Asia’s Craving for Ice-Cream Spurs First Asian Gelato Showdown

Global EAT - Asia’s Craving for Ice-Cream Spurs First Asian Gelato Showdown
From lychee, mango to coconut and pandan, these assorted gelato flavours will get your mouth watering. (Nikao Media)

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”  The 1927 American tune mirrors the rising Asian demand for frozen treats – prompting the first Asian Gelato Cup at Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) next month.

The world’s biggest ice-cream market in 2016 was China, followed by the US and Japan, cited a Mintel research.   India, Indonesia and Vietnam were among the world’s fastest growing markets, it added.

Italian-style ice-cream, gelato is one of the frozen treats that’s making inroads into Asia for its novelty and alleged health appeal.

Asian Gelato Cup

Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) show organizer, UBM with support from the Singapore Pastry Alliance, is staging the first Asian Gelato Cup at FHA 2018 to be held at Singapore Expo from April 24 to 27.

FHA attracted 47,630 buyers – and over 3,000 exhibitors from 70 countries and/or regions in 2016. The show’s resounding success propelled its venue expansion to include Suntec Singapore at their 40th edition this year.

Global EAT - Asia’s Craving for Ice-Cream Spurs First Asian Gelato Showdown
FHA is largest food trade event in Southeast Asia.(Nikao Media)

The Asian Gelato showdown aims to create new food trends.  At the same time, enhance industry creativity and professionalism, and showcase Asia’s finest artisanship.

The 2015 Gelato World Tour for the Asia Pacific Finals in Singapore saw the emergence of gelato champions like Sharon Tay of Singapore’s Momolato, Keewin and Seow Huan Ong of Gelato Shop in Kuala Lumpur.

The inaugural launch is set to encourage individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs in Asia to join and tap the global multi-billion frozen dessert industry, said UBM project director for food & hospitality, Rodolphe Lameyse.

Awards and Judges

Twelve teams comprising of gelato and pastry chefs from 10 Asian regions have registered to compete for the Cup.  Awards are based on flavour, structure and presentation.  The awards feature the best of the following:

  • Gelato Cake
  • Plated Dessert
  • Artistic Showpiece
  • Tasting Gelato prize
  • Team Spirit

The top three winning teams will represent their respective regions at the Gelato World Cup in Rimini, Italy in 2020.

Several food industry experts make up the judging panel.  Among them are:

  • Head judge: Gelato World Cup president Giancarlo Timballo
  • Philippines’ celebrity chef Jackie Ang Po
  • Indonesian Pastry Alliance general secretary Louis Tanuhadi

“We look forward to growing the culture of gelato making in the region,” said Timballo.

The Asian Gelato Cup is a spin-off from Coppa del Mondo of Gelateria (Gelato World Cup) whose mission is to spread gelato culture around the globe. Carpigiani Gelato University and the Italian expo group Sigep are the organisers of the World Cup. 

Global EAT - Asia’s Craving for Ice-Cream Spurs First Asian Gelato Showdown
Coppa del Mondo of Gelateria 2018 – Australian team in action. (

Related: The Scoop: Is Gelato Healthier than Ice-Cream?

Italians Going East for Greener Pastures

When it comes to ice-cream production, Italy tops the European Union (EU) countries.  Italian ice-cream makers whipped up 595 million litres of gelato (19% of total EU production) in 2016, according to eurostat.

With the struggling Italian economy, gelato makers are heading East for greener pastures.  Ice-cream is believed to have its roots in ancient China, and later introduced to Italy by Silk Road explorer Marco Polo.