Sort-of Secret: Geladona’s freezies, artisanal ice treats in fun Brazilian flavours like açai, passion fruit, guava and avocado
The sort-of secret: Geladona, an artisanal freezie company with a focus on Brazilian flavours
You may have heard of it if: You’ve seen their products on the shelves of midtown’s Padaria Toronto or Rui Gomes, a market near the Stockyards
But you probably haven’t tried it because: This two-woman operation hand-makes all freezies in limited quantities
For those who grew up on freezies that taste inexplicably like “red” or “blue” and not much else, tasting a mango freezie from Geladona will be something of a revelation. For one thing, it actually tastes like mango. But not just any mango: the best, juiciest mango you’ve ever had, conveniently blended and frozen for the most refreshing of treats on sweltering summer days.
Every flavour from Geladona’s wide range—passion fruit, açaí, red currant and strawberry, to name a few—tastes like the best version of the fruit it’s made of. And it’s no wonder, given that this brand uses only fresh, whole fruit or frozen pulp blended with water, sugarcane and milk. Besides fruity freezies, Geladona makes indulgent creamy varieties with a blend of condensed milk, regular milk and cream, as well as “special” ones that are jazzed up with mix-ins, like chopped fruit or chocolate drizzle.
“Freezies are very traditional in Brazil,” says Mariana Palhares, founder and co-owner. “They’re loved by Brazilians of any age or class.” In São Paulo, they’re called gelinho, sacolé in Rio de Janeiro, and din din in Minas Gerais. (“Geladona” roughly translates to “big chill”.) Ingredients and flavours often highlight the country’s incredible variety of fruit, and they come wrapped in thin plastic complete with a little topknot you’re meant to break with your teeth (it’s easy, don’t worry).
Before the pandemic, Palhares worked as a percussionist and event organizer. She rented venues and threw parties for Toronto’s Brazilian community, and held music workshops at local schools. When the pandemic started, that work dried up. In May of last year, she started selling Brazilian-style freezies to Padaria Toronto, a coffee shop near Davisville. Demand quickly ramped up, so she enlisted her partner, Florenca Bortolacci, to help fulfill it.
“When people taste the red currant, they say it feels like home,” says Palhares. Adapting Brazilian flavours to freezie form is a focal point for the brand. Case in point: the creamy, just-sweet-enough cheese and guava flavour, inspired by the snack of guava and fresh cheese, popular in Brazil. The limited-edition brigadeiro flavour—a collaboration with local dessert brand Sweet Dreams—is a take on one of Brazil’s chocolate sprinkle–covered confections. It’s a rich, creamy base layered with fudgy brigadeiro and a crunchy chocolate drizzle. Deeply chocolatey and refreshing at the same time, it’s like the delicious lovechild of a Fudgsicle and a piece of chocolate cake.
“Açaí has a very earthy taste, so in Brazil, we blend it with something creamy, like bananas, and eat it with guarana syrup, condensed milk and sliced fruit,” says Palharas. The açai freezie, likewise blended with banana, guarana and condensed milk, is heavenly delicious and refreshing.
Catch Geladona’s custom-painted bike cart (so like Dickie Dee but better) at one of their pop-ups, announced periodically on their socials. And look out for new flavours—we got the scoop on a strawberry-chocolate variety just in time for June, which is when Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Brazil.
In the not-so-distant future, we may see a standalone shop specializing in freezies and other Brazilian treats (brigadeiro on the side of a brigadeiro freezie, anyone?). For now, you can find their products at Padaria, Rui Gomes, brazilianmarket.ca, or for delivery via their Instagram page (minimum order of 10 freezies).