G.S. Gelato started when a young, stubborn, and determined couple came from Italy to the beautiful Florida Emerald Coast, in the beginning of 1996.
We had a dream and a goal - to bring authentic Italian Gelato to America. But didn’t Americans have ice cream already?! Yes, but as we often would explain:
"Didn’t Americans have coffee before? Of course! And now because of many European influences, Americans now enjoy espresso, cappuccino, latte and so on! The same principles apply to Gelato and Sorbet. Trends, people, tastes and markets evolve...the whole world is always in evolution…"
We chose the Fort Walton Beach/Destin area as the base of their American venture and moved from Italy in February 1996. We soon realized that our dream was quite different from the reality. The language barrier was just one of the many hurdles we would encounter. Moreover, the culture, laws and regulations were far different than we had envisioned.
So, where to go from here? Our dream was beginning to be overshadowed by the immense (and growing) tasks that lay ahead.
First, in order to produce authentic Italian Gelato and Sorbet, we needed authentic Italian equipment. So, we imported the necessary machinery from Italy and installed it in our small facility. However, during the final inspection, the Department of Agriculture declined the approval of the equipment - the equipment did not meet code. What code? There wasn’t even a code for such a category with the Department of Agriculture!
Now what? Get rid of the equipment? No. This was not an option for us. We needed authentic equipment to produce authentic Gelato and Sorbet. With such a time honored tradition, there must be a way to get approval. We were discouraged by everyone, did not know what to do, where to go or with whom to speak and more importantly, how to speak! Did we give up? Absolutely not!
Growing up, we were instilled to live by three important Italian proverbs…
- Where there is a will there is a way.
- When the water comes to the throat, you better start swimming.
- Never give up your dreams.
So…we did our best to speed-learn English and found some fantastic people that were willing to share their knowledge and help out. Those were very difficult times. Our dream seemed like it was attached by a very fine thread.
After 14 long months, our precious equipment was approved, not only by the Department of Agriculture, but from the Food and Drug Administration as well! What an ordeal! We began to understand now why so many people with the same goal failed and returned to Italy.
If asked if we would you do it again? Without thinking twice! It was worth it. We believe that all the valuable things in life are not achieved without big efforts.
Guido and Simona achieved their goal of manufacturing authentic artisan Gelato and Sorbet in America. Today they operate a state of the art facility, are distributing their products throughout the country and franchising San Gelato Café retail locations. These cafés celebrate the cuisine and culture found in typical Italian Gelaterias. It would be fair to say they are a true success story!
During our journey we’ve acquired extensive experience and skills within the manufacturing and restaurant industries. Funny how the tables have turned! Nowadays, G.S. Gelato is often sought out for our knowledge and advice.
It is our hope and our desire that G.S. Gelato stands for the commitment to excellence with which we have operated for over 16 years. We welcome you to come along with us on our passionate journey in creating one of the most exquisite dessert creations.
All because two people fell in love!