Eating wheat-free or gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to give up foods you love! It seems these days.
Many families have to eliminate wheat products from the household grocery list because of intolerance or allergy. Bread lovers (myself included) find it hard enough to curb this staple from our daily diet (who can resist carbs!), and it’s a challenge to source out where to buy those fave wheat-free foods.
There’s good news in store as many wheat-free treats are surfacing in our Valley, ready to dole out as an on-the-go snack or at the table, making meal time easier than ever.
Those who react to wheat – tiny people especially – usually have the inability to break down gluten, a protein found in grains, making wheat-alternative foods a necessity.
On the other hand, some parents choose a wheat-free diet for their kiddos believing that it helps prevent behavioral problems related to autism, ADD or ADHD.
Allergies, or health conditions such as celiac disease and autoimmune disorders, have us health-conscious consumers stepping up a steady production line of delicious wheat -free treats like cookies, crackers, bars, sweets and bread.
Our prayers to the wheat-and-gluten-free gods have been answered. Thanks to some fantastic local bakers, we can indulge, wheat-free and worry-free!
Village Bulk Foods in Qualicum Beach houses Silly Yak Bakery, a gluten-free kitchen owned by Bea Trocha, who is as passionate about baking as she is about gluten and wheat-free goodies due to her own food sensitivities.
She opened her store nine years ago and recently added the bakery after she started experimenting with gluten-free bread recipes before expanding to keep up with the demand. Silly Yak uses all-natural ingredients and their products are particularly yummy in the wheat-free universe.
They produce a range of products from raisin, herb and cheese breads to hamburger and hot dog buns, as well as a variety of muffins, cookies and other delights such as pie and tart shells. Birthday cakes (carrot or chocolate) can be arranged by special order, and for quick meals, try their perogies, flatbreads and pizza crusts. Pick up a bread mix and feel like a master baker in your own kitchen.
If you can’t get down-island anytime soon, you can find Silly Yak’s wheat-free breads and muffins at Edible Island and The Without Sugar Shoppe in Courtenay and Seeds Natural Food Market in Cumberland.
Check out their product brochure HERE and be sure to pay them a visit next time you’re in Qualicum.
Black Creek’s Heavenly Goodies introduced non-wheat goodness to their customer base this past Fall.
Since then, Cheryl and Ian Macgregor have created a following with their white rice buns that are large enough for making hamburgers, or to eat like crumpets, toasted with jam or cheese.
Fans also use them as an alternative for a dessert base, like a tea biscuit for strawberry shortcake (why wait until Summer?!) Their multigrain loaf is chock full of amaranth, brown rice and flax seed, and bonus, it slices up nice for wholesome toast or sandwiches.
Find these delectable goodies at Edible Island, Brambles, or the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market (remember, the Market now runs all-year round on Saturdays from 9 am – noon, held until spring at the Native Sons Hall).
Oh and I don’t think Cheryl or Ian will mind if I share a baker’s secret – they’re currently working on a gluten-free sugar cookie…stay tuned and let your mouth water in anticipation! Learn more about this fresh line of goodies at www.heavenlygoodies.ca
Carol Spencer, appropriately known as the Dough Diva, is transitioning her Wild Flour Organic Bakery from retail to wholesale, and will soon be selling at the Farmers’ Market.
She says her customers who can tolerate gluten (but not wheat) snap up her 100% kamut, splelt or rye loaves that are yeast, fat and sugar-free, making them a super-healthy alternative.
All of Wild Flour’s bread is created with organic stone-ground grain and they continue to support fair and ethical trade, as well as certified organic agricultural practices.
They offer free home delivery on Wednesdays for orders of six loaves or more. Email [email protected] or call or leave your order at (250) 890-0017. All orders will be confirmed by return email or phone call.
Visit www.wildflowerbakery.com to learn more about these absolutely appetizing artisan breads.
A little-known sleeper in terms of wheat-free in the Valley are the fresh rye and spelt bread options at Cakebread Bakery in downtown Courtenay. Once a week, this fresh bread comes out of the oven and those in the know snap it up as fast as it comes out. So, pre-ordering is your best bet for this right-out-of-the-oven option.
And if you can’t live by bread alone, or if you’re looking for an excuse to fudge that New Year’s resolution to eat less pasta, you’re in luck.
Prontissima Pasta offers wheat-free alternatives too. They offer a kamut or spelt pasta, and a soon-to-be launched brown-rice pasta.
To you and yours, have a happy and healthy wheat-free year ahead!
Photo courtesy of Silly Yak Bakery