A while back, I wrote about the impressive array of gluten-free groceries at the Specialty Food Shop at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The store isn’t just for celiacs, and not all of its products are gluten-free. But located in its aisles are gluten-free North American brands such as Glutino, Mi-Del, Enjoy Life, and Kinnikinnick, and international ones such as Australia’s Orgran and Germany’s Glutano. There are plenty of treats — cookies of all descriptions, ice-cream cones, snack bars — as well as healthier fare, including pastas, cereals, breads, soup bases and mixes, baking products, and frozen dinners.
The Specialty Food Shop introduced me to a Canadian bakery that I’d never heard of before, but a taste of El Peto‘s unbelievably delicious butter tarts made me want to get to know them better. Founded in 1988, the company is a Swiss-style bakery and a dedicated gluten-free facility. Since El Peto is located in Cambridge, Ontario — about an hour’s drive west of Toronto, close to the charming theater town of Stratford — I decided to visit the last time I was in the area.
El Peto is “free” of so many ingredients, I started to wonder what they do bake with. It’s not only entirely wheat-free and gluten-free, it also offers corn-free, yeast-free, milk-free, egg-free, peanut-free and trans fat-free foods. Their product range includes breads and pizza crusts, muffins and pies, hot and cold cereals, cake mixes and cookies, and their own milled flours, made with ingredients such as romano beans, chickpeas, quinoa, potato, and brown rice. Their company store also stocks gluten-free products from other manufacturers, such as pastas from Tinkyada and Gogo Quinoa (a Bolivian fair-trade company), waffle ice-cream cones and wafers from Barkat, and soup cubes from Celifibr.
Then there are, of course, El Peto’s wonderful butter tarts. It turns out that other types of tarts are also available — pecan, lemon, raspberry — and that there are unfilled tart shells, too. El Peto’s prices are reasonable, but the best news is that you don’t need to visit to shop there. You can order via the online store. El Peto’s products are also turning up more frequently in mainstream grocery stores — those butter tarts can now be found at the Loblaws Superstore in Toronto, along with breads, rolls, and mixes.
El Peto [address] 65 Saltsman Drive, Cambridge, Ontario [tel] 800-387-4064 or 519-650-4614 [fax] 519-650-5692 [web] www.elpeto.com