Aiyu (愛玉) jelly made in Greater Tainan’s Fodu Dessert Store was voted the most creative product by experts and more than 60,000 netizens, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.
The competition was part of the bureau’s annual Summer Solstice 235 travel campaign, which was first launched last year.
The campaign was inspired by the fact that Taiwan is the easternmost nation along the Tropic of Cancer, which lies at 23.5o north latitude. The northern tropical line runs through Hualien, Nantou County, Chiayai, Greater Kaohsiung, Yunlin County and Penghu.
Aiyu jelly beat mango shaved ice, green grass jelly and others in a similar competition last year and emerged as the summer snack that best represents Taiwan.
Aiyu jelly is made from the fruit of an indigenous fig tree grown in the nation’s high mountains.
That the dessert can be purchased nationwide makes it easier for the Tourism Bureau to promote, food critics and travel writers in the competition said.
This year, the bureau shortlisted 10 stores selling aiyu jelly in seven different counties and asked experts and netizens to choose the most creative aiyu jelly dessert among them.
The bureau said that Fodu won because its aiyu jelly has a sweet-and-sour flavor and features pineapple grown in Greater Tainan’s Kuanmiao District (關廟). The jelly also smells like sweet olives.
Aiyu jelly flavored with brown sugar sorbet made by dessert store Aishanwu in Chiayi County was the runner-up.
Dessert store Hsiaohueihsia in Yunlin County took third place with its fried aiyu jelly.
Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) said that aiyu jelly is available across the nation, from Keelung in the north to Pintung County in the south.
He said the competition was held to market the dessert to international visitors.
Desserts made with aiyu jelly are to be served to the participants of a forum on the Asian cruise tour market in Greater Kaohsiung today and tomorrow, he said.
For the summer solstice campaign, the bureau is also planning events in the national scenic areas along the Tropic of Cancer, including a 100km challenge race, a triathlon on the east coast and music concerts in the East Rift Valley and Penghu.