In 1988, at the age of nineteen, Iscream’s founder Paolo Predonzan moved from his native Italy to Vienna. Paolo was keen to learn the art of creating fine traditional Italian ice-cream, and since before World War One, Austria’s capital city had built a reputation as the home of the finest gelato masters and gelatarias.
The young Paolo Predonzan was fortunate to learn his craft from Arturo, a Gelato Master considered one of the five finest in Vienna: a significant achievement in a city which possesses well over one hundred individual gelatarias. Under Arturo’s expert guidance, Paolo learned to create wonderful handmade gelato in the traditional way that has been handed down, father to son, by generations of Italian families.
As Paolo explains:
“Back in the day we didn’t have all the help we can have today from the food industry in terms of flavourings, stabilisers and emulsifiers. In my opinion, we have too much help now and the risk is that the homemade gelato is not homemade anymore. I’m glad I’ve learned to do gelato in the old way and I try to keep alive this old, traditional style to make Gelato”.
Now a Gelato Master himself, the next big step in Paolo Predonzan’s career was to introduce the cosmopolitan and culturally-diverse Hong Kong to the delights of traditional handmade Italian ice-creams and sorbets.
Launching his brand, Iscream, in 2003 was both exciting and challenging for Paolo:
“When I arrived in Hong Kong, my perspective of making gelato changed completely… Hong Kong is a place where cultures meet and integrate. I work with Italian chefs from all Italian regions (and) with French, Spanish, British, German, Swiss, American and South American chefs.
And then there is the Asian planet of culinary culture, with Chinese, Japanese and Thai chefs I work with.
All this is making me improve every day in my knowledge of foods, flavours and tastes and my enthusiasm to offer to Iscream customers something new every day”.
Happily, Hong Kong has embraced Iscream, and the premium-quality traditional Italian gelato and sorbet that Paolo Predonzan creates with such passion and pride is now enjoyed by guests of some of Hong Kong’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants, including Michelin-starred establishments.
Paolo’s hard work has paid off and he is clearly enjoying the realisation of his dream to introduce gelato to discerning customers in Hong Kong:
“It’s a challenge”, he says, “to try to understand the requests of so many different professionals I’m working with every day, but it is also my great fortune”.