The Bell House in Gowanus was packed with a sold-out crowd sampling almost twenty types of ice cream. Competitors were asked to bring two gallons to hand out. If your ice cream maker uses a freezer bowl that must be chilled between batches, it'd take over a week to churn that amount of ice cream.
Takedown Organizer Matt Timms
This was only the latest in a series of Takedowns organized by Matt Timms. The first was a chili cook-off. Despite his sweet tooth, Timms is a real chili-head with a passion for cook-offs but wanted an event with fewer rules and restrictions than chili society-organized competitions.
Even the most simple flavors at the Takedown were gussied up with considered pairings (roasted peach and basil, blueberry and green tea). Other flavors were more...out there. Take the Caprese Freezee, a layered slab of tomato, marscapone, and basil ice creams that eerily imitated the flavors of a caprese salad. The slabs were cut into cubes and served with a drizzle of olive oil.
Ice Cream Carnage
Delicious, delicious carnage. Sampling so many flavors can be an exhausting ordeal. As for the ice creams, well, there were no survivors.
The competitors gather on stage for the awards ceremony. Not pictured: the crowd, cheering in ice cream-induced ecstasy.
Winner, Judges' Pick
Ben Mims won over the judges with his Pavlovian Response, which took home first prize. He served a lemon curd and vanilla ice cream with a coconut meringue and chunks of strawberry and kiwi. It was an airy but nuanced love poem to a pavlova, that other Best Thing you can do with cream, eggs, and fruit.
People's Choice Pick
Anthony (left) and Tony (right) Santoro take the stage as father and son to receive their second and first place prizes in the People's Choice vote. Anthony wooed the crowd with a rich, creamy chocolate amaretto ice cream, but Dad won the day with his Caprese Freezee ice cream.
The real magic of competitions like these is the story behind the food. There was no shortage of aw'ing from the crowd as father and son embraced on stage.