Daniel Pérez, who comes from a family that operates a dairy farm in Luarca (Asturias), discovered the world of ice cream rather by chance, on one of his trips to Italy. Since then he has not stopped training himself through books, magazines and alongside the well-known ice cream maker Carlos Arribas.
Passionate about the trade, he opened the Heladería El Asturiano in 2014 in his home town of Luarca, which has just over 4,000 inhabitants, where he uses local ingredients, mostly fruits that he grows in his own orchard. An establishment where customers are looking for flavour and authenticity.
1.- What are the advantages and disadvantages for an ice cream maker of working in a rural environment?
Working in a rural environment means that at any time of the day the neighbour comes in to ask after your mother and, while they're there, about the baby ...but as for buying anything, well, they’ll buy something - if you give it away, haha. For work and life, the rural environment is the best.
2.- What are the keys to being popular and attracting people from other nearby towns?
Being popular is not my intention. The only thing I want is to do my job well based on a set of principles (it is not the case that anything goes) and educate my son well.
3.- Does having an ice cream parlour in a less populated area mean you need to adjust costs and adapt to the tastes of a very specific clientèle? Or does it give you the freedom to be creative and experiment?
The expenses you have are up to you. In my case, for example, I recently opened a new workshop where I will undoubtedly be able to develop new products, but I always say that it is difficult to do the same and have it work out better. And my customers are not looking for extravagance, but flavour and authenticity.
4. Does being away from the city cause any problems when it comes to getting the supplies you need? Do you have to place larger orders or order in advance?
Placing orders for someone who is starting is a very difficult task. Time and experience are important, but working out the logistics is not an impediment to having any product at our fingertips.
5.- Do factors such as the weather influence the normal operation of the ice cream parlour?
Without a doubt, the weather determines sales in the ice cream parlour, but Asturias is a natural paradise. We have a fantastic climate where you can enjoy being outside 24 hours a day, although it is still "catastrophic" if one day in August it starts to rain and gets cold.
6.- What tips do you have for any colleagues who would like to set up shop in a town but haven’t done so yet?
Your town, especially if it is your place of origin and you know how to understand it, is the best place to live. When one comes from outside wanting to become the "saviour", the townspeople are not stupid, they know what they have, but it is true that traditionally townspeople have a harder time leaving their comfort zone and embarking on tasks, new jobs, etc.