Summerlong ice cream competition series to name grand champion Sunday


Candied Palisade cherries, soaked in sugar, shine in a chocolate stout ice cream with fudge swirl. This ice cream will be one of six flavors competing for top honors at the Yampa Valley Farm-to-Table Ice Cream Competition grand championship from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Storm Peak Brewing Co.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa Valley Farm-to-Table Ice Cream Competition has been churning away all summer long, and on Sunday, the series wraps up with the grand championship round. 

The recipe for the event, as well as that for the previous two contests, was this: each competitor whips up a vat of an original flavor of ice cream, custard, sorbet or gelato. Mix-ins and swirls are allowed, but vessels, sauces and toppings are not. Event attendees get a frozen flight featuring a self-contained scoop of every flavor, and, without a clue of which chef created which flavor, vote on their top favorites. 

The grand champion event features the first-, second- and third-place winners from the previous two contests, including Jay Hirschfeld, of Hayden aquaponic produce farm and event presenter 41North; Chef Patrick Ayres, of Destination Hospitality; Chef Nick Winden, of Creekside Cafe; Chef Russell Goodman, of LiftUp Food Bank; Chef Pete List, of Snowbowl; and Chef Jacob Nelson, of Table79. 

Taste testing will, as always, be blind, with flavors and their makers kept unassociated until all votes are in. But the inside scoop, courtesy of 41North’s Hirschfeld, is that this round’s flavors include: chocolate-covered strawberries ice cream; chocolate stout ice cream with candied Palisade cherries and fudge swirl; local peppermint and smoke-o-nib ice cream; local honey and wild rose ice cream; Palisade peach creme fraiche frozen custard; and vanilla ice cream.

Participating ice creams feature locally sourced ingredients and are served in compostable cups and spoons. Sponsored ingredients include those from Hayden Farm Fresh Eggs, Palisade’s Eat a Peach Farms, Outlaw Apiaries and 41 North.

The grand championship round is the first in which voting by attendees takes place in the form of gold and silver tokens. A full six-flavor flight of 2 oz. scoops is available for $12 in advance of the event and at the door; this option comes with three gold voting tokens. At the event, two 4 oz. scoops, with two silver tokens, can be purchased for $7; another option is one 4 oz. scoop for $4, with one silver token.

The flavor that has collected the most tokens by 7 p.m. Sunday will be named the Yampa Valley Ice Cream Competition grand champion and celebrated at an awards ceremony immediately following the championship. 

This round also features a VIP special guest judging panel, including Storm Peak owner Wyatt Patterson and How Ya Doin’ Pizza n’ Eatz Chef Stephen Poirier, as well as child judges Felix Mendisco, 3, and Uriah Mendisco, 6.

“Working with our participants and servicing the Steamboat community continues to be a genuine pleasure, and putting on these competitions has been an exciting, creative, rewarding challenge,” Hirschfeld said. “We are also beyond thrilled to welcome our panel of VIP guest judges, who bring deep levels of experience, knowledge and credibility to what has inarguably been the culinary event of 2019.”

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @juliabenasher.

Guest judges line up for their ice cream flights, featuring eight different, locally made flavors, at May’s Round 1 of the Yampa Valley Ice Cream Competition at The Barley Tap & Tavern. The grand championship round of the competition is set for noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Storm Peak Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy of Jay Hirschfeld