Photo by Stephanie Breijo
Lovers of ice cream (aka "errybody"), this might be a calendar clearer: On Wednesday, May 13, all three Gelati Celesti locations — Broad Street, Short Pump and Bon Air — will roll out four new flavors. "So what," you say. "They do that all time."
Well, this is different. These flavors are the brainchildren of the local chain's in-house competition, in which employees and the ice cream truck go head to head, and you can only get them for ONE WEEK. A winner will be judged at the Short Pump location on May 19, at which point the flavors may fade into the ether, forever.
I can’t bring myself to make a “scoop” joke, but yes, I’ve got the list of flavors. Broad Street concocted a chocolate-caramel ice cream with peanut butter cups; it has yet to be named, as does Short Pump’s lemon custard ice cream with moist hunks of blueberry muffin. Bon Air named its chocolate ice cream/M&M/Rice Krispie treat mélange “Darkness and Chaos” (Gelati Celesti’s now-famous T-shirts are printed with the Don Kardong quote, “Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos”). And then there’s my personal favorite, the mobile truck’s collaboration with Early Bird Biscuit, featuring buttery biscuit pieces in honey ice cream. It’s called, wait for it, “Early Bird Biscuit.”
The way the contest works is thus: First, each of the four shops comes up with its top two competition-worthy flavors. “They submit two, because on this end, we have to do the research to see if their ‘A’ entry is possible to do and do well," says operations manager Gene Raymond. "If not, we’ll use their second flavor.”
Once they’re green-lighted, all four flavors then go into production. A note here: It’s not a competition entry, but Raymond also mentioned a potential Hanover tomato sorbet they’ve been considering; could be worth begging for on hands and knees if you’re interested.
Back to the contest. During the tasting week, anyone (even you!) can go into a GC location and register to be a “flavor judge,” and head Gelati honchos will randomly pick 12 individuals for the official judging event on May 19. I like to imagine little bluebirds flying around with tiny silver spoons, but it’ll probably just be the usual ice cream eating method once you’re inside. The staff with the winning flavor gets taken to a leisurely dinner, while the other locations’ employees have to fill in for them. Last year, Bon Air won with its “B’Nutter Butter,” a creamy banana ice cream with Nutter Butter crumbles folded in.
So. Go taste, swoon and report back if you want to be a flavor judge. And, as they so brilliantly put it in their promo materials, “May the odds be ever in your flavor.”