A Tucsonan is among 16 North American gelato artisans who will compete in the inaugural North American leg of the Gelato World Tour in Austin, Texas, next weekend.
Peter Miller of Tazzina di Gelato, 5420 E. Broadway Blvd. in the Williams Center, will put his Chocolate Orange Liqueur — a chocolate base with a tangy mix of orange, orange liqueur and citrus zest — up against a Canadian shop’s dark chocolate, rum and wild cherry gelato; a Texan’s twist on Indian Kulfi; and a New Yorker’s reimagination of s’mores.
The competition is judged by a technical jury as well as visitors submitting their votes for the best gelato.
Miller, 31, and the other contestants were selected based on their gelato creations, submitted through an application process. The top three finishers will represent the U.S. in the Grand Finale of the Gelato World Tour in Rimini, Italy, Sept. 5-7.
“It’s really, really exciting. The guys who will be there teaching are the Mount Rushmore of the gelato world,” said Miller, who opened Tazzina di Gelato — “little cup of gelato” in Italian — with his family over Thanksgiving weekend 2011.
Before they opened, Miller and his mother, Leslie, completed eight months of training including taking the gelato training course at Italy’s Carpigiani Gelato University — the sponsors of the Gelato World Tour — and courses with gelato experts in Los Angeles, New Jersey and New York.
Leslie Miller helped produce the gelato in the beginning, but has since turned production over to her son. His sister works on the store’s website (tazzinadigelato.com) and his brother manages the shop as well as the family’s other Williams Center business, Katana Games.
Tazzina di Gelato carries more than 30 flavors of gelato including the house special Death by Chocolate and Death by Coffee, and six or seven fruity sorbettos.
Miller’s gelato creations often are inspired by a simple trip to the drugstore.
“The creativity has just taken off in another direction. You’ll be walking along in a Walgreens or something and you’ll see a blueberry green tea and you’ll say, ‘I can make a gelato out of that’,” said Miller, who has a journalism degree from Northern Arizona University.
He did make that flavor as well as a blueberry lemon, and both were hits with customers.
In addition to the Williams Center shop, Tazzina di Gelato is available at Agustín Kitchen in the Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento off West Congress Street.