1980: Serving Up Gelato Love in Seattle
Procopio Gelateria opened its doors on the Pike Place Hillclimb in 1980 with a mission to bring a high-quality, old-world style Italian ice cream to Seattle locals and tourists. One of Seattle’s best-kept secrets, our team welcomes you to savor a variety of ice cream flavors along with an Italian lunch menu, all of which is made onsite in our café near Pike Place Market.
Un Po ‘di Storia: The Scoop on Gelato History
Italians are credited with introducing gelato to Europe and then the rest of the world. Sicilian-born Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli (1651 – 1727) was one of the most influential individuals in the history of gelato. As a young boy, he played in the snow, mixing it with fruit juices and honey to make a form of sorbet eaten by both aristocrats and peasants.
Procopio acquired skills in cooking, ice cream machinery, and also apprenticed under a beverage distiller in Paris. In 1686 in Paris, he opened a restaurant named after himself called “Café Procope“, which quickly became one of the most celebrated meeting places of the literary establishment in France. The café is still in operation today, and has the honor of being the world’s oldest continually-functioning café.
Notable people who have visited the Paris café throughout its history include Victor Hugo, Maximilien Robespierre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jean-Paul Marat, Honoré de Balzac, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oscar Wilde, Napoleon Bonaparte and Voltaire.