Monday, May 3, 2010

Wheat-Free Gourmet

This article first appeared in the Left Hand Valley Courier as part of my Vicinity and Beyond series. This was the very first time I wrote about Mary Capone, who later wrote the The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook and just recently launched the Bella Gluten-Free line of mixes.

Obviously, she has moved far beyond what was written in this article, but I thought it would be interesting to republish it, just as a look back at where she started.

Wheat-Free Is Taste-Tee!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a wheat-eater, maybe even a wheat-a-holic. So when I heard about the Wheat-Free Gourmet, of course I had to look into it. Who could be a more unbiased judge?

Wheat-Free Gourmet is Mary Capone’s brainchild, and what she calls a celebration of “life after wheat.” Like many people, Capone is intolerant of wheat and gluten, which limits her choices when it comes to many commercial goods.

Capone challenged that limitation, looking for alternatives for making baked goodies. What she came up with aren’t substitutes for “real” confections, but tasty treats that even wheat-eaters would enjoy. And rather than seeing her dietary restriction as a problem, she said that she preferred to “spin it and make it fun,” and thus began years of experimenting with desserts and doughs.

Hazelnut shortcut cookies were available for sampling, and if I didn’t know they were wheat-free, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the recipe. The list of ingredients includes rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour along with expected ingredients like butter, sugar, nuts and chocolate.

Capone noted that while the desserts are wheat-free, she doesn’t hold back on sugar, butter, or other rich ingredients. The results are impressive. “You’re the best baker I ever met,” one of her recent customers told her.

The Wheat-Free Gourmet is a work in progress. At press time, Capone was working on designing Christmas cookies, developing a pizza dough, and looking for more outlets for her goods. She was also planning wheat-free/gluten-free Italian cooking classes featuring foccacia, gnocchi, biscotti, marinara sauce, and more.