Okinawan gelato wins 2nd prize at worldwide fair

Masaya Yonemori, a 21-year-old gelato store manager from Tomigusuku, won the second prize in the free style category at SIGEP 2017 International, an annual trade fair dedicated to artisan gelato, ice cream, confectionery, pastries and bakery, held Jan. 21-25 in Rimini, Italy,. He is the first Japanese to win the prestigious honor.

Yonemori has only a year of experience as a gelato artisan. He works as a store manager at gelato store La Vous in Ginowan. Yonemori said about his ambition, “I would like to create world-class gelato using materials from Okinawa.”

About 150 gelato artisans from all ver the world took part in the free style category.

Yonemori’s gelato was named a “Scent of the Earth” that is his creation mixed with beets, mint leaves, rosemary, and lemon, all grown on Okinawa. Beets are usually used only as coloring, but Yonemori used them as the main ingredient taking advantage of their vivid color and sweetness, with rosemary and lemon’s sourness added into the mix to create an original gelato that won over the judges.

Yonemori said, “When I participated in this exhibition accompanying my “sensei” last year, I understood that vivid colors were highly regarded, and I hit upon a idea to use beets. I’m really thrilled to win the second prize. My aim is now to win the 1st prize at the Japanese exhibition in September.”

Daizo Shibano, Yonemori’s mentor and the first Asian world gelato ambassador, said, “Yonemori’s gelato received high marks because of his idea of using beets as the main ingredient that is thinking out of the box. I myself was also thrilled.”

The “Scent of the Earth” started to go on sale at the four stores of “La Vous” from Feb. 3 sequentially.