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By Catherine Dunwoody Jenna Perreault has a secret weapon. There’s a reason why her aptly named Delish Gluten Free Bakery in Port Coquitlam has folks from all over flocking to it. The top-secret weapon? Perreault’s grandmother’s gluten-free flour blend that took her 20 years to perfect. See what having celiac disease, and being a lover of baked goods will inspire a person to do? Jenna’s taken that flour blend and uses it to create everything from fluffy focaccia, to dense chewy fudge brownies, to pies with buttery crusts that would fool any discerning palette to believe these pastries surely must contain gluten. As a food writer, and being diagnosed with celiac disease just two years ago, I have tried every gluten-free bakery I can, usually with disappointing results. Textures like sandpaper, or Styrofoam is my motto generally – until I discovered Delish. I chatted with chef/owner, and new mom, Jenna…

By Kathy Mak Audrey Wong is the force and founder behind Living Lotus, a Vancouver company focused on satisfying your sweet tooth with dreamy desserts that have better-for-you, rawsome ingredients.  Without turning on an oven, Wong is crafting an array of luscious plant-based desserts made from minimally processed whole foods that are packed with nutrients but gluten-free, vegan and devoid of chemicals, additives and refined sugar. Uniting delicious and nutritious – as sustainably as possible – has long been a priority for Wong who has been a vegetarian for over 26 years and a vegan for five.  Her mindful-eating interest turned to raw foods in 2007, inspired by Matthew Kenny’s book, Raw Food/Real World.  While gluten-free and vegan foods are becoming more commonplace, Wong found few options for dessert alternatives using only whole foods. After studying raw nutrition culinary arts, Wong made the leap to start a dessert company with…

By Brittany Tiplady Hello, spring, goodbye winter hibernation! If you’re planning your next night out with a date, a loved one, or a group of friends, consider heading to a local haunt that offers live music in-house. There’s something exciting about a meal or drinks paired with the live performance of a band; it feels somewhat nostalgic, interactive, and like a true night out on the town. Stay over in relaxed, beach-side White Rock for a late night out and then a rejuvenating morning stroll by the water. Here are some of our suggestions in White Rock: West Beach Bar & Grill 1101 Elm St. White Rock Known as White Rock’s number one live music venue, West Beach is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Live music is scheduled five night per week, including jams on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. With everything from pub food to share to…

By Catherine Dunwoody Back by popular demand, Juke Fried Chicken is hosting their second annual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day events at their Keefer Street location in Vancouver’s Chinatown. On Sunday, December 31 from noon to 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve partygoers can gear up for a night of cocktails and countdown bubbly by ‘building a base’ with a hearty Southern-style fried chicken meal. But wait for it – it’s gluten-free (which can be ridiculously rare and hard to find) and is all non-GMO-grain-fed and free-range. A mouthwatering menu of seasonal snacks, salads, sides, desserts and sticky pork ribs are also on offer. Is a New Year’s Day hangover pretty much inevitable? Monday, January 1, Juke serves just what the doctor ordered from noon to 9 p.m. DJ For The Record will spin music for the soul, and an expanded dining room menu of exclusive breakfast selections includes…

By Kristi Alexandra You don’t always need wheat to stay sweet, and Cloud 9 specialty bakery owner Ray Porelatto knows it to be true. His gluten-free company started baking up treats for those with a taste for the toothsome in 2008, becoming a pioneer in wheat-free baking. Nearly 10 years later, the gluten-free movement is more of a lifestyle than a craze, and the New Westminster bakery and test kitchen’s popularity can attest to that. The delicious downtown haunt plays storefront to their wildly popular baking brand, serving up cupcakes, scones, buns, breads and more. That’s not to mention the baking mixes and custom-ordered cakes that can be purchased in the shop too. In the back of the shop is the test kitchen, where you can find your cupcakes being created or any other combination of the mad science of sweets. And just how has this speciality bakery kept alive…

By Kathy Mak After a spot of shopping in the vibrant South Granville strip of Vancouver, step around the corner to find Soffee Café, a dining haven nestled away on a quiet side street. Behold one of the city’s more laid-back, cozy afternoon tea experiences.  You’ll feel right at home in this quaint parlour-style café serving a tempting selection of handcrafted sweet and savoury fare, along with Afternoon Tea services done differently. What makes Soffee Café memorable is its relaxed charm and enticing array of in-house made food.  Step inside and you’ll discover comfy interiors adorned with antiques aplenty and an eclectic mix of flowery china.  You’ll quickly settle into this inviting space that feels more like an intimate living room than a café. The vintage ambiance sets the scene for an elegant, but unpretentious, afternoon tea experience that forgoes etiquette for a fresh twist on a posh tradition.  There…

By Catherine Dunwoody Ice Cream has blown up on Canada’s West Coast and charming new shops and parlours are popping up all over. But what about the folks who have allergies, sensitivities or make choices not to eat gluten or dairy? And who doesn’t like a cooling, sweet, creamy treat? Fret not folks, I did the research for you! Here’s my list of the best, where to go for it, and what to taste. Where: La Glace, Vancouver Try: Most ice creams here are gluten-free so, if you are as well, skip the cone and get a cup. Top your treat with a marshmallow or meringue (also gluten-free). Vegans and the lactose-intolerant will love the Chocohuete, which is made with peanut butter and dark chocolate. It’s dairy-free and made with their own made-in-house cashew milk base. Where: Spiritual Ingredients, White Rock Try: Nut allergy? You’re safe with any of the…

By Catherine Dunwoody Seriously. Just when I’d given up on finding gluten-free baked goods that were remotely close to the real thing, the skies parted and along came Pikanik Bakery. I was diagnosed with celiac disease (which is a serious gluten allergy) not long ago, and naturally as a food writer and having eaten gluten all my life, my quest for bread that didn’t have the texture of a dry, sandy sponge was all too real. (You don’t know what you’re missing until you can’t eat it anymore!) And I miss great, chewy-textured bread in a sandwich. And real pizza. And pie crust that isn’t made entirely of nuts – you get the picture. Pikanik is a dedicated gluten-free and allergen-safe bakery based in South Surrey, that also happen to be nut and dairy free and offers vegan options too. Best part? They deliver. Order a minimum of $30 online,…

by Catherine Dunwoody You may be familiar with Left Coast Naturals, a Burnaby-based brand that started back in 1996. Owned by Jason Dorland and Ian Walker, they kicked off with a line of natural nut butters called Skeet & Ike’s that they sold on Granville Island Market on weekends. Things went well, the company ticked along for a long while, and then in 2005 they launched a variety of tortilla chips, named Hippie Chips, after the 60s hippie movement where people looked to raw, natural foods for better health. Hippie Foods has grown since then, and now is a whole line of healthy (and tasty!) snacks, cereals and cookies. See? Going way beyond granola. Though their granola is darn good. Here are some goodies to watch for in markets on Canada’s west coast. Bonus? All of these are organic, gluten free and non-GMO too: Hippie Snacks Coconut Clusters. Organic roasted…

By Catherine Dunwoody Canada Place hosted the largest gluten-free food trade show in the country recently, the Gluten Free Expo. An opportunity for the consumer to stop and sample the wares and gain information at the many booths, plus check out some cooking demos and presentations – all geared to folks with gluten-allergies or sensitivities. Newly diagnosed with celiac disease myself, this show intrigued me both professionally and personally as a food writer with a rather refined palette trying to navigate this New Year eating gluten-free. Here’s my ‘best of the fest’ – products I tried and thought worth sharing, and mostly made right here on Canada’s west coast. Naked Coconuts from Vancouver makes soy-free teriyaki sauces.  Not only gf, but also soy-free, this organic, non-GMO, sauce has that salty, umami flavour we crave when it’s stir-fry time, and this one has 65% less sodium too. Free Yumm cookies and…

By Catherine Dunwoody Sometimes slowing down during the holiday season is the greatest gift of all. Through all the craziness, the non-stop hustle and bustle, just settling in for a hot cuppa and some delicious treats with family or friends is an ideal time out. Not only is most of the honey served at Honeybee Centre collected from their own bees, it is a big part of their new Holiday High Tea. Served from December 1st to 31st, choose from a variety of high quality teas (black, green and herbal) that come to your table in a French press, along with a tiered tray (doesn’t everyone love those?) with Christmas-themed cupcakes, macarons, cheesecake, shortbread cookies, cranberry orange scone with clotted cream and honey, plus savoury treats like the brie and roasted chicken panini, artichoke baguette, and a turkey and cranberry roll. Not a tea drinker? No worries, have a peppermint…

By Lisa Reichelt, Two Daughters Bakeshop INGREDIENTS All Purpose Flour Blend, Gluten Free (2.5 cups) Organic cane sugar (2 cups) Cocoa powder (8 tbsp) Baking powder (1.5 tsp) Xanthan gum (1 tsp) Salt (2 tsp) Organic rice milk (375 ml) Organic canola oil (350 ml) Organic vanilla (1.5 tbsp) Organic chocolate chips (1 cup) DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2. With a stand mixer, blend canola oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the rice milk and blend again. 3. Add dry ingredients to wet mix and blend well, stopping to scrape bowl. 4. Spread mixture evenly in a 9×11 glass baking dish, lightly greased or lined with parchment paper 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40min. or until knife inserted in to brownie comes out clean Learn more about Two Daughters Bakeshop on Vancouver’s North Shore here.

By Kathy Mak These days, consumers wanting or needing gluten-free and vegan options do not have to miss out on delicious baked products, thanks to a growing number of specialty bakeries in Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. But, the only decidedly all gluten-free and vegan bakery in the Vancouver area yet, is Two Daughters Bakeshop. They provide a large selection of oven-fresh, healthy products that are both gluten-free and vegan-friendly, without compromising on irresistible flavours. Tucked away in Lolo Lane, between 1st Street East and Esplanade Avenue, the cozy artisan bakery is located steps away from Lonsdale Quay on Vancouver`s North Shore. In 2012, Lisa Reichelt opened the bakery, dedicated to making gluten-free-vegan pastries, snacks, breads and desserts. It was inspired by her passion for baking and by her youngest daughter’s need for a celiac diet without eggs, dairy and gluten. Two Daughters Bakershop’s mission is to use the…

By Ashley Lockyer The Fraser River gold rush only lasted from 1858 to 1865, but riches are still found in BC’s Fraser Valley when it comes to breakfast and baked goods (even some gluten-free gold). At Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe you can devour a hearty brunch before you conquer the historic Fort Langley itself – a former Hudson’s Bay trading post – or just sip local coffee and adventure into a novel. You can’t miss the cafe’s saloon-style building in the heart of town. From the sweeping patio bannisters to swinging doors, the cafe is a stronghold for breakfast classics: golden omelettes, pancakes, eggs benedict, and well-seasoned hash browns. The cafe offers a taste of the area alongside the town’s BC heritage. All plates are made from carefully selected ingredients, using products like cage-free eggs, wild salmon, organic flour, and everything is locally sourced as much as possible. Every slice…

By Kathy Mak There’s no denying it, eating counts as sightseeing, and when you have a sweet tooth, bakeries, pastry shops and other sweet stops are the attractions! You don’t have to go far in Vancouver to find every possible sugary delight, from award-winning ice cream, to-die-for pastries, and gourmet macarons to handcrafted chocolates. But, finding some of the unsung sweet treats further afield can be the real taste-adventure. Take this sweet-packed outing to discover a selection of local, laid-back gems in Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond and Vancouver, all easily linked by convenient public transit and short walks. Your self-guided, sweet tasting spree begins in downtown Vancouver with an early morning stop at Cartems Donuterie (534 West Pender). It’s hard enough to resist regular donuts, but resistance is futile when it comes to Cartems’ donuts as they are dreamy! (And, literally, Cartems was born out of a dream by the…