Local Heroes #70 - Bakery Travel with Leila Gato and “Torradas com Galão”

When we talk about Leila Gato, we must talk about food. The former cinematographer and senior copywriter is a food lover and her newest idea of making and filming interviews with several personalities while eating and drinking the typical Portuguese “torradas com galão” (simply translation of toasted bread and the subtle mixed drink of coffee and milk or coffee latte),. which gives the name to the project, has become an internet trend in Portugal.

At the end of the day it’s all about making friends with the old and new coffee and baker owners, without forgetting how important it is to keep the traditional bakery spirit alive.

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Do you consider yourself: a) bread lover b) coffee lover addicted b) butter addicted c) food lover d) all of the above? and why...
All of the above. Firstly a food lover, secondly a bread and butter addict and lastly a coffee lover. When I say that “food is love” is really something that comes from my heart and the blend of these three products makes me travel through time and down memory lane, when I ate breakfast in the morning with my parents before school. Nowadays, I can eat this at any hour of the day, really. I can be very happy if all I have to eat at home at night is a toast with butter and a large cup of black slow coffee.

From Cinema/Movie Theater world to Marketing to Blogger/ Interviewer .... How was the process of changing?
Change is something very natural for me. I accept it and embrace it as a necessary step to grow both personally and professionally. Cinema is a part of my life since I was a child but after I realized that my love for it should always be in a perfect place and not included in a working environment because I felt that I could do something more related to Brand Communication.  From digital content creator to social media manager and all the technology involved made me realize that what really motivates me - and I guess it always will - is people. That’s why I try to always have a personal touch in every content I create for my blog and Instagram account. Taking with and writing about people having food as a link is what I do today, let’s see what the future holds.

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From Pinheiro de Loures to Lisbon - do you consider being a daughter of the urban city? What's the difference between the traditional, family type of breakfast to the one of the modern-fast lifestyle?
I will always be a girl from a small village dazzled with the big city.  Although Pinheiro de Loures is not that far from Lisboa, it’s a place with few to offer. So when I started going to Lisbon everyday to College, I was overwhelmed with all the things I discovered everyday in my city trips. Today, I see Lisbon as my own city but I love the feeling that I have a safe place to comeback to and a place where all my childhood memories come back to life. Breakfast was a big thing in my family.

I had two major traditions, having breakfast at home and repeating all the toasts with butter I wanted with my brother and sister while we watched the cartoons on TV. The other one was going to the nearby coffee shops and no matter how tempting the smell of fresh baked cakes were, I always preferred bread with butter and a coffee latte (galão). I believe that in Lisbon things were not that different, I remember eating the same kind of “torradas com galão” over there when we needed to go to the city for any reason. Different places and different people but identical traditions!


Torradas com galão – The story behind the idea. What was the creative process and the ignition that made you start this project?
Torradas com Galão (toast with butter and a big caffe latte) is kind of a classic breakfast in Portugal. Some of my first and beautiful memories as a child is to eat it with my parents in the cafes and traditional bakeries near our little house. Today, every time I eat one of those it’s like tasting my childhood, do you know the feeling? So, for me the link with the project was made very easily. The original idea was to do a roadmap of the best “torradas com galão” in the city explaining why they were worth paying for and telling a little about the story of that cake and pastry shop while talking with someone. Then it’s up to the guest and where he wants to go in the conversation. It started like that, I’m preparing to do the 3rd episode, let’s see where it goes next!

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Traditional bakeries or modern blogger-ish coffee shops? What do you think can be improved so that the old bakers don't lose their identity in place of the new entrepreneurs, but can also modernize their look? 
The competition is vigorous. Nowadays for each 100 new coffee shops that open, 101 closes down and there’s always something new to find and explore. I prefer traditional places because when I sit there to enjoy my cup of coffee I relate to my childhood, but I think there’s always some space to improve and provide a good service.

If the products like the bread, the butter and the flour and milk used in served are of superlative quality, you don’t have to do much more because people will come back for sure. Social media and the opinion of bloggers and influencers help to disseminate the message, but the food must be good. I try to share on my digital platforms content restaurants, coffee shops and people who work hard to have a business and if I start to have a voice and a small community that enjoys good food let’s share the love and the knowledge about it.

The perfect bread? The perfect bakery? Can you name your favorite place in Lisbon?
Luckily nowadays there are plenty places where we can find quality bread in Lisbon. Places like Terrapão, Isco and Gleba do an excellent job in bringing some of the best bread in the city to people. For me bread as to have a crunchy and caramelized crust and a more acidic flavor. I’m also a lover of artisanal bread from Lab (A Padaria Portuguesa) that is doing a great job in taking good bread to its Customers in an affordable way (which is essential nowadays). They are always improving and launching different breads in the market. Heaven for a Bread addict as me!

Do you consider creating in the future a bakery guide including the old resistant ones, tell their stories as at the same time as you introduce new spots and people in it? 
Yes, it’s something I have in my pipeline of dreams/challenges to come true. Something that involves storytelling and illustration or some kind of art! There are so many stories to tell about, couples that work together, businesses that someone inherit from a mother or a father, old places that are repaired to open its doors with a modern look. It’s just a matter of sparing some time and start talking with them, content will always be king. We just have to find its queen – the right context – to start making things happen. If we find a way to tell a good story everyone will want to know and share it. I’m a true believer in this one!

Thank you Leila for your time! If you want to know more, please visit:
https://leilagato.com/
https://leilagato.com/category/torradas-com-galao/
https://www.instagram.com/leilagato/

All imagery & interview to the courtesy of Lisbon captain Claudia Silva.