A cafe owner in Bexhill is proud of having two of his ice creams in the UK’s top 10 – his best ever placing.
Luigi Di Paolo’s chocolate ice cream came fourth in the Ice Cream Alliance’s (ICA) national competition awards’ chocolate class and vanilla was in the top 10 for dairy.
The owner of Di Paolo’s Cafe on Marina also scored well in the lemon sorbet category – placing just outside the top 10 – in the February competition.
Luigi’s great-grandfather Lorenzo Di Marco won the competition in the 1930s and believes he is on course to match his ancestor’s achievement.
“When you see the number of entries per class and the fact that it’s a national competition, I’m very proud of chocolate and with lemon sorbet and vanilla doing well too, it’s great,” he said.
The ice creams were judged on Tuesday, February 16, and Wednesday, February 17, in Harrogate with the winners announced at the presidential ball on the Thursday.
Luigi said The One Show wanted to live stream the results before the ball but it could not organised as it is such a well-kept secret.
The artisan gelati chef’s excellent results are his highest ever and he puts it down to hard work over the winter season perfecting his flavours.
“It’s taken me six months to get this because as soon as the season is over, around September, I start working on my recipes as trade starts to slow after the August bank holiday,” he said.
“But I have more time to work on these things.”
Luigi was one of the judging supervisors and sits of the ICA’s board.
He said being immersed with some of the best ice cream makers in the world helped him enormously.
“Being involved with the alliance, I go up to Derby to the head office to sit on the board and being around these experienced guys is great,” he said.
“It’s like a family as there are lots of Italian, or Anglo-Italian families involved.”
Chesterfield’s Smiths Creamland Ices was crowned the National Ice Cream Champion and Kingstonian Ice Cream took first place in the chocolate category.
Luigi is thrilled with how his flavours performed this year and encouraged people to try them for themselves.
“We aim every year to try and win but I only started in the industry in 2011 so I’m up against guys who have 20 or 30 years more experience than me,” he said.
“But that’s why I’m so happy with what we have achieved as they have more experience than me so fourth is great as I’m clearly there or there about.”
It is an exciting time for Di Paolo’s as it is expanding into next door to create a family room, a garden, a table service restaurant and disabled toilets which will be open in the summer.
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