The Sicilian tradition of ice cream started with an Arab-derived sorbet: a gastronomic custom that consisted of the consumption of snow seasoned with fruit juices or milk. Even today the scherbet (in sweet snow Arabic) is prepared in the Italian regions of the Center-South. Later the Sicilian sorbet designers perfected their recipes and began to bring these preparations also in various other cities of Italy and in the countries of northern Europe.
Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, was a Sicilian chef and fisherman born in Aci Trezza (Catania) who in 1686 was able to prepare the mixture of ice cream that we know today. He improved the processing of sorbets by discovering the use of sugar instead of honey, and salt mixed with ice to make it last longer and thanks to a machine invented by his grandfather was the first to develop a commercial version and made a leap in quality. After many failures and subsequent improvements, he decided to export it abroad.
He made a long journey that would take him to Paris where he was welcomed by the Parisians as a brilliant inventor: in 1686 he opened a café, the Café Procope, according to many even the oldest coffee in Europe, where a great variety of ice creams was served.