The king of gelato in China is Italian (how could it not be) and hails from the Ligurian town of La Spezia.
Mattia Pinza moved to China in 2008 and, after a few years there, came up with the idea of importing gelato from Italy. “In China, most imports from Italy include wine, olive oil and other products, but I thought the market for gelato had lots of potential,” he says. “Even today, after two years since I began, I’m the only one importing gelato from Italy.”
Other entrepreneurs buy products from Italy to make gelato on the spot, but nobody imports it ready-made like Mattia does. His gelato is produced by the prestigious Menodiciotto company, based in Turin, which owns 56 cows raised according to organic practices. “Our gelato is made in Italy, with Italian milk and fruit, with Italian ingredients. We provide Chinese with an excellent product and they really appreciate it.”
Today Mattia and his business partners, Menodiciotto and a Chinese company, own seven gelaterie, called Pinto, which they opened in seven months. They aim to launch a franchise of 100 gelato parlors across China in two years.