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26 November 2021

Eva Tamarit: “The presence of women at ice cream congresses and competitions is minimal”

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Eva Tamarit, the owner of Ancora Helados, says that generally, women who decide to train to work as artisanal ice cream makers either have a family business or their own business.

After four years running an ice cream parlour in San Pedro del Pinatar in Murcia province, Eva Tamarit founded Ancora Helados (located in Ibi, Alicante province) in 1996, making ice cream, desserts and cakes for third parties in the area, especially in Benidorm. In addition, she is one of the members of the professional group 20 Bajo Cero and a member of the steering committee of the National Association of Artisan Ice Cream Makers (Anhcea).

1.- How has the role of women in ice cream making evolved in the last ten years?

Traditionally, the role of women in ice cream parlours was always serving customers behind the counter, as it was the job that required the least amount of strength, and the ice cream was made by men. In my case it has been the other way around, I create the ice creams in the back and my husband sells them.

Fortunately, we are seeing more and more women ice cream makers, either because they like the profession or because they are continuing the family tradition. Currently, most are academically trained in another area, and, in addition, they are preparing to run ice cream manufacturing shops, direct sales counters, manage the business and so on. 

2.- Do you think the same opportunities exist (salaries, positions of responsibility, recognition etc.) for women and men?

Today, yes, definitely. There is no discrimination in our sector, either in terms of salaries or in terms of the positions available, but the thing is there are still not many female ice cream makers. On the other hand, there is no problem finding good female professionals providing bar or table service in ice cream parlours.

Generally, when women decide to train and work as an artisanal ice cream maker, it's because they have a family business or their own business.

3.- Do you think there are enough women represented at ice cream congresses and events? What about in competitions? What do you think could be done to end women's invisibility?

There are still very few, women's presence at congresses and competitions is minimal.

For example, to make a comparison, since the Expert in Artisanal Ice Cream Making Course at the University of Alicante began in 2007, 39 women had completed the course by 2019, 20% of all students. Although the percentage is much lower than that of men, in the last edition, almost 50% of the students were women, which means that we are on the right track.  

I’d like to take this opportunity to appeal to all of the women out there in the sector who are capable to participate in competitions and championships. I’m sure they would do great things.

4.- What tips do you have for women wanting to go into this business?

I’d suggest that they study up on the necessary knowledge by doing a course on artisanal ice cream making at university, that they sign up for all the seminars that they can, and I’d suggest that they join the Association of Artisanal Ice Cream Makers (ANHCEA), which would give them access to many articles of interest to the sector and all kinds of practical training to complement the education acquired at university.

For women who work in a family business, I would say that in addition to learning the business through old recipes and the advice of relatives, they should reinforce this knowledge by learning modern techniques, the latest decorations, and so on.

In all of these ANHCEA courses, you will find colleagues from the sector who are willing to pass on their knowledge to the new generations. In the past, everything that was known about ice cream was secret and was only passed down from generation to generation. 

5.- Have you experienced any discrimination in your profession because you are a woman?

Luckily, I haven’t had that experience personally. I’ve been in the sector for more than 25 years and at first I did notice some strange looks from people when they saw a woman where they’d expect to see a man, but I've never been discriminated against. There are great professionals in my sector and above all great people who have helped me get to where I am today.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my ANHCEA teachers and great professionals, Félix Llinares, Pablo Galiana, Enrique Coloma and Mario Masiá, for teaching me ice cream recipes and processes, and above all for awakening my desire to research and innovate.