A taste of Gelato History!
Gelato, meaning frozen, is one of the most loved Italian exports in the world! Gelato can be traced back as far as 3000 B.C. It is believed that Asian cultures discovered the roots of sorbet in the form of crushed ice and flavouring. This same practice was common in Egypt when Pharaohs offered visitors a cup of ice mixed with fruit juice. Romans then began the ritual of eating the ice of the volcanoes Etna and Vesuvius, covering it with honey!
It is believed that centuries later Marco Polo adopted the same techniques throughout his travels and brought them back to Italy. It was indeed the Italians who took the principles of Marco Polo and turned them into a beautiful and much loved old-age delicacy. By the early 1600’s, crushed ice mixed with fruit was available in every public square in Italy and it was the beginning of the gelato revolution there.
However, we believe that Sicilian-born ‘Francesco Procopio de Coltelli’ (Italian accent required!) was one of the most influential individuals and was the one who was responsible for spreading the ‘Gelato love’ all across Europe!
Let’s learn a little about the mastermind Francesco and his Gelato quest!
In 1686, Sicillian-born fisherman Franceso Procopio moves from Palermo, Italy, to Paris on his gelato journey to open up a café. As Gelato was one of the best loved delicacies in Italy, Francesco wanted to share this with the rest of Europe! His café “Café Procope’ was a huge success and instantly became one of the most exclusive cafes in Paris, all because of Francesco’s secret product…..Gelato! The Parisians instantly loved the creaminess and velvety smoothness of Francesco’s gelato and word quickly spread around Paris! Ooh la la! The café was visited by many celebrities of the time! Francesco had undoubtably started a gelato craze and all of France and Europe wanted to get involved!
His gelato was such a success that Francesco not only received French citizenship but he was also given a royal licence by King Louis XIV, acknowledging him as the exclusive producer of gelato!
The café still still stands as the oldest Parisian restaurant and is still open and serving Gelato!