Sometimes, you interview a woman and think, "She is my type of person." For me, this is Julia Hughes.
Case in point: she has a background as a marketer and journalist (me too), has a busy family life (same here), runs an artisan gelato van (I wish I did), and has recently launched a gin bar (which I’d happily reside in, given the choice). So interviewing Julia to find out more about her incredible story was a no-brainer.
Here’s what GRACE Collective member Julia Hughes had to tell us about her life, family and business. Get ready for a delicious, wild ride.
Family photos are by Kendall Marjanovic and Gelato/Bar Botanica images are by Jacs Powell.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
Husband Dan, daughter Dylan, 5 and baby boy Spike, 18-months, makes four of us. I find having two kids pretty full on. But thank my lucky stars we are all healthy, we get plenty of sunshine and water, and have lots of laughs thanks to Dan’s terrible singing and refusal to take most things seriously.
Now you need to share all the details on your amazing businesses …
Our first business baby is Mr Goaty Gelato – artisan all natural gelato and sorbet made from scratch by my very talented chef partner. We started out making all goat’s milk gelato (hence the name) but most of our product now is traditional dairy gelato and vegan sorbet with a few signature goat’s milk flavours. We have a couple of fun gelato bikes and a vintage ice cream truck that we hire out for weddings, parties and corporate events.
When we moved to the Coast a few years ago we also moved gelato production to a kitchen in a local gin distillery. It was one of those fateful moves, we found ourselves making gelato in a beautiful mud brick building surrounded by botanical gardens. We use as much as we can from the garden in our gelato – oranges, lemons, lavender, geranium, even fresh turmeric. Customers were always asking us where they could buy the gelato aside from at markets and events, and the space at Distillery Botanica is so magic it seemed a shame not to be making full use of it. So earlier this year we opened Bar Botanica. We sell our gelato, coffee, plus light meals and cakes, and soon we’ll be adding local wines and gin cocktails. It’s garden-to-plate dining. Dan makes incredible food based on what is growing locally and seasonally and our lovely customers can enjoy it all while sitting on our leafy terrace or on a picnic rug in the garden. It is a dream.