Did you know a Sicilian guy created the first café in Paris in 1686, the famous Café Procope?
I recently realized that many people in Sicily and abroad do not know that Sicilian born Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli is undoubtedly one of the most influential individuals in the history of gelato and the founder of the oldest café in Paris(1686): "Le Procope".
Procopio perfected a machine invented by his grandfather Francesco, a fisherman who dedicated his free time to the creation of an ice-making machine able to produce top quality gelato.
The grandson started using sugar in place of honey and mixed salt and ice in order to preserve gelato for a longer time, thus improving the quality and obtaining a result which is close to the kind of gelato we are now familiar with.
In 1686 he was welcomed in Paris as a brillant invetor and opened a café named after himself called “Café Procope”, which quickly became one of the most celebrated haunts of the literary establishment in France. People like Voltaire, Danton, Robespierre, Marat, Benjamin Franklin and many other emblematic figures were clients of the café which represents a real piece of Parisian and Sicilian history at the same time.