NHL and NBA players play for their native lands in world competitions.
Stefano Biasini, who has won at the World Cup of Gelato for his native Italy, is flipping this tradition.
He will compete for Team USA in the next Coppa del Mondo Di Gelateria, which will be held Jan. 20-24, 2018, in Rimini, Italy.
Biasini, a partner in the Center City restaurant Gran Caffe L'Aquila (1716 Chestnut St.), is here on a 0-1 Visa - the so-called "celebrity" visa - and has qualified for U.S. permanent residency.
By dispensation of his Italian team and the officials of the competition, Biasini has been granted approval to participate as an American. Biasini qualified at a recent U.S. competition with a gelato featuring Langhe hazelnut gelato, raspberry sorbetto accented with a vaniglia-lemon crema, and Italian milk chocolate crisps topped with a Torino fondente semi-sphere.
Biasini's home and business were destroyed in the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, and in 2012 Philadelphia restaurateur Riccardo Longo convinced Biasini and master coffee roaster Michele Morelli to come to Philadelphia to open the restaurant.
The World Cup of Gelato draws masters from a dozen European, Asian, North and South American countries who compete in gelato, pastry, and ice carving.
At the previous World Cup of Gelato, in 2014, Biasini won the International Press Prize for best gelato and the best gastronomic gelato prize. His team won a silver medal for overall performance.
Gran Caffe L'Aquila will become the U.S. training camp. Also on the team are pastry chefs Lyn Wells and Darrell Folck and ice sculpture master Chris Foltz. The team manager is Randy Torres.