and you will be discovering the multiple ingredients while you enjoy this gelato.”
Because the base of Mandorland is made with almond milk and the chocolate is free of milk proteins, it’s fully vegan, says Biondo, who specializes in making plant-based gelatos at uGOgelato.
Biondo and four other semi-finalists will now compete in the North American Finals in 2025. Winners in that competition will advance to the biggest stage of the competition at the World Finals in Italy.
uGOgelato, 1733 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. More information: ugogelato.com.
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