We speak to Swoon about Bristol in the Sky and all things sweet
Can you tell us a little bit about Swoon?
Swoon is a gelato bar. We make all our gelato on-site and the difference between gelato and ice cream, is gelato (the good news it), has less fat in it. So that’s happy days! All our products are made with real fruit so that’s what gives the flavour its intensity. Gelato is churned at a very, very slow pace, and that’s also what makes it creamier.
Swoon was started by my brother, who is the brainchild really. He wanted to start a gelato business and I originally said ‘No, definitely not!”. I’d just kind of given up work and I was having a lovely life walking my dog and doing Italian, and he said ‘oh go on”. Our Grandfather used to have a gelato factory, so it’s in our blood to a point. He found a niche in the market and he wanted to source some really good gelato and couldn’t, plus the fact that he was married with two young children, and I think it was a good excuse for him to go to Bologna for a couple of months to learn how to make gelato and (laughs) to get away from sleepless nights. So he went off to Bologna on the Carpigiani course. While he was there he had a tutor called Louisa and he said that was opening a gelateria in the UK and Louisa has been with us from the start.
We’ve recently won four, three-star Great Taste awards, so we’re chuffed to bits. No other gelataria has four three-stars so we’re very happy and very proud of our team as well.
What do you like about being based in Bristol?
The vibe in Bristol is fantastic, the food scene is unbelievable but also the live music scene is great. I think the creative scene is great – I mean; I’ve got Icon Films just next door! We’ve been really, really welcomed.
The other thing from an operational point of view is the fact that it is a student town. Our demographic is 16 – 24, so lots of our customers are students. We had a very robust winter, busier than we thought we would, so our sales are steady throughout the year but obviously they peak in the summer time, so it’s useful to have that whole student network to draw from.
We’ve got a huge vegan following and we love them. Our previous manager was vegan so she was obviously very passionate about that, and a couple of our staff are vegan, so we’re very aware of the vegan market.
Swoon is a very emotional brand, hence the strapline ‘gelato to fall in love with’– we believed that if there is something fabulous, it’s even better if you have someone you love to share it with, be it your grandmother, grandchild, partner, whoever it is, if you can share things that you love with people that you love, it’s a double whammy.
What are you most looking forward to about Bristol in the Sky?
We’re really looking forward to all of it. We’re hoping to introduce more of the people of Bristol to Swoon, and to anyone who’s come from afar for the event.
Have you ever had a dining/cooking experience as unique as this?
No! Well, certainly, no I haven’t. Well – we had dinner once at the top of a big tower in Canada, one of those needles, those revolving restaurants. But you don’t feel like you’re hanging in the air like you will with this!
Can you tell me about the food you will be doing for the event?
We’re doing a savoury canapé which will be tomato and basil on crostini to start on the ground, together with a gelato Bellini which will be mango sorbet with Prosecco. Then we’ll go up into the sky and we’re doing the equivalent of an afternoon tea but with gelato, so we’ll have filled sandwiches, (we call them ‘Swoonwiches’), iced macaroons with gelato in, semifreddo cakes, gelato cocktails – we’re going to have the whole she-wa-wa going on!
Please note that this interview may be edited for length and clarity.