STORY AND PHOTOS BY VALERIE REED & DEREK TUBBS
Eating gluten free is somewhat of a trend these days, but for the rising number of people who suffer from gluten intolerance it’s an important factor in their daily lives. Atlanta is fortunate to be home to wonderful gluten-free bakeries that specialize in amazing treats you’d never know were baked without wheat, rye or barley.
As an adult, Jill Baker-Lesperance, owner of the Dunwoody Bakery, was diagnosed with Crohn’s and Celiac disease. Baking gluten free became a way of life and eventually a career.
The Dunwoody Bakery is a true “sweets” bakery, offering just about anything sweet you can dream of. They bake special orders, with custom cakes, more than 300 shapes of sugar cookies, biscotti, breakfast breads, scones, muffins, protein/fiber no-sugar bars, drop cookies and pies. Best of all, the Dunwoody Bakery always has free samples of every item. If you wonder if it tastes as good as it looks, you can try it before you buy it.
The Dunwoody Bakery is located at 2492 Mt. Vernon Rd. in Dunwoody and online at www.thedunwoodybakery.com. The Dunwoody Bakery’s creations can also be found in area Whole Foods Market stores.
Marilyn Santulli’s personal journey that led to her gluten-free product line had its humble beginnings on her grandmother’s farm in Seneca, Kansas.
Long before she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and gluten free was a foodie trend, Marilyn and her family were growing their own food and preparing everything from scratch. Hearty and healthy meals were a way of life for the family.
In early 2008, after a series of undiagnosed health issues, Santulli’s physician determined gluten to be the source of her many ailments. With a lifelong passion for baking, Santulli decided to open her own bakery, compelled not only to create delicious gourmet baked goods, but also to make them using gluten-free ingredients.
As American Gra-Frutti continues to grow and expand the Marilyn’s Gluten Free Gourmet™ product line, the company has found its home in a large bakery in Roswell. American Gra-Frutti’s selection of gourmet, gluten-free products ranges from breads, muffins and cakes to artisanal oven-baked crackers. Also sharing shelf space are glutenfree fruitcakes, Peachtree Pimento spread and Island Coconut Drops. Santulli’s cheese straws are a crisp baked treat that has a deliciously sharp cheddar cheese flavor with a hint of jalapeño.
American Gra-Frutti is located at 1007 Mansell Rd. in Roswell and online at www.agrafrutti.com. American Gra-Frutti’s gluten-free items can also be found in area Whole Foods Market, Return to Eden and Life Grocery stores.
While in college, Frances Shaw, owner of Frannie’s Muffins, found herself on a glutenand dairy-free diet. Not wanting to give up the baked goods she loved, Frances set out to create a muffin that was delicious as well as safe for her to eat. What she ended up creating was an “allergy smart” muffin, free of gluten, dairy, nuts and soy, making it a great choice for most people who suffer from food allergies. “Food allergies no longer mean that you can’t still enjoy baked goods that are healthy and delicious,” says Frances.
Not only are her recipes from scratch, but she built her business from scratch as well. Relying on her community and other entrepreneurs for advice, she eventually moved production from her home kitchen to a commercial gluten-free kitchen in Decatur. While her company continues to grow, she remains committed to giving back to the community that helped her get started by supporting local health-focused charitable events.
Frannie’s Gluten Free muffins can be found at area Kroger stores, other metro area specialty food stores and online at www.franniesglutenfree.com
GLUTEN FREE CUTIE
Having a daughter with gluten and dairy allergies was the inspiration for Natalie Dorsey’s Gluten Free Cutie bakery. A lifelong baker, Natalie converted some of her recipes to gluten free and soon launched her bakery.
“I especially want kids with these allergies to have something wonderful and exciting to eat on their special occasions and for fun as well,” says Natalie.
Being a Southern girl, Natalie makes the traditional Southern treats such as biscuits, cornbread, banana pudding, pies, cakes and specialty breads. However, it’s her Devil Went Down to Georgia cupcake, which was her first gluten-free perfection, that tempts even the most dedicated chocolate lover: a chocolate devil’s food cake with a chocolate ganache center and chocolate frosting. Not only is it gluten and dairy free, but it is free of eggs, peanuts and soy as well.
Gluten Free Cutie is located at 45 Park Square Ct. in Roswell and online at www.glutenfreecutie.com.
SALLY’S GLUTEN FREE BAKERY
Born into a gluten-free family that’s all about having fun in the kitchen, Sally Chasteen and Taylor Owings, the owners behind Sally’s Gluten Free Bakery, are passionate about quality, texture and taste.
“We don’t sell anything until we’re excited about what we’ve created,” Sally said. Sally’s Gluten Free Bakery is dedicated to providing a local spot where guests can choose from a wide selection of scratchbaked goods made fresh every morning.
While the bakery specializes in breads, take-and-bake pizzas, cakes, cupcakes, pies and other desserts with many options free of dairy, eggs and soy, their chocolate chip cookies really take center stage. “Better than the cookies you were eating before you went gluten free, our cookies are made from scratch and taste that way—you won’t want to eat another cookie once you have ours,” promised Sally.
With locations in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta, it’s easy to get that cookie you’ve been craving. Sally’s Gluten Free Bakery is located at 4390 Kimball Bridge Rd. in Alpharetta and at 5920 Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs and online at sallysglutenfreebakery.com.
Now going gluten free doesn’t mean sacrificing those delicious baked goods or having to cheat for a treat and regretting it later.
Valerie Reed lives in Midtown Atlanta with her husband and their two fur babies. She is a freelance professional, providing writing and marketing services throughout Atlanta. Having been gluten free for several years, she is constantly balancing her love of the Atlanta restaurant scene with eating gluten free.