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First volley fired in the second Gelato Wars

The second annual Gelato Wars had a sneak preview for the media at the Gelato Spot in Old Town Scottsdale on July 31, 2014.
The second annual Gelato Wars had a sneak preview for the media at the Gelato Spot in Old Town Scottsdale on July 31, 2014.
Denise Meridith

It is hard to believe that just a decade ago, there were no iPhones, no Candy Crush and no gelato. “Gelato” is a type of soft ice cream with, generally, lower butterfat. There has been an explosion of stores throughout the Valley offering the popular frozen dessert. For the second year, the treat is being celebrated with the Gelato Wars competition. On the evening of July 31, 2014, reporters were invited to the kick-off at the Gelato Spot in Old Town Scottsdale.

Attendees got to meet five local chefs, who were in the first contest last year, and five new chefs. The 2014 competitors were Keenan Bosworth (Pig & Pickle), Gio Osso (Virtu), Michael O’Dowd (Urban Vine), Matt Carter (The Mission & Zinc Bistro), Josh Hebert (Posh), Tracy Dempsey (Tracey Dempsey Originals), John Bracher (The Second Story Liquor Bar), Justin Beckett & Jeff Schoening (Beckett’s Table), Scott Holmes (Little Miss BBQ), and Walter Sterling (Ocotillo).

“Emcee” Tommy Plato, owner of the Gelato Spot, introduced the chefs, who described how their creations complemented their restaurant themes, as the audience sampled them.

The entries lived up to Plato’s prediction of “super outrageous, funky and cool” flavors. For example, Holmes made “smoked” banana pie gelato in honor of his barbeque restaurant. Dempsey, a pastry chef, who won last year with Shoyu Caramel Chocolate & Macaroon Streusel offered Camelback Crunch, in honor of her neighborhood. It consisted of roasted white chocolate, pistachios, dried apricots, honey and ganache.

From August 1-31, the public is encouraged to visit the three Valley Gelato Spot locations 3164 E Camelback and 4010 E Greenway Rd in Phoenix, and 4166 N Scottsdale in Scottsdale). The chef, who sells the most, wins a trophy, $500, a $5000 donation to Make-A-Wish, and major bragging rights. Also, anyone who buys two scoops of gelato on Friday, August 1 between 5 and 8 PM at any Gelato Spot will receive a voucher for a free wood-fired pizza at the Scottsdale location.

Rose+Moser+Allyn Public and Online Relations organized the entertaining sneak preview (O’Dowd, with his mole gelato, even invited the crowd to join him for clogging classes later that evening). It was a heavy (calorie-wise) evening for a good cause.

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