Mary Mackenzie Dunn


Teo Gelato On The World Stage

By Mackenzie Dunn

Many know Téo as the go-to spot to cool off with a scoop of gelato or to relax with a cup of coffee. Behind the counter, however, Téo is gearing up for the competition of a lifetime. Matthew Lee, Téo’s founder and local Austinite, is preparing to compete in the Gelato World Championship in Rimini, Italy this September. Lee will be the only American in Rimini to compete for the title of the World’s Best Gelato. To celebrate, Téo is offering one lucky gelato lover a round trip plane ticket to Italy to cheer on Lee at the competition. Additionally, the café is throwing a party on Wednesday, August 13th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. with complimentary gelato and gelato cocktails, where the winner will be congratulated and guests can send Matthew Lee off with a little taste of Austin.

Using local Texas fruits and ingredients, Lee is working to craft the ultimate experience in every scoop. “The perfect scoop of gelato is the perfect temp (15  degrees Fahrenheit), smooth texture, warm in the mouth and full of the flavor you're eating.  It has to be balanced: Not too much or too little cream and sugar. Balanced so the flavor/ingredients stand out.”  To prepare for the competition, Lee has been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen. Lee says his favorite ingredients lately have been whiskey caramel sauce and four different types of pecans. Lee says the process of experimenting with gelato is a never-ending exercise in “tasting, fine tuning, tasting, fine tuning, tasting, and fine tuning.” Lee adds that his “family has really helped in fine tuning the taste.” The family effort has not stopped there, as Lee’s 16 and 17 year-old niece and nephew will be accompanying him on the trip. “They lived in Italy for 8 years and speak fluent Italian and are going with me to Rimini to help speak/sell to the Italian public and attendees,” Lee says. 

Téo has been making handmade gelato in Austin for the past 11 years and has been awarded Best in the US twice and Best of Austin every year. Currently, Lee says his favorite flavors are Peanut Butter Nutella or the new Goat Cheese & Cherry. Stop by and have a taste for yourself to pick your favorite and say wish Matthew“Buona Fortuna” (good luck) this Wednesday at Téo. 

Téo Gelato Party
Wednesday, August 13, 5-7pm