João Freitas


Back in nursery and kindergarten, teachers usually gave specific desserts that were distributed in mass for kindergartens in Portugal. These ranged from fruit and cookies to ice cream and custard. As expected, kids booed when it was fruit and screamed when it was either ice cream or custard.

Although ice cream being a delicious dessert, the custard that was served to us was the meal that stood out from everything. It’s hard to explain the feeling of tasting it, but it sure was a delicious.

picture of a product labeled with 'venda proibida' to warn that it should be used for distribution purposes

Mass distributed products in kindergartens were labeled with “Venda Proibida”

Moving forward in life, that nostalgic feeling of the custard always hit hard and I couldn’t taste it anymore. As it was distributed in mass, such specific products were labeled as forbidden to commercialize in other places than kindergartens. So by law, it was impossible to reunite with such feeling again. But the desire to taste it again always stood, with random thoughts about it throughout the years…

Here’s where everything changed. While talking to a friend, I decided to bring the quest for the long lost custard to the table. After explaining the story behind it and that everyone loved it, she said that maybe it wasn’t lost at all. Her mom used to bring such custards back home from a friend. The fact that it was forbidden by law to acquire such products for personal use and that people had it, gave me hope that maybe it was possible to satisfy a kids dream.

picture of a dog with a detective hat and magnifying glass next to Google logo

Google is your best friend for searching/finding, literally, anything.

I put the detective hat and went on a Google strike for finding all possible information that led to such product. I queried all kind of keywords: “venda proibida”, “atl”, “leite creme”, “criança”; but no direct search results popped up. These two Reddit posts [1],[2] suggested that a company called “Reny Picot” used to distribute these custards. I searched for the company name and a very nostalgic feeling hit me up when I saw the company logo: it was the same logo that was on the custard boxes! It had to be it, I had to find if they were selling any custard and where I could buy it. Turns out they were selling these right under my nose, on Froiz, a supermarket that I go, a lot.

picture of Natillas, the spanish custard distributed by Reny Picot

Natillas, the spanish custard that may have been served in kindergartens.

Fast-foward a few days and I bought the so called “Natillas”: a spanish custard distributed by Reny Picot. When I arrived home, it was a terrifying situation that I stumbled upon. “Is this really it? Do I really want to relive this feeling I had so many years ago?”, I asked myself. I figured it out that I had nothing to lose, so I tried it…

It was one those feelings where you instantly smile. It’s hard to describe it! It’s like you have finally reunited with some really old friend you hadn’t remind of in years. This was it, it was the custard that was given in the kindergarten. I was in shock to say the least, and so were my friends that went to kindergarten with me.

This whole experience was insane and I still can’t believe it. It makes me wonder of how many things are thought as lost, but in reality, aren’t.


[1] “Procuro aquele leite creme de venda proibida que se dava nos atls “, /r/portugal (Reddit)

[2] “Por favor lembrem-me a quem costumam dar isto, sff “/r/portugal (Reddit)