Júlia´s jams

The best ingredients and traditional recipes make the jams from Doces da Julinha absolutely unforgettable. They´re also the perfect gift

They say that every cloud has a silver lining. This could well apply to the story of Júlia Inácio: born and bred in Monchique, she worked in the hotel industry on the Algarve coast, and later in the Alentejo, until some years ago. However, the ill-fated financial

crisis led to sackings everywhere, and Júlia was one of the victims. Back in Monchique, she thought about what she could do, but the outlook was bleak. One day, her brother, who was also unemployed, joked that they could make marmalade. “It was just a joke, but I thought ‘why not?’” Half-jokingly, Júlia answered that she was going to sell marmalade on the side of the road. And that’s how the hotel world lost an employee and the gourmet world gained an admirable jam producer. That was at the beginning of 2010.

Since then, Júlia founded a small business called Doces da Julinha, whose catalogue comprises delicious jams made from selected fruits – each jam is made up of 60% fruit.

When it comes to the contents, there is no limit to the imagination. Anything that can be picked in Monchique is blended in: oranges with dried figs or carobs, pumpkin with almonds, quince with walnuts, melon with strawberries…

Other flavours include wild blackberry, kiwi, plum and fig. Of course, one of the flavours had to be the Monchique speciality of medronho (arbutus berry), as well as tomato jam, which is one of the most traditional jams in Portugal. Some jars, such as the ‘Lovers’ Jam’, have a bit of piri-piri added too, meaning there is something for all tastes. All the jams are made following old family recipes, just how Júlia’s Tel: 966 173 015 | [email protected] mother and grandmother used to make them. There is no such thing as secret ingredients; rather the know-how begins right at the picking – Júlia only picks the ripest fruit. Besides

sugar, fruit and water, one also needs patience and passion for what one does. “When we do something with love, the result is much better. That’s why when I’m in a bad mood or I quite simply don’t feel like it, I don’t touch anything,” smiles Júlia, who ensures that food additives, such as preservatives and colourings, can’t be found in her kitchen. The result is a range of refined and delicious jams, packaged with love and which bring colour to the breakfast table for a sunny start to the day.

The journey has not been easy: European Union directives and regulations imposed by the Portuguese food safety authority ASAE have put plenty of obstacles in her way. “Without the support of the local Câmara, I would have given up a long time ago,” admits the producer, who recalls that, when she started, “anyone could sell their homemade goods at fairs and markets”. Then came the first regulations that led production costs to rise: she had to find a separate location for production, licences, abide by labelling

requirements and much more. Without the local council, Júlia would never have beaten the bureaucracy.

Doces da Julinha can be found at Loja do Medronho in Monchique’s main square, as well as at Loja das Tradições, or at Delicious Sabores (Silves) and Da Nossa Terra (Alvor).

Tel: 966 173 015 | [email protected]
Text & Photo: Anabela Gaspar

Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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