Category Archives: In The Press

Small Business Commission Honors GIO Gelati

Last week we were honored to be chosen as the Honoree of District 2 for San Francisco’s “Small Business Week” by Supervisor Stefani.

This honor means the world to us and reminds us of just how far we’ve come. We’re absolutely blessed to have been welcomed into a great community here in the Bay Area and cherish all the wonderful friendships we’ve built along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks for all your support over these past 4 years and thanks for sharing our love of gelato! Cheers to many more years to come as well as a lot more gelato!

Patrizia Pasqualetti, Supervisior Stefani & Guido Mastropaolo pose at the “Small Business Week” ceremony.

Celebrate Small Business Week

Want to support small businesses in a fun way? Here’s a couple events taking place this week.

May 2nd – InspireSF: an evening marketplace of local women-owned small businesses, a live dance performance and more!

May 3rd – San Francisco Cultural Districts Spotlight: a virtual event showcasing a couple of San Francisco’s Cultural Districts.

May 7th – Art Walk SF: Balboa Village: Starting from 12 pm in Balboa Village between 35th and 39th Avenues to celebrate the Art, Music, Food, and Small Businesses of San Francisco’s Neighborhoods.

For more upcoming events, visit this link!

GIO Gelati Launches GIO Club, The First And Only Italian Gelato Subscription Service in the Bay Area

GIO Club subscription service now available in most of the
San Francisco Bay Area with weekly deliveries

GIO Gelati Press Release

San Francisco, CA – July 14th, 2020: GIO Gelati, maker of the most authentic Italian gelato in the Bay Area, announces the launch of a new gelato subscription service, GIO Club, immediately available to most San Francisco Bay Area residents. Subscribers to the new program will receive regular delivery of Italian gelato to their homes or places of work with the flexibility to customize flavor, quantity and frequency.

Guido Mastropaolo, GIO Gelati CEO, shares the vision: “We created this new service by leveraging what we learned while donating gelato to the elderly of the local Italian community and to the first responders at the San Francisco General Hospital during the pandemic. Receiving gelato at the doorstep always brings out a smile.

With the GIO Club subscription program, the company embraces a new business model bridging the gap between the physical and the digital to make gelato readily available to more people whenever they need it–at home in their freezer!

The company Gelato Chef, Patrizia Pasqualetti, explains the benefits of the GIO Club: “We want to provide all GIO Club members with the opportunity to explore and enjoy all our new and seasonal flavors from the comfort of their homes.” 

GIO Club is the first and only subscription service delivering Italian artisanal gelato. Every single pint of gelato is locally produced in San Francisco using the best local seasonal ingredients to create a healthy and enjoyable dessert that is perfect for kids, adults, and the elderly.

About GIO Gelati: GIO Gelati is a local company founded in San Francisco in 2018 to combine authentic Italian gelato traditions with the best, healthiest and freshest Californian ingredients. GIO Gelati opened its first shop in San Francisco in 2018, and in 2019 it opened a second location in San Ramon City Center.

Video of the Online Announcement

Guido Mastropaolo (CEO) and Patrizia Pasqualetti (Gelato Chef) interviews by Marcia Gagliardi (tablehopper)

GIO Gelati Event Transcripts

Marcia: SF food writer, lived in Italy, gelato as a daily lifestyle, hard to find quality gelato here, introduced to GIO by Viola Buitoni, better than most I’ve had in Italy.

I’m excited to be in conversation with the founders and creators of GIO Gelati, Guido Mastropaolo, CEO, an entrepreneur with a strategic planning and business development background, and an innovator in the media business, and Patrizia Pasqualetti, GIO’s Gelato Chef, a pastry chef who comes from a long family tradition of artisanal gelato makers in Orvieto, Italy. She has appeared on Italian national TV and radio programs sharing her love for the craft of gelato-making. 

If you have any questions for Guido and Patrizia, we’ll have a Q&A at the end of this interview!

So first, let me tell you about GIO Gelati. 

It stands for Gelato Italiano Originale, and it’s pronounced “Joe”–but it’s okay if you call it “gio.” GIO Gelati is a local business that was founded in San Francisco in 2018 to combine authentic Italian gelato traditions with the best, healthiest and freshest Californian ingredients. 

GIO Gelati opened its first shop in San Francisco in 2018 (1998 Union street @ Buchanan), and in 2019 it opened a second location in San Ramon City Center. Their shops are currently open for pickup and delivery and they have just launched a brand-new online membership program called “GIO Club”, the first of its kind, which I am excited for us to talk about more in a few minutes! 

This is something I love about this company–their roots are in Italian traditions and the artisanal craft of making gelato, but with their location in California, they not only integrate local and high-quality ingredients and create new flavors, but they’re innovating this new GIO Club program as well, which we’re excited to be presenting to you today!

Marcia: Guido, what inspired you to open GIO here in SF?

Guido: I have a corporate background, and between Disney and other jobs I had before, I found myself coming to the bay area on business very often and I quickly fell in love with SF. I have always been a food aficionado and, being Italian, I have always had a great passion for gelato. As I discovered the city more and more, I noticed there weren’t many authentic Italian-style gelato shops around. Living in Italy, I grew up walking around the city eating gelato whenever a ray of sunshine came out and this has alway been something I greatly missed whenever I was abroad. This was the motivation to open, then I started to talk about it with Patrizia, whom I knew as one of the best gelato chefs in Italy, and when she said that she would have been ready to join the adventure, I had no more doubts.

Marcia: Patrizia, How do you assess gelato? What goes into making the best gelato?

Patrizia: There are three important characteristics that I always say define our product: smell, color and taste. We pride ourselves on only using natural and fresh ingredients in order to respect and appreciate what the planet gives us. The selection of raw material is extremely important as we don’t add any food coloring or fats such as butter. This enables us to create a product that stays true to the main ingredient’s attributes and give the client the best experience both in taste and health. 

Marcia: Which are the characteristics of GIO’s gelato? What makes it superior?

Patrizia: Our gelato, as I said before, is made with fresh ingredients, so our flavors change seasonally. The fruit flavors are the ones that change the most, as we buy our fruit weekly from local farmer’s markets and farms, so our production depends upon what’s in season. We also vary our milk-based flavors by season in order to always have something new in store as well as adapting our flavors to the temperature and weather. As an example, we can take Salted Caramel which is a winter flavor and was recently replaced by our new recipe of Lemon Crema, which, being lighter, is easier to pair with fruit flavors. We also make everything by hand, so it truly has the artisan touch.

Moreover, what distinguishes us from the competition is our ability to use water as a base for certain flavors, making all our fruit flavors vegan, as well as working with milk alternatives such as oatmilk to create many additional vegan flavors to cater to everyone’s dietary needs and preferences. We want everyone to be able to enjoy our gelato.

Marcia: Guido, we’re just finishing our fourth month of staying at home during the pandemic. It has been an extremely tough period for food businesses. What have you learned from these pandemic times?

Guido: When the lockdown began, we saw a general atmosphere of distress. We have always tried to create joy around us through our work and, although we were stressed by the situation too, wanted to keep bringing some happiness to people, even more so during these challenging times. It’s what inspired us to donate our gelato to first responders and people in need. We started bringing our gelato to the nurses and doctors of the San Francisco Memorial hospital and supporting old italian immigrants with Italian Community Services, mainly in North Beach.

Furthermore, we wanted to help the community in their efforts of staying at home to beat the pandemic and came up with the idea of creating “GIO Club”. This was through trial and error as it was born out of an emergency situation and our clients’ demand to get delivery (not everyone is equipped to deliver gelato like we are), but we are now ready to launch this initiative throughout the bay area. 

Marcia: Guido, what is and how does GIO Club work?

Guido: GIO Club is a membership program so our customers can choose their favorite gelato flavors and have them delivered on a schedule and frequency that works best for them. We’re trying to bring the store to life in their home, even if you live far away.  with this new website, we will reach a broader area, offer a great selection of flavors and more options for our customers. Freedom and flexibility are key parts of the GIO experience in the shops, along with the quality of the product, and we made sure to recreate the same experience online.

We also offer complementary products, like Italian coffee and Sicilian jams, that you can find in our shops, which members can buy and have delivered with their gelato. The product is delivered with our GIO refrigerated truck, keeping our freshly made gelato  at extremely low temperatures. We deliver it in eco-friendly packaging.

Our members will be able to create lovely joyful moments at home. A cup of gelato is a perfect reason to take a break when working from home or when relaxing in the backyard with your family or friends.

M: How much does GIO Club cost? How many flavors can consumers order?

Guido: GIO Solo delivers three pints of gelato every two or four weeks starting at $42 with a one-time set up fee of $11.95. You can choose a different flavor per pint. You can change the flavors for every shipment. 

The GIO Gusto option gives you five mezzo containers (21 ounces each) of gelato every two to four weeks starting at $79, with no setup fee. If you commit to three shipments then Gio will cover your shipping. Otherwise shipping is $5.

Marcia: Is it a big change from a company standpoint?

G: Sure! We are a small business. We started with the traditional gelateria model and now we are ready to bridge the conventional retail style with a digital experience. We want to offer the same experience to our clients, while quickly adapting to evolving social and consumer behaviors. These changes are essential for us to stay in business during the current times but especially to grow while keeping a close relationship with our customers.

Marcia: Patrizia, are the GIO Club members going to have the same choices of flavors as at the store?

Patrizia: Of course! The online list of flavors for GIO Club changes accordingly, and are exactly the same as what a customer entering our shops will experience, we make an effort to add new ones online as soon as we start making them in-shop. The GIO Club and GIO Gelati shop experiences are as similar as they can be.

Marcia: Patrizia, it’s summertime! What are some of your favorite flavors available in GIO Club right now?

Patrizia: California is such a blessed State! The colors of the Summer are so strong, which reflects on the color of the fruits and, therefore, on the color of Gio Gelati: we like to think that we’re sending you a ray of sunshine when you receive GIO Club at home. Some of my favorites right now are peach, apricot and strawberry, all of which are vegan, and made with only water, fresh fruit, and a little sugar. It’s like eating a piece of summer!

Marcia: Guido your shops are open right now?

Guido: Yes, both Union Street and SR are open for Pick-Up and Delivery, so in addition to the possibility to become a member of GIO Club,  you can also come visit us at the store. We love to have people come in, of course, respecting the appropriate safety rules, and share a smile, from under our masks … 

Marcia: We are very excited for the launch of the new GIO Club and wish you the very best with the launch. Everyone, you can visit to learn more about the GIO Club and sign up. Thank you for telling your friends and fellow gelato lovers about it! And a membership in GIO Club is a great gift for friends and family for anyone you can’t see in person right now. Let me tell you, getting a gelato delivery at home is a magical thing. 

As a thanks to everyone who joined us for this presentation, be sure to check your email for a special coupon for the Gio Club that we are emailing you today!

GIO Gelati Event Participants

Marcia Gagliardi –, Moderator

Marcia Gagliardi is a San Francisco–based culinary personality and writer, well-known for her groundbreaking 14-year-old tablehopper e-column, an established insider resource for the latest SF Bay Area restaurant and bar news, events, and more. Her column (and hunger-inducing @tablehopper on Instagram) are avidly read by a loyal following of both consumers and the F&B industry. As a freelance food writer, she has written for countless publications and guidebooks, including the Louis Vuitton City Guide 2017: San Francisco and 2013, Travel + Leisure, and Condé Nast Traveler. She has had numerous television and radio appearances (including her own weekly radio spot), and is known for her memorable events featuring many top-tier clients, including Louis Roederer Champagne, Campari America, and Rémy Cointreau.

Guido Mastropaolo, GIO Gelati – CEO

With a strategic planning and business development background and innovator in the media business, Guido has led a number of high-ranking executive positions at Disney (VP Worldwide), La Repubblica, Mondadori, and De Agostini (Managing Director France) in Europe and around the world. An entrepreneur with experience with several startups (primarily in the digital business realm), Guido is committed to the adventure of taking his passion for the best gelato and helping to elevate it in a country he loves: the United States.

Patrizia Pasqualetti, GIO Gelati – Gelato Chef

Patrizia is a pastry chef specializing in gelato. She comes from a long family tradition of artisanal gelato makers in Orvieto, Italy. Patrizia has shared her experience and knowledge with the Department of Nutritional Science in Milan to support research and experimentation in the gelato field. Her love for original gelato has taken her from the production lab to the Italian national TV and radio. Patrizia has also been involved in food trade shows with the Slow Food Movement to promote the Italian tradition of gelato making.

Is Gelato Good For Your Skin?

GIO Gelati featured by Shelley Skin Care

Our brilliant friend Shelley Costantini, the owner of Shelley Skin Care, talks with Guido from GIO Gelati to learn about Italian Gelato while enjoying a few scoops of our fabulous passionfruit gelato. 

Is Gelato Good For Your Skin? Let’s Eat with an Italian Gelataio!

Shelley Costantini

Over the past 30 years, Shelley has been at the forefront of innovation in the beauty business. She develops the Shelley Skin Care brand as well as tests other beauty products with a focus on solving skin problems. She provides reviews and information on cruelty-free, vegan and vegetarian beauty brands, medical procedures and natural alternatives designed to keep skin clear, healthy and ageless.

Shelley navigates the world of skin care and brings the results to her customers through InstagramYouTube and The Freckle Blog.

The Wall Street Journal Talks About GIO Gelati

Thank you to Marc Vartabedian, a journalist from the WSJ, for writing about GIO Gelati and what we are doing to help the local hospital and Italian community during these difficult times.

Marc followed Patrizia Pasqualetti, GIO Gelati Chef, and Guido Mastropaolo, GIO Gelati CEO, to talk about what GIO Gelati is doing to help the local community. GIO Gelati is helping a local hospital and, in collaboration with the Italian Community Services in San Francisco, it is also supporting the local Italian community. We believe that bringing our delicious Italian gelato to people under stress, like doctors and nurses, or in need, is a way of helping them and a way to spread a bit of Italian happiness.

WSJ Article

As San Francisco’s Aging Italians Grieve From Afar, a Gelato Maker Drops By

Guido Mastropaolo delivers the frozen treat to immigrant residents who have watched at a distance as Covid-19 devastates their homeland

May 2, 2020 1000 am ET
By Marc Vartabedian | Photographs by Brian L. Frank for The Wall Street Journal

SAN FRANCISCO—The normally bustling Marina district here is quiet, but Guido Mastropaolo’s gelato shop was buzzing on a recent morning. His head gelato maker packed kilos of colorful flavors into 10 containers, and Mr. Mastropaolo rolled his eyes at his teenage daughter, who, at 10:30 a.m., had already gotten into the frozen treat.
He is on a mission to cheer up a group that is suffering differently from many others during the coronavirus pandemic: San Francisco’s aging Italians.

For these “old generation” immigrants—many of whom live alone, speak little English and have helplessly watched deaths from Covid-19 in their homeland soar above 25,000—free gelato can provide some solace.
“In Italy we have two antidepressants: espresso and gelato,” says the 59-year-old Mr.
Mastropaolo, who opened Gio Gelati 2½ years ago.

Guido Mastropaolo, owner of GIO Gelati in San Francisco, says, ‘In Italy we have two antidepressants: espresso and gelato.’
Guido Mastropaolo, owner of GIO Gelati in San Francisco, says, ‘In Italy we have two antidepressants: espresso and gelato.’

While many of these Italians arrived half a century ago, bonds to the motherland linger. Loved ones in northern Italy, the country’s hardest-hit region and where a significant portion of San Francisco’s Italians trace their roots, are now surrounded by death.
“Everyone here has a story,” Mr. Mastropaolo says.

The Italian Community Services here, which has funded and helped organize the deliveries, has distributed more than 1,000 of its own care packages filled with reminders of the old country: pistachio cream from Sicily, chocolate from Umbria, De Cecco pasta from Abruzzo.

“They don’t forget [Italy] easily,” says Executive Director Pietro Bonanno. “It’s important to console the community, especially those who’ve not found great success here.”
While far from the size and concentration of New York or New Jersey’s Italian enclaves, San Francisco’s Little Italy emerged as a main Italian hub west of the Mississippi. By the 1930s nearly 30,000 Italians had settled in several small neighborhoods, by far the city’s largest immigrant community, according to U.S. Census data and historical records.

Teresa Mastropaolo delivered free gelato from GIO Gelati to homebound residents in San Francisco.
Teresa Mastropaolo delivered free gelato to homebound residents in San Francisco.

Generations of these families are buried at the Italian Cemetery just outside the city, and on rare occasions remains are flown in from Italy to rest alongside them.

On the delivery route last week, Mr. Mastropaolo’s daughter Teresa, 19, drives mostly through North Beach, the city’s remaining Italian stronghold. Double-checking a sheet of addresses, she leaves the shop’s refrigerated van idling and walks up a steep hill in search of a recipient.
A second-story window opens from a pink building and Maria Magno, 80, calls out to claim the dessert. She lowers a wicker basket tied to a string and instructs Ms. Mastropaolo to put her vanilla gelato inside.
“Everyone is very scared,” Ms. Magno says in Italian from her window sill while pulling up the basket. So far, family in Turin and Milan are OK, she adds.

In addition to business deliveries, GIO Gelati has also started dropping off gelato to a local hospital’s emergency staff.
In addition to business deliveries, GIO Gelati has also started dropping off gelato to a local hospital’s emergency staff.

Several blocks away, Ms. Mastropaolo asks around at a low-income, single-room-occupancy building for someone expecting gelato. Conte Vincenzo, who immigrated to San Francisco in the 1960s and speaks mostly Italian, emerges to claim it.
Mr. Vincenzo banters with his friend Antonio Francavilla, who says it’s a time of collective grieving in the neighborhood.
“When I arrived in my ’65 Impala in the ’70s, fishermen at the wharf spoke only Sicilian,” Mr. Francavilla says. “It was like I was in my own country. This situation is hard.”
Bells toll at the nearby Saints Peter and Paul Church, an old Italian Catholic parish run by an order that originated in northern Italy, near the worst of the outbreak. At the church priests are live-streaming Masses daily while at least one mourns the death of fellow priest Giuseppe Ghiggini, who was killed by Covid-19 near Brescia.
Death in the homeland has touched Mr. Mastropaolo, too. His close friend died from Covid-19 in Rome last month, and frequent calls to his family in Pesaro, a small town on the Adriatic Sea, often reveal more cases.

GIO Gelati serves a community of Italian immigrants where many residents have family ties in northern Italy, an especially hard-hit region in the country’s outbreak.
GIO Gelati serves a community of Italian immigrants where many residents have family ties in northern Italy, an especially hard-hit region in the country’s outbreak.

“Sometimes you don’t want to check,” Mr. Mastropaolo says, for fear of more bad news.

While the number of new cases in Italy is slowly decreasing, the death toll continues to climb. Mr. Bonanno delivered a fresh round of care packages this past week. Mr. Mastropaolo, in addition to business deliveries, has started dropping off gelato to a local hospital’s emergency staff; last month he said he delivered so much gelato that he pulled his Achilles tendon.

Selling gelato, which contains less cream and is less fluffy than ice cream, is a second act for Mr. Mastropaolo. Previously he spent 20 years with Walt Disney Co., publishing print adaptations of such titles as “Toy Story.”

“Gelato transmits the same happiness,” Mr. Mastropaolo says. “The situation is very bad in Italy; I felt helpless, emotionally attached. Gelato I hope can help a bit.”