On the Road With Alice Bast


Alice Bast is passionate about her mission to educate people about celiac disease. Diagnosed with the disorder in 1994, she founded the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness in 2003. As its executive director, she has worked with leaders in the medical, business, and media communities to raise awareness of the disease. She has also worked extensively with the public to get the word out. The NFCA is based in the Philadelphia area, but its best-known programs may be the Gluten-Free Cooking Sprees, which have taken place across the country and have introduced many to the joy of cooking without gluten. The latest NFCA initiative — training chefs at 28 Philadelphia-area restaurants in its Gluten-Free Resource Education Awareness Training (GREAT) program — has been another huge hit. Alice has also participated in strategic conferences and workshops shaping programs to advance celiac initiatives nationwide, including the landmark NIH Consensus Conference on Celiac Disease.

How often do you travel? I’m a serious road warrior — I’m in a couple of different cities each month.

Where have you traveled since being diagnosed with celiac disease? I’ve gone to so many cities around the country for Gluten-Free Cooking Sprees: San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles — it’s a long list. I also travel to attend medical conferences; I was just in Chicago. Internationally, I’ve been to Australia, Amsterdam and Istanbul.

What foods or snacks do you pack when traveling? Travel can be really wearing, and I don’t like the idea of eating junk food to keep going. I think about health and nutrition when I’m packing. A gluten-free power bar goes right into my purse. I take crackers with me, and a nut mix with raisins — it’s basically trail mix. Also, I keep small gluten-free soy sauce packages with me as part of an “emergency” kit.

What other things do you bring with you? In my briefcase, which is always with me, I have my journal, iPhone, and computer. I take my vitamins with me. If you’re checking luggage, it’s important to have your essentials in your carry-on. I have what I call my “carry-on purse,” which is a big bag that has food, a toothbrush, and other essentials. I have an inflatable neck pillow for flights, and wherever I go, I have something to read.

How do you prepare for a trip? I always do research in advance to find out where I can go in a city. It’s important to be proactive. I look at the Gluten-Free Guidebook, and at the Triumph Dining guide and the Gluten-Free Passport. I’ll do Google searches. But I also challenge myself to find places that haven’t been written about. Sometimes I go to places that aren’t gluten-free to educate; that’s part of my personal mission, to educate and train wherever I go. I carry brochures in my purse. We have a program at the NFCA to train your favorite chef.

Any favorite restaurants? I can’t pick one restaurant in Philadelphia. The restaurants we’ve worked with are passionate about cooking gluten-free; they’re not just making an accommodation. When I go in they want to show off what they’ve learned and what they can do. It’s just amazing. I love Maggiano’s. I had dinner a couple of weeks ago at their Chicago restaurant. I was with a group and we told the chef to surprise us. He really went to town. Maggiano’s has embraced gluten-free, it’s like a challenge to do something really special.

Any favorite hotels? Hyatt has been incredible. They’ve hosted Gluten-Free Cooking Sprees. Their chefs are truly interested and have really worked with us.

What’s your favorite place to visit? My favorite business destination is San Francisco. I love going there. The food is amazing, and they’re really thinking about health and wellness. My favorite personal destination? It’s hard to pick one, but it would involve hiking. I loved hiking in New Mexico, and I’ve spent a lot of time hiking in the White Mountains.

What’s your dream destination? New Zealand. I’ve been to Australia but haven’t been to New Zealand yet. Also, I would love to visit Egypt.

Do you have any other advice for gluten-intolerant travelers? Make sure you know the words for “wheat” and “starch” before you travel. Always carry a cheat sheet in the local language. Whatever you do, don’t feel that you’re alone; find other people and ask for help. When you’re traveling, listen to your body. Sometimes people think they got “glutened” when they get sick on the road, but the problem was caused by other issues. You have to pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. Even if something is gluten-free, it’s not good for you if it’s junk food.

Photograph of Alice Bast provided courtesy of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

A Tale of Two (Gluten-Free) Tablas


It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Danny Meyer and his New York City restaurants. As one of the most prominent supporters of the Greenmarket in Union Square, the restaurateur has helped New York-area farmers, the locavore movement, and Manhattanites who want to enjoy fresh, sustainable produce. Meyer’s restaurants — including Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Café, Blue Smoke, and Eleven Madison Park — are delicious spots with well-trained staff who are happy to cater to diners with celiac disease or food allergies. Still, I have to confess that I was trepidatious about trying his Tabla Bread Bar. Let’s just say that sounded like an automatic no-go zone for anyone with celiac disease.

That’s not to say that I don’t like Tabla Restaurant, the Bread Bar’s glamorous sibling. I’ve had a few meals at Meyer’s Indian-inspired formal dining room, all intensely good and gluten-free. The dining room and the less formal Bread Bar are located in the corner of an historic bank building that overlooks Madison Square Park. The dining room is on the second story, while the Bread Bar operates on the first, and includes some al fresco seating.

If it hadn’t been for visiting friends from Vancouver, I never would have discovered that Tabla’s Bread Bar is as celiac-friendly as the formal restaurant. The two spaces are served by the same kitchen, where the staff is trained to avoid cross-contamination. The fact that the Bread Bar serves smaller plates — and is easier on the wallet — makes it an inviting find. At dinner, I had the incredibly tender Kerala Black Pepper Chicken (seared chicken stewed with curry leaves, onions, and black pepper), the Mung Bean Ussal (flavored with tamarind and coconut), and tandoori-cooked lamb. I was even able to have bread, in the form of a large, crisp wafer made of chickpea flour.

The Bread Bar isn’t the only place to get a deal: Tabla’s dining room is offering a prix fixe lunch menu year-round, not just during Restaurant Week. For $25, you can enjoy an opulent, elegant meal — and the staff will make any modifications necessary to make it gluten-free. It’s a splurge, but it’s worth it.

Tabla and Tabla Bread Bar [address] 11 Madison Avenue (at East 25th Street), New York, NY 10010 [tel] 212-889-0667 [web] www.tablany.com

The Andes Meet the Alps in Arequipa


Of all of the cities I’ve traveled to, Arequipa has got to be the most underrated. Peru’s second-largest city is known as La Ciudad Blanca — the white city — because so many of its monumental buildings and churches are carved out of sillar, a ghostly white volcanic rock. (Arequipa lies at the foot of El Misti, a volcano that was described to me as “currently inactive.”) The city is famous for two attractions: Juanita, the Inca maiden who has become the world’s most famous human sacrifice, and the Monasterio Santa Catalina, a historic city within the city. Otherwise, Arequipa is generally regarded as the starting point for excursions to the Colca Canyon or the Cotahuasi Canyon.

That’s too bad, because Arequipa is a wonder that deserves to be explored. Its obvious treasures are plentiful, but the city also has a wealth of hidden gems, like the courtyard behind the Jesuit church, which is easy to miss (given that the church itself is filled with art treasures and valuable artifacts). It’s also a city that deserves to be known for its fine food. On my last night there, I dined at Zig Zag. Finding an Alpine restaurant in Peru seemed a little incongruous, but its mission — blending the culinary techniques of the Alps and the Andes with ingredients from all over Peru — works very well.

Zig Zag gets a mention in several guidebooks for its antique iron staircase, which was designed by Gustave Alexandre Eiffel (yes, as in that famous Parisian tower), but it also deserves notice for its cooking. At heart, it is startlingly simple: meats such as ostrich, alpaca, and beef, are served atop a sizzling hot stone, which cooks the meat to medium-rareness but leaves it tender and juicy. The quinoa-and-vegetable soup I had was also terrific, even if I did have to argue with the serving staff to get it (they took my celiac disease card so seriously that they decided I couldn’t have any grains at all, until I explained otherwise in my rusty Spanish). It made for a memorable meal in an elegant city full of surprises.

Zig Zag Restaurant [address] Zela 210, Arequipa (Cercado), Peru [tel] 0051 54 206 020 [web] www.zigzagrestaurant.com

Roundup: Celiac Disease in the News


Have you noticed an uptick in the number of news items about celiac disease this week? May is Celiac Awareness Month, so organizations such as the Gluten Intolerance Group and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness are promoting their message in the media. But I’m also chalking up the sudden flurry of stories to the celebrity effect: Elisabeth Hasselbeck, one of the hosts of ABC’s “The View,” has just published a book about celiac disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2002. The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide is filled with advice about living with the disorder. There’s not much that’s new here for celiacs already familiar with the gluten-free diet and with potential non-food pitfalls (such as lipsticks that contain gluten), but this is a good resource for the newly diagnosed celiac/gluten-intolerant person who is still coming to terms with the diagnosis.

Also, the book’s introduction is by Dr. Peter Green (author of Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic), and it’s terrific. In it, he addresses the issue of gluten-sensitive people who don’t test positive for celiac disease, but whose bodies are sickened by gluten nonetheless. I’ve met Dr. Green in person, and he speaks convincingly about the fact that many people are negatively affected by gluten, not just the 1 in 133 who have celiac disease. Food for thought — and an issue everyone should read about.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America is celebrating Celiac Awareness Month in a special way: its Chef to Plate International Awareness Campaign has restaurants in 30 states offering gluten-free menu options. Some of the participating eateries are chains, including Cheeseburger in Paradise, Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza, Outback Steakhouse, and P.F. Chang’s. In some states, such as Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas, the only restaurants listed are chains (GIG’s list isn’t meant to be a comprehensive listing of celiac-friendly restaurants, just ones that are participating in this particular program). In New York, most of the participants — including Bistango, Nizza, Lilli & Loo, GustOrganics, Friedmans Lunch, Sambuca, and Opus — are independent operations. One of the most impressive lists of Chef to Plate participants is for Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. I haven’t visited lately, but remember The Noodle Box and the Canoe Brewpub from a while back.

One more thing: a new resource called Gluten-Free Maps caught my eye on Twitter. It’s a smart site that blends Google Maps technology with user-generated suggestions. You can go there to check out what’s in your neighborhood, or you can map the location of a restaurant you’ve dined at successfully. If you’re searching for a gluten-free meal at home or while traveling, it’s another place to look.

Gluten-Free Pizza Problems?

A diagnosis of celiac disease usually means that you’ll have to give up some of your favorite foods… at least until someone comes up with a gluten-free version. While I’m still waiting for someone in New York to bake or import gluten-free croissants (the only ones I’ve found so far were in Spain), I have found one source for celiac-safe butter tarts, and many for delicious pizza.

On my last visit to Toronto, I was delighted to hear that Pizza Nova, a southwestern Ontario takeout pizza chain, had started to offer a gluten-free crust. The popular Pizza Pizza chain began to offer this last year in its Ontario and Quebec outlets, and I’d hoped that the success of the program would inspire others to create products for celiacs. However, when I went to order from Pizza Nova, I found cause for concern. The company provides a helpful PDF document on its website to alert customers to allergens in their pizza toppings and other food products; it’s a pretty comprehensive list, covering peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, milk products, eggs, fish, seafood, soy, sulphites, wheat, and gluten (wheat and gluten are listed as separate categories on the chart). Each ingredient is rated from zero to 3; zero means that the allergen is not present, 1 means that the allergen was present in the factory, 2 means that the allergen was used on the same production line, and 3 means that the allergen is present in the product.

What I noticed on the chart was that there are discrepancies in the ratings for the wheat and gluten categories. Pepperoni is rated 1 for wheat content but zero for gluten, as is the sautéed spinach and the ketchup. The chicken wings and the Hellman’s blue cheese dip get a 2 for wheat, and zero for gluten. The veal cutlets get a 3 for wheat — meaning that they absolutely do contain wheat — and a zero for gluten. By definition, if a product contains wheat, it contains gluten (though the reverse is not true, since a product could contain gluten — say, in the form of barley malt — and yet contain no wheat). I once encountered a product that was made from “gluten-free wheat”, and I know that there’s ongoing research in this area, but I don’t think that’s the issue here.

In the end, I was worried about the information that didn’t add up, and I decided to order from Pizza Pizza instead. If you read my earlier post about that chain’s offerings, you know that you need to think carefully about which toppings to get (since Pizza Pizza’s “classic” pepperoni contains gluten but the New-York-style pepperoni doesn’t, for example). This seems like a great time for a reminder: just because a place offers a gluten-free pizza crust does not mean that all of its toppings and accompaniments are celiac-safe. Food for thought.

Frommer’s Toronto and Food Allergies


I’ve just signed a deal with Wiley Publishing to write another edition of Frommer’s Toronto. This will be my eleventh edition of the book, and I’m looking for ways to make it more informative and more relevant. In the current edition, Frommer’s Toronto 2009, I’ve included a section in the dining chapter devoted to people with gluten intolerance and/or food allergies, and I wanted to mention some of the places featured there:

  • Camros Organic Eatery: This small spot just south of Yonge and Bloor prepares Persian-inspired dishes, all of which are vegetarian. Everything is gluten-free, and the restaurant lists all ingredients in every dish to help those with food allergies. Thanks to a recent renovation, Camros can now seat 30 diners, instead of 12; [address] 25 Hayden St. [tel] 416-960-0723 [web] www.camroseatery.com.
  • Big Mamma’s Boy: This perennially popular Cabbagetown spot sits in a 19th-century Victorian row house. Its gluten-free menu, includes pizzas, pastas, and traditional comfort-food dishes. (For my post about it, click here.)
  • Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar: A great spot not only for celiacs, but also for anyone with a food allergy. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful: not only can they tell you the ingredients in every dish, they’re aware of potential cross-contamination problems. (For my post about it, click here.)
  • Il Fornello: This Toronto chain is my go-to spot for a hit of gluten-free pasta or pizza. (For my post about it, click here.)
  • Swiss Chalet: This allergy-aware Canadian chain provides precise details about allergens in their food; they’ve created a helpful chart that you can read online, or find in any of their restaurants. The chart has categories for peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat/gluten, and sulfites. Toronto locations include: [address] 362 Yonge St. at Gerrard St. [tel] 416-597-0101 [web] www.swisschalet.com.
  • Amuse-Bouche: Speaking generally, expensive restaurants are pretty accommodating on the gluten-free and food-allergic fronts (of course, there are exceptions, like the hoity-toity spot where the waiter told me he couldn’t “bother” the chef with my questions). Amuse-Bouche gets a special mention for going above and beyond: if you give them some advance notice, they will bake gluten-free bread just for you. (For my post about it, click here.)

There are some restaurants I’ve written about recently, such as Relish and Four, which deserve to be listed, and I’ll add Pizza Pizza as well. Do you have any suggestions for restaurants that belong in the book? Please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Philadelphia’s Great Gluten-Free Initiative

When you’re deciding where to go out for dinner — whether in your hometown or while traveling — what helps you choose a restaurant? There are a few terrific resources for the gluten intolerant, such as the international restaurant listings offered by Celiac Handbook and the American listings from the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. There’s also Gluten-Free Maps, a site I discovered recently via Twitter. You might read blogs that are devoted to dealing with celiac disease. But there normally aren’t many mainstream sources that can help the gluten-averse.

That’s why I was so excited to hear about Philadelphia’s amazing initiative. Recently 28 restaurants in and around the city worked with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to complete its Gluten-Free Resource Education Awareness Training (GREAT) program. This NFCA program trains restaurants in everything they need to know about preparing celiac-safe food, including issues such as avoiding cross-contamination and answering diners’ questions and concerns.

The list of participating Philadelphia restaurants is impressive. None of them is entirely gluten free, but a few can boast that a majority of menu items are safe for celiacs (at Distrito, a Mexican hotspot, 90% of the choices are gluten-free). The restaurants are a diverse bunch: there’s Italian (Vetri), Indian (Bindi), tapas (Bar Ferdinand), French (Cochon), and seafood (Little Fish), to name a few. The list includes high-end spots (such as The Palm, an elegant steakhouse), and affordable ones (like the Ugly American). When dining at one of the participating restaurants, it’s still a good idea to let the staff know in advance that you are gluten-intolerant, but once you’re at your table you should be able to relax and enjoy. Not many of the restaurants mention their gluten-free offerings on their own websites; hopefully they’ll update this soon (the Ugly American already has its gluten-free menu online; a few others, such as Cochon, mention that they can accommodate gluten-free diets).

It’s exciting that so many Philadelphia eateries would participate in the GREAT program. I’m also impressed with the fact that the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation is playing an important role in promoting this initiative. The tourism office is showcasing the city’s gluten-free offerings on its website; visitors can read about the restaurants, map their locations, and check out what attractions are nearby. It’s a smart and savvy move, and I wonder how long it will take other cities to catch up.

For more information about gluten-free dining in Philly, visit www.gophila.com/glutenfree.

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I mentioned above that I’d found a new resource via Twitter. I joined a couple of weeks ago, and I’m finding it valuable. If you’re on Twitter, I hope you’ll follow me there at http://twitter.com/hilarydavidson or @hilarydavidson.

A Gluten-Free Gem in New York’s West Village

New Yorkers are notorious for their impatience, but I think that it’s mostly a myth. I’ve become a more patient person since moving here seven-and-a-half years ago, though it hasn’t happened by choice. New Yorkers are forced to wait in line for just about everything. If you’ve ever visited the Trader Joe’s supermarket on East 14th Street, you know what I mean (the line to check out wraps around the entire store and can take 45 minutes on a bad day). And while I love Risotteria, there’s a reason I haven’t written about it before: having dinner there requires patience.

Risotteria is in the West Village, a few blocks from Washington Square Park. It describes itself as one of the most famous gluten-free restaurants in America, and I don’t doubt that. It’s perpetually mobbed, and since you can basically count the number of seats on your fingers and toes, demand consistently outpaces supply. Even in this economic downturn, Risotteria keeps packing them in — not a surprise when you factor in its very reasonable prices for its excellent cooking. Service is incredibly swift but also quite sweet. Here’s the bad part: Risotteria doesn’t do reservations. That means you wait for your table with everybody else, either in the tiny vestibule or out front on Bleecker Street, where there’s a bench. When the wait gets extremely long, sometimes the waitstaff comes outside with gluten-free breadsticks, guaranteeing that you’ll hang around.

Not everything on the menu is gluten-free, but the many celiac-safe options — including risotto, pizza, and panini — are clearly marked, as are the choices for vegetarians (plentiful) and the lactose-intolerant (slim pickings). There is nothing I’ve tried in my many visits here that I haven’t loved. The gluten-free Caesar salad is a favorite (but so is the spinach salad with goat cheese and roasted peppers). The risotto dishes are irresistible to me (I usually choose them over pizza, a fact that shocks me). I love the carnaroli risotto with roasted chicken, porcini mushrooms, and pine nuts; my husband loves a spicier risotto with shrimp, hot peppers, and mozzarella. And every person I’ve dined with at Risotteria has been wild about the desserts, all of which are gluten-free (don’t get me started on the subject of the “Fudgie,” two thick chocolate-chip cookies with chocolate fudge in-between).

That’s the secret about Risotteria. I’ve met others with celiac disease while dining there (the tables are so close together that mingling is common), but none of the people I’ve dined with at Risotteria are gluten-intolerant. They are willing to put up with the long wait because the food is that good. You can use your wait-list time to explore the neighborhood. Bleecker is filled with interesting shops, the excellent Partners & Crime bookstore is a few blocks away, and the Village boasts stunning architecture and charming streets. Just remember to be patient.

Risotteria [address] 270 Bleecker Street (between Sixth Avenue & Seventh Avenue), New York, NY [tel] 212-924-6664 [web] www.risotteria.com

Reader Report: Gluten-Free Hawaii

When I created the Gluten-Free Guidebook group on Facebook earlier this year, I wanted readers to have a place to exchange information about their travels and their upcoming plans. Several people have shared recommendations from around the world. Liisa, a reader in Arizona, took the time to report on her trip to Hawaii, where she visited the islands of Oahu and Kauai. With her permission, I’m including her suggestions here as a reader report — a must-read for anyone visiting the Aloha State. Thanks so much for sharing this, Liisa! And as they say in Hawaiian, mahalo.


Gluten-Free Oahu:

  • La Cucaracha in Waikiki: Fresh, delicious Mexican food and wonderful service; [address] 2130 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, Oahu [tel] 808-922-2288
  • Duke’s Canoe Club in Waikiki: Good service — when I said I was gluten-free my server understood right away and made menu suggestions for me. Excellent buffet for breakfast and lunch; [address] 2335 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 116, Honolulu [tel] 808-922-2268 [web] www.dukeswaikiki.com
  • Down to Earth: This shop had lots of GF food to buy, as well as GF pizza, smoothies and salad bar; [address] 2525 South King Street, Honolulu, plus 4 other locations on Oahu and Maui [tel] 808-947-7678 [web] www.downtoearth.org
  • Polynesian Cultural Center: I went to a Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, again great service and yummy food. I reserved ahead and made sure they noted I was gluten-free on my reservation. When I got to the Luau food area the head buffet person showed me through the line and showed me what was safe to eat; [address] 55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Laie [tel] 808-293-3333 [web] www.polynesia.com

Gluten-Free Kauai:

  • Sweet Marie’s: This is a dedicated gluten-free bakery from a gourmet baker. Decadent desserts that I haven’t had in years, I had here. It’s reasonably priced and Marie herself really is a sweet person. She’ll even tell you where to eat and shop GF locally; [address] 4-788 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa [tel] 808-823-0227 [web] www.sweetmarieskauai.com
  • Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion: Absolutely wonderful. The first thing the server asked was “Does anyone have any food allergies?” Superb, but pricey; [address] 7 locations in Hawaii [web] www.roysrestaurant.com
  • Smith’s Tropical Paradise: This Luau is where I had the best dining experience in Hawaii. I emailed ahead to make sure they could accommodate GF. Sure enough they did, and they had the kitchen prepare an extra plate of gluten-free food to supplement what was available at the buffet. They also arranged for a staff member to take me down the buffet line to show me what was safe for me to eat; [address] Inside Wailua Marina State Park, Kauai [tel] 808-821-6895 [web] www.smithskauai.com

Photograph of a dessert at Sweet Marie’s courtesy of Liisa.

Roundup: Gluten-Free Bakeries

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I tried all of the gluten-free baked goods I could find… and I wasn’t very happy with what was out there. I remember rice breads that crumbled into bits with the first bite and pastries that seemed to have a substantial styrofoam content. Now, five years later, I’m amazed by how much the quality has increased and how much choice there is. (I’m speaking primarily of what I see in New York and Toronto, and online; I know that there are plenty of places where it’s hard to come by gluten-free baked goods.)

Several bakeries that offer gluten-free treats have contacted me — and some readers have forwarded suggestions — so I wanted to pass along the information. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit any of the spots below, so I would love to hear from any readers who have tried them. For the record, I am a fan of Babycakes in New York City ([tel] 212-677-5047 [web] www.babycakesnyc.com). I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Bewitching Elegance: San Francisco-area artist Diane Rinella specializes in wedding cakes, which are available in gluten-free, vegan, and diabetic-friendly versions; [address] 1170 Broadway, Burlingame, California [tel] 510-469-6976 [web] www.bewitchingelegance.com

Cinderella Sweets: I’ve never used this company’s free mail-order service, but I have purchased their gluten-free Passover treats, sold under the name Shabtai Gourmet, at supermarkets in New York. The selection includes traditional almond macaroons, sponge cakes with raspberry filling, and delicate “lace” cookies topped with chocolate. The products are also free of dairy, casein, and soy, and they are certified kosher; [tel] 516-652-5671 [web] www.cinderellasweets.com

Coffee Plant: There are two Coffee Plant cafés in Portland, but one is entirely gluten-free. The husband-and-wife team who run the business bake the fresh muffins, scones, cookies, cakes, quiches, and breads on a daily basis; [address] 5911 SW Corbett, Portland, Oregon [tel] 503-293-3280 [web] www.coffeeplant.net

GF Patisserie: This dedicated gluten-free bakery set up shop last August in Cochrane, Alberta, a short drive from Calgary. Owner Victoria Edlinger told me that they started by offering three types of quiche, but their product range now includes cream puffs, sacher torte, Italian flatbread, and butter tarts; [address] 122 3rd Ave West, Cochrane, Alberta [tel] 403 990-9565 [web] www.gfpatisserie.com

Rose’s Wheatfree Bakery: This Chicago-area bakery and cafe is entirely gluten-free, and it also offers dairy- and egg-free options. Rose’s bakes up everything from snickerdoodles to chocolate-cherry-hazelnut biscotti, and from breads to pizzas; [address] 2901 Central Street, Evanston, Illinois [tel] 847-859-2723 [web] www.rosesbakery.com

Swirlz Cupcakes: Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Swirlz offers gluten-free cupcakes in flavors like chocolate grasshopper mint (I’m not sure what that means, but I’m curious); [address] 705 West Belden, Chicago, Illinois [tel] 773-404-2253 [web] www.swirlzcupcakes.com

Triple Oak Bakery: This dedicated gluten-free bakery opened in Virginia’s Rappahannock County in the fall, after owner Brooke Parkhurst found that demand for the treats she was baking in her home kitchen just kept growing. Offerings include carrot cupcakes, mocha dream cake, and cream puffs, and they are also available at The Natural Marketplace in Warrenton and Better Thymes in Front Royal; [address] 11692 Lee Highway, Sperryville, Virginia [tel] 540-675-3601 [e-mail] tripleoakbakery@gmail.com.