Sweet Freedom in Philly!

I tagged along to Philly with Jessika, her husband, and the little Schnappi to visit Jessika’s sister-in-law Janine and her boyfriend Jamie.  Janine knows that Jessika and I are obsessed with food so she planned our day trip around places to eat (that’s how we travel… food first, and sights on the way to the restaurant :)).  Janine and Jamie also share a passion for food, whether trying new recipes at home or going to the many wonderful restaurants in their new hometown. They were very accommodating and researched several places that were specifically gluten free that we could visit.

Their apartment is located in the University City District; Janine is getting her PhD in Chemical Engineering at U Penn (yes, she’s a smarty pants McGee :)).  The weather was gorgeous when we arrived and we joined Jamie and Janine on their Sunday morning outing to the Clark Park Farmers Market. The array of fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers were breathtaking.  We could not resist buying two pints of the blueberries that Schnappi’s little hands were grabbing at.  She had whole blueberries for the first time that day! We also enjoyed fresh blackberry juice and fresh potato chips.

The most exciting purchase of our day was a loaf of gluten free cinnamon raisin bread that was DELICIOUS!  I am not sure about you guys, but Jessika and I have the hardest time finding gluten free baked goods at farmers markets, which seems very strange to us. We still walk up to every stand that sells baked goods and ask them if they sell gluten free products.  Expecting the usual “sorry, no”  The Slow Rise Bakery stand at the Clark Parks Farmers Market displayed a sign advertising Amaranth Bakery’s gluten free products.

After coming home and doing some research I found out the Amaranth Bakery is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania  and they ship to other states (on the east coast) and sell their products in listed stores and other farmers markets.  I have to say that their bread was one of the best gluten free breads we have had; it was fluffy and not too sweet.  We seriously ate ¾ of the loaf while walking around the market. Yes, that’s right we did not have to toast it! GASP.  Check out their website and try some of their other products; we can’t wait to try their flat bread.

After we left the farmer’s market we headed to the Italian market to pick up some assorted meat and cheeses from Di Bruno Brothers and Claudio’s (Philly staples, right?).  Jessika’s husband and I limited her to only buying three cheeses but of course she walked out of there with five cheeses, 8 handmade pepperoni sticks, landjeager, and stuffed olives and peppers! I am not complaining though, I love tasting all the cheeses at Di Bruno’s and the pepperoni means we get to make homemade pizza!  We had to get out of that place before I lost my seat in the car to grocery bags.  Plus, Janine had a special surprise for us and Schnappi.

Since Schnappi was diagnosed with being allergic to nuts, eggs, dairy, and soy, Jessika has been understandably a little down.  Janine found a bakery near her that catered to baking without these ingredients including corn, refined sugars, annnnnnnd gluten! It is called Sweet Freedom Bakery, and we were so excited to check it out.  The bakery case and counter were filled with fresh baked goodies and each were labeled with ALL of their ingredients.  We ordered just about one of everything but we have to say that we oohed and ahhed with every bite of the double mint chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookie sandwiches.  Schnappi was able to get a zucchini bread treat and she loved every bite.  We can’t wait to go back.

We met one of the owners and baker, Heather Esposito, who was warm and personable, and had a wealth of knowledge.  Heather and her associates at Sweet Freedom Bakery share a passion at Double Take Diets of sharing great tasting food with people who have food allergies or are mindful about healthy eating.  We definitely encourage you to check out their website and their options for delivery. Another trip, another unexpected sweet surprise, and another champion in our gluten free world- thank you Heather and Sweet Freedom Bakery!

This has inspired Jessika to make up a banana bread recipe that is of course gluten free but also vegan, nut free, and with no added sweetener.  Look for this tasty recipe tomorrow!

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