For Zakari Benkhadra, founder and director of the Salon, inviting Francisco to an essentially French event was natural, due to the excellence of the Brazilian: “I’ve known Francisco for ten years. We met when I was general director of the Escola Nacional Superior de Pâtisserie and he came to study at this school, where he stayed for three years. He loved it, became part of our family, found the best chefs in France at our school and formed a great relationship with them. So he traveled all over the country to learn the techniques and savoir faire of each region, of each chef”.
“Later, he returned to Brazil to found his own glacier chef school, the Escola do Sorvete. I had the honor and privilege of visiting your school twice and found it to be terrific. I was very proud that Francisco accomplished this in São Paulo. He has always been concerned with the natural, the organic, the sustainable, the local, so this partnership with the MST meets his ideal”, continues the director of the event, about his former pupil.
Love for ice cream and natural products
For Francisco, “it is an honor to be invited to the salon in Paris and to be able to tell a little of his story with national products”. The Ice Cream School, which trains 500 to 600 students a year, “demonstrates my love for ice cream and natural products”.
He says that the partnership with the MST came about when he had already founded the Escola do Sorvete and was a customer of the movement. “I already bought their products for a long time and the [João Pedro] Stédile was delighted with the School of Ice Cream. So we thought together: why not make a popular ice cream shop, an ice cream shop that comes from family farming, that has organic products, that is unique in the world? Because there is no such thing as an ice cream parlor with an ideology, ours will be the only one in the world, always treating rural people with the respect they deserve”.
For Benkhadra, “Francisco is someone who goes to the source to seek the best. And I think the fact that he highlights the good products of Brazil for an audience that is passionate about confectionery is extraordinary ”, she adds, without hiding her pride.
From the field to the freezer
Francisco, who studied Geography at USP before being an ice cream maker, has already worked with his art of making ice cream in countries such as Spain, France, Russia, Italy, El Salvador, Daguistan and Azerbaijan, tells his routine currently in Brazil.
“I teach face-to-face classes for six months a year and the other six months I teach online and spend my days in the different MST settlements, in the dairy, in the fruit production zones, all to create a unique product in the world. Gelado do Campo will be the first ice cream shop of a popular movement in the world: from the field to the freezer”, she says, confident.
Francisco, who returned to Brazil from France eight years ago, says he has plans to expand this project in partnership with the MST to the French capital.
“I came to the salon full of cupuaçu pulp, cajá, mango, etc. and already thinking about the possibility of opening a store in Paris in the medium, long term as well. I think it would be amazing for Paris to have a store with products from Brazilian family farming, with our chocolates, exotic pulps, together with milk from here”, adds the chef, who studied the art of ice cream in France and also in Italy.
Different Brazilian biomes represented
Francisco bets on his products with added value to make Parisians, used to the best in the universe of refined sweets, mouth watering. “The French are very fond of mangoes and passion fruit from Brazil, but I packed uvaia, cupuaçu, jabuticaba… For example, jabuticaba does not exist here. To explain, I show a photo, and people are surprised… jabuticaba is such a thing for us! And we have products from the different Brazilian biomes, in which the MST operates”.
In addition, Sant’Ana uses a biodegradable cup made from cassava. “I’ve been cassava” is the name of the cup, which is edible and, according to him, decomposes in three days if exposed to the environment. “It is a 100% Brazilian technology”, he celebrates.
Published in RFI
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