When you get a call to judge a food competition in Rome, you say yes. When it’s a gourmet ice-cream tournament being held on the glorious terraces of the Pincio, overlooking Piazza del Popolo, you pinch yourself (and have a light lunch).

Tomorrow – after a successful tour taking in Florence and Parma – Italy’s Gelato Festival reaches Rome, for ten days of tastings, cooking shows featuring Michelin-starred chefs and a grand gelato competition.  The first five days conclude with eight Master Ice-Cream Makers from the Rome area and beyond sparring to have their flavours crowned the best, with two going through to the finale. Then, from 10-15 May, the competing flavours of another eight Gelatieri will be judged, with the jury once again narrowing the selection down to two. (Testaccina rather suspects that all 16 flavours will be rather good). These four nominees will ultimately go forward to the grand final in Florence, taking place from September 1-4.

To join in the fun, which starts at 12 noon on Thursday 5 May, simply acquire the festival’s Gelato Card (costing €12 on the web, prices on the door may vary), which enables you to taste the eight flavours in the competition (pertinent to whichever date you pick), as well as try another six flavours offered by sponsors. It also lets you enjoy all the reserved events included in the festival. More information here.

Rome gelato festThe site also includes the full calendar of events and competing flavours (details in Italian, but some information available in English). The ice-cream parlours involved include Gelateria Tempesta di Gusti, I Golosoni, CasaManfredi, Cremi, Gelateria Mamò, Cremeria Alpi and Nanuk,  all based in Rome. There’s also Gelateria Fortini Caffè from Albano Laziale, Gelateria La Regina from Angri, Capitan Cono from Marino, Gelaterie Bruno from Rieti and Gelateria Peter Pan from Lucca.

Sponsors Nutella, Pernigotti 1860, Cookies The Original and Buontalenti will be offering samples of their latest cold creations.

Do yourself a favour and take a jog round Villa Borghese before joining in the fun, or simply let out a button or two. Buon appetito!

Gelato Festival, May 5-15, Terrazza del Pincio

Starts Thursday 5 May at 12 noon

Open every day 12.00-22.00 (except for Friday and Saturday, when doors close at midnight)

picnicTestaccina has been invited to join the official jury judging the first 8 flavours in the competition

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