Much has been written about 2020, and what a tragedy it was. And it was nothing short of a tragedy! Small entrepreneurs like us were wiped out, and many, sadly, lost more than ‘just’ their businesses. So tragedy is an apt word to describe 2020. So far we have managed to pull through, and Christmas proved that there is still a market for our treats out there. We sent orders far and wide, to every region of the UK. The only part of the country we are yet to bedazzle with our cakes is the Isle of Man, but it
When The Gold Rush launched in 2019, we thought we would become a household name within months, as purveyors of fine foods to the discerning gentry. I mean, we were all set for a royal warrant! It turned out, however, that the road was a bit er… rockier than envisaged. From humble beginnings in markets across London, we started a slow ascent, and reached a point where we had some brand recognition, a few regulars, and a bit of presence in the media. Our social media profile increased, and we even started receiving invitations to some events. That was nice.Then
This week, after a short break in the North of England, we reminisce about some locations for good food in Portugal. Not so much for the quality of their desserts, but because they have great food, not least seafood and fish. Coincidentally, they all have good desserts too, obviously, but that is not why we go there in the first place. We could mention many more locations, from north to south, but these are special to us, and all worth a visit when passing by. Our three recommendations are all in central/northern Portugal; we will offer some more recommendations for
So this week the Gold Rush tried to make his absolute favourite pudding in the world: Encharcada. The name is a bit unusual, because it means simply ‘wet’ in the female form. We are not sure if the name refers to the fact that it is a sweet that should always be a little syrupy, hence the wet, or soaked, soggy appearance, but it stands to reason that it does. It is a common dessert in the South, particularly around Évora. And when it is good, it is divine.Well, let’s just say that our Encharcada (pictured) was more on the
Some of our readers have asked for advice as to where to go in Portugal for good-quality pastries and sweets. So we thought that now that the holiday season has started, and coronavirus notwithstanding, we should share some of our favourite locations. Every Portuguese town or village has at least one or two really good locations for sweets. It might be a bakery, a café, a tea house or sometimes a kiosk, but they are there to be found. A good tip is to look for grandmothers: the higher the ratio of grandmothers to staff, the better the place is
With such a rich variety of confectionery all over the country, Portugal’s bakers and amateur (in name if not in skill) pastry chefs must have struggled to come up with relevant names for their creations over the centuries. But armed with as much esprit as techical skill, they bequeathed us some deliciously named puddings and sweets, ranging from the purely descriptive to the simply cryptic or downright funny. Here we describe but a few. Let’s start with those that just reflect their geographical origin: Pastéis de Belém – from the eponymous neighbourhood in Lisbon, better known as Pastéis de Nata
Much has been said about the traditions of Portuguese confectionery, the pinnacles of which were reached in convents up and down the country. But less has been written about the people who invented those wonders, the women who over the centuries toiled in the kitchen mixing egg and almond and sugar in myriad combinations.Well, as elsewhere in Europe, Portuguese convents were full of the daughters of the aristocracy, the unmarried surplus women whose fate was to whither away behind closed doors in a routine of prayer, self-efacement and labour. Or was it?Er… no, not really. Examples abound of nuns who
Coming from central Portugal, the Gold Rush always found the Algarve a remote, faraway, exotic location. Travelling there recently there to look for products and suppliers, a drive through the mountains revealed a few hidden gems, far away – in feeling if not in distance – from the busy tourist beaches. Because of its unusal location, not far from the Mediterranean but not quite exposed to the Atlantic, the Algarve has a particular climate and culture which has produced some confectionery quite unlike anything else in country. Where else does one find carob cake, or fig and chocolate ‘cheese’? Today,
The town of Elvas, a jewel in the glorious region of the Alentejo, is a gorgeous garrison town, forever within sight of Spain, boasting some spectacular fortifications and sweeping views over the plains. Which was kind of convenient when Spain tried to invade.Summers are on the torrid side of hot, which helps explain why this very fertile region produces some exquisite, juicy, rich fruit. And so much of it. However, there aren’t a lot of people around, which creates a conundrum: should more people be imported, or should the fruit be exported?Several Portuguese kings tried (and failed) to populate the
The use of pulses in confectionery isn’t as common along the Mediterranean as it is in Portugal and… the Far East. The Gold Rush has received approving comments from visitors from China, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan (and I am sure there are others) who reminisce about traditional sweets from their childhood when they try ours. Whether that tradition started in Portugal or in Asia, Portuguese traders must have been involved, as they were responsible for so much more cultural and gastronomic exchange, from the 16th century onwards, precisely with locations where beans are used in confectionery too. We can’t imagine
When the Gold Rush decided to launch a brand of Portuguese confectionery in the UK, the name of the brand was of course one of the first questions to arise. We took inspiration from the colour of Portuguese sweets, which, because of all the egg yolk they contain, are invariably yellow. Sometimes orange. Golden, even. But never dull. So we thought we should make this our own make-believe Gold Rush, our little Eldorado of the suburbs, trading in bite-sized nuggets, and the name caught on. Much has been said and written about the use of eggs, mainly the yolk, in
Hello, greetings from lockdown (still). Portuguese confectionery comes in many forms, as any visit to Portugal will prove within the first few minutes – The Gold Rush can usually be seen shortly after landing in Porto at the grubby bar in the arrivals area, where they have some not-too-bad pastries (!). In our quest to search for superb confectionery, we have come across some incredible things, and today we will discuss why we can’t have some of them. In other posts in the future we will talk about the ones we do have. I will start with those that are
Welcome to the first post in The Gold Rush blog! We have tried to make the most of the lockdown to think about how we did in our first year of operation and where we want to take this adventure. Well, we did better than expected, and we want to go global, obviously! When we started at the beginning of 2019, we thought that bringing amazing produce from Portugal would be enough, and that our products, because they are so amazing, would simply fly off the shelves. It didn’t quite work that way… The first surprise we had when we

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