Brace yourselves. The Great Gelato Giveaway is upon us.

Ahh, Ohio Valley summers. Sultry, sweaty and sticky (I’d complain, but that would go against the vow I took during the Polar Vortex to not talk bad about the heat).

The nice folks over at Gelato Gilberto have a solution to the summer woes. The gelato shop will give away 100 pints of the dessert starting today, July 1.

Be on the lookout for the Gelatomobile (Picture courtesy of Kristin Gilbert).
Be on the lookout for the Gelatomobile (Picture courtesy of Kristin Gilbert).

Here is how the giveaway will work, courtesy of Gelato Gilberto:

The Gelatomobile will magically appear at random locations during the month of July. We’ll post the location and secret password on our Facebook page on the day of each appearance. The first ten people to find the Gelatomobile and say the password will get a free pint of gorgeous gelato. (One pint per family/group please–we want everyone to get a chance.) There may or may not be consolation prizes at each location.

Visit Gelato Gilberto’s Facebook page for more info.

 

Add a cooking competition to your summer parties

Nine entries in the banana pudding bake-off.
Nine entries in the banana pudding bake-off.

It seemed like a joke — a birthday party/backyard barbecue/banana pudding bake-off? So many slashes, so much to wrap my head around for one afternoon at my friend Christine’s house.

Nine bakers made their version of banana pudding. All the dishes were numbered so guests didn’t know who made each entry. Then, everyone scooped and ate to their heart’s content. Right as our bellies were about to burst, we wrote the number of our favorite entry on a slip of paper. The number with the most votes was the winner.

Somehow, this amalgamation of an event I attended last week not only worked, but stands out as one of the best parties I’ve attended as an adult (because honestly, nothing competes with some Chuck E. Cheese action as a kid).

Kudos to Christine (with 502 Social — contact her for all your event needs!) for introducing a food competition to my sphere of gatherings. A good ol’ fashioned cooking contest makes a party more fun. Guest participation? Check. Prizes? Check. Free, homemade goodies? Double check, underline, bold, italicize.

Here are some tips for introducing a culinary competition to your party this summer:

  • Choose a food that can have a bunch of variations. Though they share the same DNA, banana puddings are not created equal (but they are all created DELICIOUS). There was a chocolate entry, one with rainbow sprinkles, one with meringue, and some with those Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies instead of the Nilla Wafers. My world expanded, and I shall never be the same.
  • Pick a dish with wide appeal. Now, everyone didn’t like banana pudding. But enough people at the party were keen on this dish to make it a real competition. You don’t have to please everybody, but you probably won’t make friends with a sardine-sandwich contest.
  • Don’t get too fancy. Whatever you decide to focus your contest one, make sure it’s something an amateur cook or baker can tackle in his or her kitchen. If I have to buy a pizza stone, you’ve gone too far.
  • Keep your surroundings in mind. For the banana pudding bake-off (or make-off, since most entries weren’t baked), we needed plenty of refrigerator space to keep the goodies cold and only brought them to a table in the backyard for judging. As the summer wears on, keep cold dishes for inside parties.
To the victor goes the spoils.
To the victor goes the spoils.
  • Have some prizes. You don’t need a garland of roses. Pick something inexpensive and related to the competition. For example, Christine had some nifty fake bananas spray-painted gold and a certificate for the winner.
  • Consider beverages. The internet has given me many gifts, some of which include a boatload of sangria recipes. Find a drink that can be made by the pitcher or punch bowl, with our without alcohol. How about lemonade, or margaritas?
  • Keep it friendly. Yes, this is a competition. But the most important part of adding food as a focal point at a party is the fellowship that comes when a bunch of people are standing around eating, talking and having a good time. At the banana pudding contest, I learned the merits of using real pudding versus instant, what happens when a child decides to “help” cook and creates her own tasty variation, and just how often you can include liquor in banana pudding (answer: a lot).

What food (or beverage) competition would you like to participate in this summer?

Save your quarters for 25-cent scoops at Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen

Gadzooks, that's a lot of chocolate.
Gadzooks, that’s a lot of chocolate.

The mosquitoes are humming, the air has grown stagnant and the sweat has stopped evaporating from my brow.

Yep, it’s almost summer in the Ohio Valley.

Now, we all promised that we wouldn’t complain about the heat after such a long, dreary winter (I wasn’t complaining in the opening — those were scientific observations). Instead, let’s cool off with the Ninth Annual 25¢ Ice Cream Social at Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen.

From noon to 5 p.m. this Saturday, May 31, all single scoops of ice cream are 25 cents at any of the 10 Pie Kitchen locations. There is some fine print: waffle cones and all other scoops such as doubles and triples are normal price.

So go forth with your change, friends, and treat yo’ self to a scoop. Just don’t complain about the heat.

It’s that time again. Let Them Tweet Cake, 5.7.14

I’m in the mood for some cake and some ladies.

Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talkin’ ’bout Let Them Tweet Cake.

This event that I try to regularly attend is just a bunch of ladies (and a few gents) talking tech at a dessert shop, Sweet Surrender Dessert Café. We let our geek flags fly HIGH.

It’s been a while since the last Tweet Cake, but this tweet-up is right on time for me. I’m excited to see old friends and meet some new ones.

See you then, yes?

Let Them Tweet Cake

6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 7

Sweet Surrender Dessert Café, 1804 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Ky.

It’s cookie time. Have you found your Girl Scout?

I was never a Girl Scout. I blame my brother, who quit Cub Scouts after my mom had bought all the swag. The wasted money sullied any kind of scouting for me.

That absence in my childhood fed my admiration for the Girl Scouts. I’m all for the empowerment of girls — and accessories that display your talents and achievements.

Old-school Girl Scouts. (Flickr Creative Commons)
Old-school Girl Scouts. (Flickr Creative Commons)

Late last year, I became a volunteer for Troop 628 of the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, thanks to my friend Christine. Now, I get to see how powerful it is to teach girls they can do anything. I get to watch girls who are eager to learn new things and not ashamed of that hunger for knowledge.

I also have a good line on where to get some Girl Scout cookies.

Sweet, glorious Girl Scout cookies. (Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Flickr Creative Commons)
Sweet, glorious Girl Scout cookies. (Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Flickr Creative Commons)

Buying a box is a lot more than just breaking your New Year’s Resolutions (like you were going to make it past February with those, anyway). We’re raising little entrepreneurs. From Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s website:

The Girl Scout cookie program is much more than a fundraiser. It’s a fun way for girls of all ages to earn the money that fuels their dreams. And it’s a powerful, hands-on leadership and entrepreneurial program where girls learn goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

The Girl Scout cookie program can lead to bigger things for girls in business, in society and in life. Helping girls dream more, have more opportunities and do more than they ever thought possible.

Want to support girls? Just want something to calm that aching sweet tooth? Here’s how you can get your hands on some Girl Scout cookies:

  • You’ll see Girl Scout cookie booths popping up in front of stores around the city Feb. 21 to March 16. A certain awesome troop will be stationed at the Holiday Manor Kroger during the coming weeks. Come say hi and buy a box or two.
  • You can also ask a Girl Scout you know if she’ll take an additional order.
  • There’s a neat Girl Scouts app to lead you to your nearest Girl Scout booth.
  • Remember, cookies are $3.50 a box.
  • On Feb. 26, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana will host the annual Desserts First fundraising event. Chefs from around Louisville will make desserts using Girl Scout cookies. Click here for more information about the event.

 

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time for an important question: What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

It’s that time again – 25-cent ice cream scoops at Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen, 6.22.13

Gadzooks, that's a lot of chocolate.
Mr. Ashlee Eats enjoying the 25-cent ice cream social.

The temperature has climbed, and the humidity has settled over the Ohio Valley. A scoop of ice cream sure sounds delightful right about now.

Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen will offer ice cream scoops for 25 cents each tomorrow, June 22. The offer is good at all 10 Pie Kitchen locations from noon to 5 p.m.

Plan your day accordingly.

Moms, rejoice — Comfy Cow will give you free ice cream this Mother’s Day

Strawberry Fields Forever, one of my favorite flavors from The Comfy Cow. (Picture courtesy thecomfycow.com)
Strawberry Fields Forever, one of my favorite flavors from The Comfy Cow. (Picture courtesy thecomfycow.com)

Still struggling to think of something to do with your mom on Mother’s Day?

The Comfy Cow ice cream shop will offer mothers a free regular cup or cone this Sunday, May 12, according to an email from Comfy Cow. Don’t forget to treat yo’ self to a scoop, too.

Any other local Mother’s Day restaurant deals?

Hear that music? The GelatoMobile might be in your neighborhood

Picture courtesy of Kristin Gilbert.

*UPDATE: The GelatoMobile will be at the Gray Street Farmers’ Market from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Burger’s Market from 3 – 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

The family behind Gelato Gilberto have taken their product to the streets.

Justin and Kristin Gilbert, the owners of the Gelato Gilberto shop in Norton Commons, rolled out the GelatoMobile last week. They have snaked their way around Louisville neighborhoods to sell gelato pops, a frozen version of the rich, Italian dessert.

I first experienced Gelato Gilberto at the Jeffersonille Italian Festival a few weeks ago. A big bowl of the chocolate gelato made me swoon. Imagine my delight when I learned that the Gilberts had created their gelato truck.

The Gilberts have always wanted some kind of vehicle to sell their wares, Kristin said. At one point, the couple explored buying a double-decker bus from London in which they would make and sell gelato (and live on the top floor).

The couple currently serve three different kinds of gelato pops out of the GelatoMobile — chocolate with sprinkles, strawberry sorbet and a Bomb Pop-like combination of strawberry and Blue Sky flavors, Kristin said. Each pop is $3 or two for $5.

“It helps to have a friend,” Kristin said.

Don’t worry if you visit the brick-and-mortar Gelato Gilberto — the shop is still open at 9434 Norton Commons Boulevard. You can also get pints of Gelato Gilberto at a few area grocery stores, including Whole Foods Louisville, Paul’s Fruit Market and Earth Fare.

With this recent blast of warm weather, Kristin said the GelatoMobile will probably be on the streets through the end of this week. Then, they will let the truck hibernate until spring.

“We’re having a hugely good time,” Kristin said.

Do you want the GelatoMobile to visit your neighborhood? Leave a comment, or contact the Gilberts directly at justin@gelatogilberto.com or visit their Facebook page.

Ghyslain at Westport Village just opened, and it’s already hoppin’

A rainy first night at Ghyslain.

I ended up in front of the new Ghyslain location in Westport Village Monday night by accident.

I won’t ramble, but I’ll just say that I stood in the rain and looked inside while wearing a soaked hooded sweatshirt and knee-high blue galoshes holding a soggy paper bag with two bottles of wine. It wasn’t my best look.

Anyway, Ghyslain had just opened that day, and I was surprised at how busy this restaurant/chocolate shop had already become. There were about two dozen people enjoying dinner, which filled the small-ish location. I guess the bistro’s East Market location had built a solid fan base.

I grabbed a menu to take home. I didn’t look decent enough to be in public, let alone eat a meal at a semi-Treat Yo’ Self type of place (sandwiches, for instance, start at $11). But I’ll be back — in dry clothes.

Ghyslain at Westport Village, 1215 Herr Lane, Suite 101, Louisville

More information on Ghyslain’s website and Facebook page

[The Sweet Fix] Cool down with the start of gelato season at Proof on Main

I spent most of last week between the coach and the bed, writhing in misery while my insides burned like the set of The Towering Inferno

A photo illustration courtesy of Pixlr-o-matic of the heat coming from my fever. That's supposed to be a grimace, not a smile.

It turns out that I’m allergic to sulfur, which resulted in a fever that I couldn’t shake for a week. Maybe I could’ve been cured (or at least comforted) if I had known that gelato season started last week at Proof on Main.

Each spring, the restaurant inside 21c Museum Hotel rolls out a cart and sells gelato on Thursday afternoons. Follow Proof on Twitter to find out what flavors will be available at the cart each Thursday.