La Dolce Vita
Diniz and Machado turned their passion into business and introduce a new way to enjoy gelato in Portugal.
"Wouldn't it be nice if there were a gelateria here? It would be like paradise." That was the spark of the business idea for Diniz and Machado who, after having an overly sweet industrialised ice cream in Comporta, Portugal, decided to invest time and money on a journey to learn about gelato and create a brand that is about the community as much as it is about the quality of the product.
In this exclusive talk, they tell us about their passion for Comporta and their Gulato gelato.
WALK THE TALK MAGAZINE - Gulato. What a fun name! Would you like to explain how you came up with it?
PEDRO MACHADO - We think it's fun too and it should be because Gelato is fun. Gulato mixes 'Gula' and 'Gelato'. In Portuguese 'gula' means gluttony, but there is a lighter connotation to it than in English. It's more of an indulgence, and we wanted to refer to Gelato to differentiate it from Ice Cream. Many people don't even know there's a diference.
WTTM -And What is the diference?
PM- Gelato has less cream and less sugar than ice cream – making it altogether a healthier dessert. It also has less air and it will solidify at higher temperatures than industrial ice-cream. This means Gelato is more intense, dense, and it's ought to be served at minus 12 degrees centigrade while the industrial product is ready to eat at minus 20. So when someone enjoys a Gelato their taste buds are less numb creating an explosion of aroma and flavours in their mouth. Gelato is an artisanal, quality product and Ice cream is industrial. Because of this, Gelato is usually fresher and better for the environment.
WTTM - How the idea to create an ice cream brand came about? Do you have experience in the field, or or was it leap, an opportunity to live a dream? PM- Like most things involving Gelato it started with pleasure. We both moved from London to Comporta last year seeking a quieter pace closer to nature, after years working in the Arts industry .We were so welcomed in the area, we felt like giving something back to the community. Once, after a day at the beach in Comporta, we found ourselves grabbing an overly-sweet industrial ice cream and thought 'wouldn't it be nice if there were a gelateria here? It would be like paradise..' So last year we rode our motorbikes from London to Lisbon - via Bosnia - and on the way we stopped in Bologna to do a course at the prestigious Carpigianni University Of Gelato. We have continued to study since and this summer we are opening Gulato Comporta. So yes, it has been a dream come true.
WTTM - How do you curate the flavours?
PM - That's the fun bit. We've always enjoyed eating gelato so there's a list of favourite flavours we have compiled over the years. Of course we have chocolate (we have a few variations but the dark fondant one is our personal favourite), strawberry (very refreshing, sorbet like) and cream (we use creme fraiche, to make it sharper). Then there are more adventurous flavours like Alentejo Acorn, Matcha, Black Sesame or Avocado and Lime. In the last month we've been doing tasting sessions in our laboratory, open to residents and travellers. We have listened to their suggestions and preferences and this helps a lot. We are also inspired by the region. Comporta is one of the few places in Portugal where Rice is cultivated so part of our vegan line uses rice flour for a 'creamier' texture.
Fresh produce to create Gulato High quality gelato
WTTM - Why Comporta, what is special about the place? PM- The most obvious thing is the geography. Comporta literally means 'sluice' and the village take its name from the sluice which controls the flow of water between the Sado River estuary and the marshy rice paddies that run down this part of the coast. In addition to the estuary and the rice paddies there is Tróia peninsula: a sandy stretch of land with miles of undeveloped beaches. So you have: estuary, rice paddies, dunes, sea, all surrounded by a pine forest where it's possible to spot wild boar if you are lucky. But, perhaps more importantly, the people here are generous, authentic, hard working, gentle and always have time for each other. We used to live in London which was an important period in our lives and we hope we'll always be Londoners. But Portugal is living a great moment, with a very positive outlook and great things are happening already.
Comporta beach Gulato Lab in Comporta, Portugal
WTTM - When and where can we expect we try some of the Gulato ice creams, this summer?
PM - We are a small company and we don't have a shop. We will sell our gelato using two tricycles which will be on the beach during the day and the two main villages in the area in the evening. This will allow us to be present at the local rural market days, which is a lot of fun. Being nimble also means that we make everything fresh and can vary flavours daily. We have our oficial opening on 1st June but if you follow our instagram page you will know when the next free tasting session will be.
For more info on Gulato visit their Instagram page or their site https://www.gulato.pt/
Pictures: Gonçalo Diniz©