The young pastry chef from Brescia won the first prize thanks to her skill and daring to create desserts with only vegetable ingredients.
Anna Gerasi is the winner of the Italian Final of the World Chocolate Masters, held today 2 February in Pollenzo, at the headquarters of Selmi Chocolate Machinery, top player in the production of chocolate processing machines, in Pollenzo. The final was organized by Chocolate Academy Milano by Barry Callebaut, leading international company in the production of chocolate and cocoa. An important victory for Anna, born and raised in the world of pastry, reached the top step of the podium of this competition thanks to experimentation, the ability to get involved with only vegetable ingredients, which have in fact opened a new trend of pastry tomorrow.
An international competition
Now Anna will represent Italy in the world final to be held in Paris at the end of October 2022. The World Chocolate Masters it is in fact the most important international competition dedicated to artisans, chefs and their creativity applied to chocolate in the world of pastry, chocolate and gastronomy. The candidates, who came from all over the world, started their preparation from March 2021 and will have to convince the jury thanks to their creative ideas, their vision and their talent. 21 countries participating in the contest, which will be held in Paris next October, and which will decree the best maître chocolatier in the world. In the race in Pollenzo with Anna Gerasi, the only female finalist, also Matia Ortiz, party chef of Il Marchesino in Milan, Diego Mascià, of the Cioccolateria Gelateria of Cristian Beduschi in Florence, Attilio Rebeccani, manager of the historic Marisa pastry shop in Padua, Antonino Maresca, consultant for restaurants and pastry shops, Stefano Bernardi, maître chocolatier and Head Pastry Chef at the Valle dell'Erica Resort in Santa Teresa di Gallura and Filippo Valsecchi, party chef at the family restaurant.
The sense of this competition
The World Chocolate Masters is actually a real observatory, thanks to which it is possible to understand the changes in taste, the expectations of consumers and consequently the trends of chefs and pastry chefs who intend to mark the pastry of tomorrow with their work. It is no coincidence that the theme of this year's edition is precisely Tomorrow, or all the suggestions and insights of tomorrow's pastry chefs. «The World Chocolate Masters is like Formula One in the world of chocolate and pastry – said Ramon Morato, Creative Director of Cacao Barry. The innovations revealed and displayed by chefs have always been a source of inspiration for chefs around the world. What will be seen in the competition will be exhibited in the best patisseries and chocolate shops of the next few years. In this edition we will encourage chefs to approach science, technology and design and rethink chocolate and pastry in these terms ".
The X factor of Anna Gerasi
Anna convinced the jury, made up of great professionals in the sector, thanks to the decision to set up all her work using only vegetable ingredients, making the realization of her works more difficult. Strength, determination and vision are his watchwords. She declares herself deeply attached to chocolate and uses it as the basis of all her creations. In particular, he recognizes his pralines as a workhorse: an explosion of chocolate in different shapes and tastes. The final in Paris would represent for her, as well as the realization of a dream, also a a source of great pride as she would be the first Italian woman to obtain such a result. On the benches of the jurors, Enric Rovina Montesinos, founder of Enric Rovina, a company producing high quality chocolate with a contemporary design; Davide Comaschi, winner of the 2013 competition in Paris; Loretta Fanella, best pastry shop in Italy 2007 and founder of Loretta Fanella Pastry Lab, a laboratory where you can learn all the secrets of the most innovative pastry; Vittorio Santoro, founder and president of CAST Alimenti, the school created to give professional dignity to the masters of taste; Maurizio Allodi, director of the Selmi Training Center chocolate training school and finally Luciano Varetto, master chocolatier and Selmi technician.
The tests to overcome
The seven competitors had to face 5 different tests related to different themes. The first was Design, and participants were asked to think like designers to create new formats for their chocolates, snacks and pastry ideas. The first test was a 3D artistic creation in chocolate, using the #TMRW inscription, made with Cacao Barry couverture chocolates and other cocoa derivatives. Six different techniques had to be used in the realization, such as molding, sculpture and other methods, also invented by the competitor. The second test consisted in the creation of a fresh single-portion, where three different textures were evident, consisting of one of the chocolates of the Cacao Barry range, a fruit that gave the idea of freshness and a local ingredient produced by artisans of the place of origin. of the competitor. The third test required the creation of a chocolate snack, entirely vegan and based on pure chocolate. The predominant aspect had to be the design: it is the image, in fact, that determines the customer's purchase reaction. Bon Bon was instead the fourth test, in which the participant had to create a fresh praline, without emulsifiers, made with local products. The last test to pass consisted in creating a moodboard to illustrate one's idea and interpretation of the theme, motivating the choices through a story, that it was as engaging as possible.
Chocolate in Italian pastry
The use of chocolate has exploded late in Italy compared to the rest of Europe, but in a few years, thanks also to the cultural commitment expressed by Chocolate Academy and by its chefs, this ingredient has become indispensable in the best pastry shops but also in the most refined recipes of starred restaurants throughout Italy. The first Italian to win the World Chocolate Masters was in 2013 Davide Comaschi, trained at the school of Maestro Iginio Massari. After nine years, who knows it is not yet an Italian to get on the highest podium of this competition. We all cheer for Anna!