Cafe Asia 2015

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by Zelene Lee, Naadiah Badib and Samantha Lee

Held from 20 March to 22 March, Café Asia 2015 opened its doors to cafe enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike to immerse themselves in the largest show dedicated to coffee, tea and confectionary.

With more than 100 exhibitors from 20 countries taking part, the show included Gelato World Tour 2.0 as well, which is best known as the international travelling competition in search of the best flavours. This is the second time it is back in Singapore, after taking Europe, North America, Middle East and Oceania by storm. 16 Gelato artisans, of vast experience and expertise, had brought together an array of unconventional yet sumptuous flavors. Competitors come from all around the region – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Caramel Crunch, Chendol Merdeka and Roasted Walnut and Honey Crunch are just one of the top 16 creations made by international contestants.

In its first edition, GWT toured seven gelato capitals in the world – Rome, Valencia, Melbourne, Dubai, Austin, Berlin and Rimini – Singapore was the first Asian capital to be added on the list last year.

Many would have known gelato as an Italian-styled Ice Cream, but Valentina Righi, Public Relations and Communication Manager of Carpigiani Group said that, gelato is not ice cream; it is different in many different ways.

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First of all, gelato is high in calcium, protein and vitamin B2, and in addition, contains 18% of butterfat compared to 26% in typical ice cream. It is definitely safe to say that less fat does not mean less taste. In fact, gelato is richer in taste than any other ice cream around the globe. High density is the theory behind the full flavor of gelato, however, that does not mean it has to be hard.

If gelato has lesser fat and air pumped into it, shouldn’t it be as hard as a brick? The final big factor would be temperature. Compared to ice cream, it is stored and served at a higher temperature, giving gelato a smooth and soft texture, making it irresistible!

Combining the fragrance of Coconut milk with freshly squeezed Pandan juice, mixed in velvety red beans and chendol, it is served drizzled with Gula Melaka.
Combining the fragrance of Coconut milk with freshly squeezed Pandan juice, mixed in velvety red beans and chendol, it is served drizzled with Gula Melaka.

Out of the lot of gelato, a few did garner our attention. In conjunction with SG50, Marco Alfero of Alfero Artisan Gelato (Singapore) had concocted the Chendol Merdeka. The result was a frozen scoop of Chendol, that not only looks the part but taste the part too.

Another local contender, whose creation outshone, was the Singapore Sling by FATCAT Ice cream bar (Singapore). Inspired by the renowned signature drink, Charles Tan used his wits of modern gastronomy to recreate a refreshing sorbet using actual ingredients from the cocktail.

Lastly from Down Under is Antonino Lo lacono of Gelatony (Australia) with his creation – Lemon Zest with Fig Marmalade & Dark Chocolate. The combination of sourness from the lemon zest and sweetness of the fig marmalade was complemented with a rich finish of dark chocolate. It was the kind of flavour you would go for a grande.

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Winner for this year was Sharon Tay of Momolato (Singapore) with Good ‘Ol Days, which was also crafted in commemoration of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. Judges were won over by the richness of the coconut milk that enfolds sweet and salty ribbons of palm sugar caramel with sea salt, topped with crispy caramelized beancurd.

Besides the Gelato World Tour, part of the highlights for Cafe Asia 2015 also included the Singapore National Brewers Cup and National Latte Art Championship as well. Winners of the in-house competition would be representing the nation at world competitions to be held soon. These competitions are to help encourage budding baristas to showcase their newly-acquired skills and techniques and to hone them even further with greater exposure.

(images credit to Dino Buffagni and Samantha Lee)

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