Sweet Indulgences – gluten and allergy aware bakeries

Sweet Indulgences – gluten and allergy aware bakeries

Local bakers rise to the allergen awareness challenge!

Updated January 2023! Sweet indulgences. For those with food allergies or other dietary restrictions, finding a place to purchase those scrumptious cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pastries can be a challenge.

We’ve tapped the edible community, to help us identify local businesses that are baking up delicious and safe foods for this growing segment of the population. Our goal? To find local bakers and bakeries that not only are making safe products but have created goodies that will leave even the most discriminating cupcake or cookie connoisseur wondering how the treat could possibly be allergen- or gluten-free. If it seems like more and more people have food allergies, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance … they do.

According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), food allergies are on the rise, affecting up to 15 million Americans, including 1 in 13 children, or roughly two kids in every classroom. Sharon Schumack, Director of Education and Programs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New England Chapter (AAFA NE), stresses that “since a very tiny amount of an allergen can trigger a serious reaction, avoidance is key.” The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness notes that celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disease, affects 1% of Americans, has no cure, and requires a 100% gluten-free diet … and 83% of those affected have yet to be diagnosed. So, if you don’t yet know someone with these dietary restrictions, chances are, you will.

From Walpole to Wareham, we found bakers who understand the serious health risks associated with food allergies and/or celiac disease and have enthusiastically risen to the challenge. Each has developed recipes without certain allergens (not an easy task), sourced needed ingredients, trained on cross-contamination issues, and determined what will (and what won’t) work for his or her business. These bakers have come up with indulgences that nearly everyone can enjoy, and most of these businesses are able to work with individuals for special orders. Keep in mind that these are small business owners who are truly making an effort to strike a realistic balance between meeting customer requests and maintaining the business, so not every establishment can accommodate every dietary need.

As we expected, several of these businesses were developed to fill a need created by the dietary restrictions of a family member. However, we were delighted to learn that a number chose to add allergen or gluten-free options to their menus due to customer demand. We hope that by shining the spotlight on these local businesses we can celebrate their efforts, provide a resource for those searching for safe treats, and perhaps even encourage other local businesses to learn more about accommodating customers with dietary restrictions.

Note: Food allergies and celiac disease are serious and potentially life-threatening; the severity of food concerns varies by individual. This list is intended to be a reliable resource, but we strongly recommend doing your own checking before making a purchase as recipes and suppliers can change. If you will be purchasing food for an extended family member or friend with food restrictions, we suggest discussing plans with the parent or individual in advance.

When making your plans for parties and celebrations – or when you simply need a sweet indulgence – we hope that you will support these bakers. Did we miss your favorite? Please let us know. Add your suggestions in the comments below.

By Elle Maynard: Juggling multiple food allergies is just a part of family life for Elle, so she is always on the lookout for allergy-aware bakeries. Her current sweet indulgence? Sadie Mae’s gluten-free chocolate cupcake … pure deliciousness!

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