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North Jersey Gelato Shop Takes Top Prize, Heads to North American Finals

by Alice

Francia Magsaysay, the talented gelato chef behind Francy’s Artisanal Ice Cream in Bergenfield, has secured a coveted spot to compete in the North American Gelato finals after her recent triumph.

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Magsaysay’s innovative creation, featuring passionfruit, yuzu, and white chocolate gelato, clinched the top spot at the Gelato Festival World Masters Texas Tournament held in Houston last week, earning her well-deserved recognition.

The top three winners from the Texas Tournament, along with three others from competitions held across North America last week, will advance to the next stage in the fall. Details regarding the timing and location of the fall competition are yet to be announced. The top six finalists from this round will then have the opportunity to vie for glory at the world finals in Italy next year.

This is not Magsaysay’s first taste of success in the competition circuit. Last year, her remarkable second-place finish at a tournament in New York City, showcasing her purple yam and cheese with craquantes (almond cookies) gelato, earned her a spot in the semifinals. While she didn’t secure a top-six finish, Magsaysay’s creation won the hearts of the people, earning her the prestigious People’s Choice award.

Originally from the Philippines, Magsaysay opened her gelato shop three years ago, serving up an array of delectable flavors that have garnered praise from food critics, who describe her creations as “swoon-inducing award-winning frozen lusciousness.” Among her bestsellers is the purple yam and cheese ice cream, featuring white-chocolate-covered Rice Krispies, which has captivated customers’ palates.

The yam gelato, along with other inventive flavors like passionfruit, yuzu, and white chocolate, are all crafted by Magsaysay herself, who honed her skills under the tutelage of the late pastry chef Richard Capizzi.

Reflecting on her journey, Magsaysay shared that she developed the yam gelato in response to customer requests for a Creamsicle flavor. Wanting to offer something unique, she put her own twist on the classic, resulting in a distinct and irresistible creation.

Prior to opening her gelato shop, Magsaysay worked as a pastry sous chef at the esteemed Le Bernardin in Manhattan. Despite initially planning to open a bakery, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic led her to pivot towards ice cream and gelato, a decision that has proven successful.

With her talent and dedication, Magsaysay continues to push boundaries in the world of frozen desserts, offering customers an exceptional culinary experience. As she gears up for the North American finals, her innovative creations promise to captivate taste buds and elevate the art of gelato-making to new heights.

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