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‘Sweet and Salty Annabelle’:Cape tween wins ice cream flavor contest

By Staff | Jul 20, 2017

Cape Coral’s Annabelle Phillips said it only took her a few seconds to come up with her ice cream recipe.

Vanilla ice cream, her favorite? Check.

Salted caramel ribbons? Check.

Chocolate caramel cups? Check.

Phillips’ winning recipe, ‘Sweet and Salty Annabelle” was one of 30 entries in the annual ice cream flavor contest, hosted by a partnership between Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and Royal Scoop on Fort Myers Beach. Make-A-Wish Southern Florida grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Wish children got to submit their recipe to Royal Scoop, and owner Wanda Linatsas and her staff narrowed them down to three recipes.

On Sunday, July 16, the flavors were made available for the public to taste and vote on – and conveniently, it was also National Ice Cream Day.

“People have been enjoying the trying,” Linatsas said.

Phillips, 12, had two competitors to fend off: last year’s winner, 14-year-old Alex Mesa of Naples with “Oreo Splash,” and Jordan Strunk, a 9-year-old from Fort Myers, who created “The Funky Cookie.”

Linatsas said the votes were close all day, but as the afternoon continued, Phillips’ flavor pulled ahead.

Phillips wants to be a chef when she grows up. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She spent the next two years mostly at home while she was sick. She and her mom, Brandy, started baking cupcakes together.

“She and her mom would make 300 cupcakes for the staff at my hospital,” said Jason Phillips, Annabelle’s dad. He works at Lehigh Regional Medical Center.

So, working with different flavors isn’t something new: some of the cupcake combos have been cookies and cream, pia colada, and maple bacon.

“I want to be a chef, and have a restaurant and a bakery,” she said. “The restaurant would be ‘Salty Annabelle’ and the bakery would be ‘Sweet Annabelle.'”

Strunk’s flavor, “Funky Cookie” came in a close second. Strunk attended the event in his favorite suit: blue scrubs and a white coat inscribed with “Dr. Jordan” and an official Golisano Children’s Hospital badge. Strunk’s Wish-granters, Toni and Stuart Morganstein volunteered at the flavor event. Strunk has congenital anomalies, and his wish was to have his bedroom re-done with an emergency services theme to reflect his desire to work in the medical field someday.

“I want to help kids out,” Strunk said.