TI 8 - Dezembro 2020
Cutting & Sewing


The priority is to protect the industry and the heritage
The factory, which in the year 2000 employed more than a thousand people, now has 40 employees
Evaristo Sampaio
“Took the company out of the river” building in the village a modern industrial unit
João Paulo Sampaio

Even though he was the guest, João Paulo Sampaio insisted in receiving T Jornal in the Casas do Côro complex, an exquisite environmental tourism enterprise he created with his wife, Carmen, taking advantage of a cluster of granite houses in the centre of the Historic Village of Marialva. An oasis of charm, class and good taste, which he now seeks to replicate in Pocinho, Douro, with the Casas da Linha Férrea.


span style="font-weight: 400;">No wonder, therefore, the demand from people everywhere, with the entrepreneurs having recently added the wine tourism component to the project. The wines, also of great quality and refinement, are sold in the store at Largo do Côro, where the comfortable blankets Lordelo, from the Têxteis Evaristo Sampaio brand – the other family business, now in its fourth generation –, are also a great success.

In times of pandemic and restrictions, we can clearly see the different enthusiasm with which João Paulo Sampaio addresses the two businesses. The textile company, which manufactures Papa blankets, a very tradition style of blankets, is one of the historical wool factories in Guarda. “Even today, we are a kind of the keepers of this product, which we have been doing continuously for 70 years, starting with my great-grandfather, Manuel Cunha Sampaio”, explains João Paulo.

Located in the village of Trinta, and taking advantage of the strength of the Mondego River waters, the Pateiro Hydroelectric Power Plant supplied electricity to the factory at a time when even the city of Guarda didn’t have electricity itself. It was only in the 60s that his father, Evaristo Sampaio, “took the company out of the river”, building in the village a modern industrial unit that he christened as Têxteis Evaristo Sampaio.

The company currently has the capacity to spin, on average, six tons of carded wool per day, and alongside the manufacture of the Lordelo’s blankets and Papa blankets, it also supplies various rug and sock manufacturers.

To the question of when or how he can resume business after the pandemic, João Paulo Sampaio answers with another question: “Who am I to know? It means living day-to-day and facing difficulties”, he explains, saying that, despite everything, he never had to furlough workers, and that the company was still chosen “in three or four public tenders to supply blankets to hospitals”. On the other hand, in Italy, where he usually leads public tenders, “it is zero. Zero!”

Now, the hope is that the recovery will come as soon as possible, “in order to protect the industry and the heritage”.

The factory, which in the year 2000 employed more than a thousand people, now has 40 employees. João Paulo’s wife, Carmen, is the designer, and his sister Filipa is his right-hand woman, also taking over the commercial direction.

The blankets for comfort and decoration are a prestigious product, but not a basic necessity. And they lost demand with the appearance of industrial threads, quilts, duvets or, more recently, fleece knitwear.

In addition to the own brand Lordelo – which already has socks in the portfolio – Têxteis Evaristo Sampaio has also manufactured for Ralph Lauren, El Corte Inglès or distribution chains such as Eroski and Biedronka (Poland).


“When I grow up I want to stay in the company” was never his style, but his mission has been set when he was still a child. He started in 1985 on the financial and industrial side, and in 2015, with his father's retirement, he took over the entire management. Now, divides his time with the Casas do Côro tourist project, whose management shares with his wife - “Carmen is the pillar of the family” - and with their five children. Pedro, 27, studied hotel management, which came in handy; Francisca, 25, took journalism and wants to get a master’s at Católica; Joana, 23, has finished Sociology; Rita, 18, is in marketing. The youngest, Rosarinho, 15, likes to cook, and is already the famous person of the family. She was a finalist on the TV-show Masterchef Júnior and dreams to attend the Basque Culinary Centre

Casas do Côro
Largo do Côro 6430-081
Marialva – Meda

Starters Bread with figs; homemade breadsticks with herbs; and asparagus soup with black garlic oil Entrées Codfish Deserts Toucinho de céu and chocolate cake Drinks Wine Casas do Côro Reserva 2018, white and red; Porto Vintage 1982 Ramos Pinto