7 Gluten-Free Bakeries for Wheat-Free Sweets in the Hudson Valley
Whether you have an intolerance or are trying to eat less wheat, these cafés craft treats so scrumptious you’ll never guess they’re gluten-free.
It’s hard to be a foodie and not eat gluten. In the oft-Instagrammed world of food, wheat lies at every corner. It’s front and center in cheesy swirls of spaghetti, crumbled on the cookie-lined rims of milkshakes, and kneaded into the artisan loaves that sandwich our favorite turkey clubs.
Yet for anyone who abstains from gluten — whether due to celiac disease, an intolerance, or a dietary preference — finding alternatives to popular wheat-containing dishes can be a struggle.
Never fear! In the Hudson Valley, there exist well more than a handful of dedicated gluten-free bakeries. In these wondrous places, wheat is less than an afterthought amid shelves of just-baked muffins, crusty loaves of bread, and light-as-air macarons, all of which contain nary a speck of gluten. Of course, you probably wouldn’t know that from taste alone.
These treats are downright delicious, no gluten-free disclaimer required.
Try this: Keto cheesy cheese bombs
Based in Cornwall-on-Hudson, Off the Wheat is a passion project for Hudson Valley baker Blaine Caravaggi. A former restaurant manager, she’s now the baker behind the gluten-free brand that uses hyper-local ingredients from farms like Argyle Cheese Farm in Argyle and Chaseholm Farm in Pine Plains.
As for what she creates, it could be anything from oat flour pignoli cookies to banana coffee cake crumb muffins. Caravaggi uses a customized flour mix of almond, coconut, gluten-free oat, and cassava flours to craft her sweets, and many of her products are dairy-free and vegan as well.
A Hudson Valley Baker Whips Up Nutritious, Gluten-Free Treats
For 17 years, Blaine Caravaggi managed Manhattan restaurant Swifty’s with her husband after leaving a job as a Wall Street trader. When Swifty’s closed in 2016, Caravaggi began developing Off the Wheat Sweets and Eats — Baked by Blaine, a gluten-free baked-goods company.
“I began a low-carb and no-grain diet, and didn’t like the available baked goods because of the lack of nutritional value and poor taste and texture,” says Caravaggi. Because the business was based on her own diet, developing the menu was one of her favorite processes.
As it turns out, Caravaggi’s love of baking and culinary arts is hereditary: Her great-great-aunt was Fannie Merritt Farmer, an American culinary expert and author of the still-popular The Boston Cooking School cookbook. There’s also Caravaggi’s great-grandmother, Mary Merritt, who founded Merritt’s Beaten Biscuit Company and was one of the first women to create, own, and operate a successful business. The determination of her relatives to break the mold inspired Caravaggi in her own work.
A cornerstone of Off the Wheat is that Caravaggi only uses local and/or organic ingredients and no genetically modified wheat flour. Her flour blend makes for a wholesome treat with a superior texture.
Some current fan favorites include citrus macaroons, flourless bittersweet chocolate cakes, seasonal fresh fruit crisps, assorted pound cakes, peanut nougat fudge, cookies, and bars.
At the moment she’s selling their goods at more and more places, and has just signed a commercial kitchen lease for a space in Kingston. “The ultimate goal is to have a significant online sales business while maintaining and increasing farm market presence and expanding our market base within the Hudson Valley and beyond,” said Caravaggi.
FOR YOUR SWEET ONE ON VALENTINE’S DAY
HOW DO I LOVE THEE, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS:
Blaine has an answer for you and your Valentine.
When you get home after your romantic night out, turn up the heat with a heart filled with creamy
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CAKE and add some fresh whipped cream to top it off.
Love is now in motion. Then sway to your love seat with RED VELVET COOKIES. No need to discuss.
sweets and savories for you and the one you love.
80% of New Year’s resolutions don’t make it to February. Yeeks. Sorry. Not to start our 2019 Healthy Eating Guide off on a negative foot or anything. Are you determined, though, that this will be the year that you finally cut the junk, cut the excuses, and buckle down so you don’t have to move that ol’ belt buckle? We thought so and therefore, we’d like to give you a leg up on throwing that 80% statistic to the ground and showing it who is boss. When you surround yourself with the healthy stuff, it makes it easy to enjoy the healthy stuff, so that said, we’ve got a nice long list of inventive, delicious, inspiring spots that are serving up food that will help you cruise into February with your head held high.
Off the Wheat Sweets and Eats
Off the Wheat Sweets and Eats, located in the Hudson Valley, offers gluten-free sweet and savory baked goods. The taste and texture are deliciously indulgent! Products are baked using Hudson Valley farms’ ingredients, including eggs from pastured chickens, grass fed butter, cheese that is Animal Welfare Approved (when available), and cornmeal and oats that are local and non-GMO. The gluten-free flour blend consists of almond, organic coconut, oat and cassava flours. Sweeteners are either organic coconut sugar or Hudson Valley honey and maple syrup. Their baked goods include several varieties of sweet cakes, cookies and bars, flourless chocolate cake, savory Keto breads and cheesy cheese bombs. Vegan options and special orders are always welcome! Keto breads, cheesy cheese bombs and sugar free brownie bars are always available at Essential Health in West Hartford and Off the Wheat appears at the Westport Farmers’ Market. Delivery is also available for special catering orders. View current line of goods on their website.
OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS BAKED BY BLAINE IS MOVING THE GOAL POSTS
Blaine Merritt Caravaggi is setting new standards for healthier baked goods. Using the highest quality Hudson Valley farms and fair trade ingredients; her sweet and savory products are being celebrated for their delicious flavor, unique texture and enticing appearance. Blaine’s new kitchen at The Cornell Creative Business Center in Kingston NY is gearing up to accommodate an impressive increase in demand for these products.
Now Blaine is introducing sweets and savories that are exciting individuals that have dietary restrictions. Keto Sandwich bread and Parmesan Asiago Cheesy Cheese Bombs, for instance, are savories for people on Keto diets (lower carbs and higher healthy fat consumption) and others who just crave luscious sandwiches and snacks.
Keto Kin are also longing for satisfying sweet confections. Keto Almond And Peanut Butter Brownie Bars with Chocolate Sea Salt have been recently launched. They are sweetened with Swerve (natural plant based erythritol ) and can accommodate sugar intolerant diets. Ingredients include Peruvian raw cacao powder, unsweetened bittersweet chocolate, Hudson Valley eggs, and organic almond and peanut butters. HELLO KETO!
Vegans fear not. There are several vegan cake and cookie options. The Banana Bread Cake is made with organic bananas, bittersweet chocolate, organic coconut yogurt, organic coconut sugar, cassava flour, almond flour and organic coconut flour. The Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie is VEGAN. The Chocolate Chip Poundcake is VEGAN. And there’s more......
OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS are baked by Blaine to accommodate dietary and Deliciously Indulgent requirements.
WHY EVEN TRADITIONAL FLOUR EATERS LOVE THESE GLUTEN FREE
PRODUCTS FROM THE FORMER OWNERS OF SWIFTY’S NYC
THERE IS HOPE FOR NUTRITIONAL AND GLUTEN FREE BAKED GOODS
Blaine Merritt Caravaggi always wanted to sell her Hudson Valley farm to table baked goods. It was not until she and her husband Robert closed their influential restaurant Swifty’s in Manhattan, that she got the chance. The new company OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS- BAKED BY BLAINE, offers the indulgent gluten free experience that even traditional wheat flour enthusiasts enjoy.
Popular items include, citrus macaroons, chocolate cakes, fresh fruit crisps, assorted pound cakes, peanut nugget fudge and blondie bars, individual deep dish chocolate cakes, jam jar surprise. Carrot cakes and shortbread crust fudge pies are also vegan. Keto dieters can choose from the Keto sandwich bread and a line of assorted cheese biscuits called MERRITTS CHEESE MORSELS, dedicated to chef and cookbook author Fanny Merritt Farmer, Blaine’s great great aunt and inspiration.
Many people who eat gluten free baked products tend to say they don’t stack up to the “real thing”. In developing their brand Blaine decided only the best local farm ingredients be used.
Eggs, butter, cheese, produce, honey maple syrup and more are all locally sourced by Patricia Wind the founder of FARMS 2TABLES, distributors for Hudson Valley farms. What would hold all these superior ingredients together? Blaine’s flour blend consisting of fair trade almond, cassava, coconut and corn, has actual nutritional value unlike wheat flour or less valued gluten free flours.
Currently these products are available online in New York and at local farmers markets including, Scarsdale on Thursdays, Mamaroneck on Saturdays, and Sundays in Forest Hills and Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
Brand expansion is expected.
OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS BLAINE MERRITT CARAVAGGI
FROM WALL ST. TO FARMERS MARKETS ( AND IN BETWEEN)
When Blaine Merritt started as a trader on Wall St. How could she have known that eventually she would enter the restaurant business and then eventually own her own baking business called OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS- BAKED BY BLAINE.?
“ I left the financial sector after meeting my husband Robert who was managing Mortimer’s Restaurant in Manhattan at the time.”
When Robert and his business partner chef Stephen Attoe started their New York City restaurant and catering named Swifty’s, they asked Blaine to work with them as a financial manager. Seventeen years later in 2016 when Swiftys closed Blaine wanted to create a business of her own and OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS- BAKED BY BLAINE was born.
“I always loved to bake but I wanted to produce products made with only the best locally sourced Hudson Valley farms ingredients with no genetically modified wheat flour”. As a result all of her baked goods are also naturally gluten free. “My flour blend is a combination of almond, coconut and cassava, no inferior rice or potato flours”, she states proudly. Blaine was inspired by her great great aunt culinary expert and cookbook author Fannie Merritt Farmer and great grandmother Mary Merritt, who founded the Merritt’s Beaten Biscuits Company in the 1930’s. “Two women way ahead of their time” said Blaine.
Part of the OFF THE WHEAT logo uses the phrase “Deliciously Indulgent”which is how Blaine describes her products. “These amazing ingredients from local farms including eggs, butter, cheese and honey combined with my flour blend produce truly unique and satisfying baked goods”. The line in front of her tent is testament to that. Phillis Finkelstein from Scarsdale visits Blaine on Thursdays at Scarsdale Farmers Market. “ I bought Blaine’s gluten free products to accomodate a gluten intolerant spouse. Then I tasted them and that was all I cared about. Silky dark not too sweet chocolate cake. An incredible lemon lavender parfait. Almond flour bread! My first stop at the farmers market. Worth every calorie”.
OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS
products include Cheesy Cheese Bombs, Flourless Chocolate Cakes, assorted Pound Cakes, Fudge, Cookies Bars and Keto Bread and are currently available at the following farmers markets: Thursdays in Scarsdale NY from 11am till 5pm, Saturday’s in Larchmont NY from 830am till 1 pm and alternating Sundays at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows Queens NY and Forest Hills Queens at Queens Boulevard 69th road.
It’s telling how we often put labels on our lives and loves. There is no dessert that I love more than a home made Apple Pie, Baked by Blaine, with Autumn fresh Hudson Valley apples. It’s so, well—American. The other day Blaine mentioned that she discovered a Russian apple pie recipe. Apparently it has almost everything a good old American pie should; and remember our icon evolved from a European original. OFF THE WHEAT SWEETS AND EATS BAKED BY BLAINE is developing a wheat free international line - but can a good old apple pie be international? Apparently yes; and now Blaine is presenting the down home Sharlotka Russian answer. Politically correct or not, it seems to have the democratic culinary qualities that We the Foodie People love. Ahh- APPLE PIE- - no more labels . That’s downright American.
OFF THE WHEAT INTRODUCES “MERRITT’S KETO CHEESY CHEESE BOMBS”
Blaine enjoys using the finest farm to table ingredients in her sweet and savory baked goods. Her newest product is a line of Keto Cheesy Cheese Bombs evolved from an old Southern family recipe her great grandmother Mary created. As their name implies, these Cheese Bombs explode with intense flavor. Seasonal ingredients include wild Maitake (Hen of The Woods) mushrooms, Hudson Valley cheese, organic lunch box peppers, grass fed butter, local pastured eggs and fresh herbs. They are perfect served alone, included among passed hors d’oeuvres at a party, or served warm accompanying a hearty autumn soup. They are available at these farmers markets: Forest Hills, Queens NY, Westport, CT, Larchmont, NY and Cunningham Park, Queens, NY. and at Essential Health in West Hartford Connecticut and soon at Nature’s Pantry in New Windsor, NY.
Cheesy Cheese Bombs and all of Blaine’s products are also available online at offthewheatsweetsandeats.com or by phone order at 917 703 8367.
One of Blaine’s favorite desserts, the Flourless Chocolate Cake, has its origins on two continents. It was invented on the Isle of Capri by a sleepy cook who added cocoa powder instead of flour and created a decadent monster. But without the Peruvian cacao bean, Blaine would bake no “Torta Caprese”.
It is the raw Peruvian cacao powder, loaded with antioxidants and without alteration, that sends Blaine’s semi sweet chocolate mixture into the ethereal realm.
The Theobroma cacao tree grows in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon rainforest and produces several varieties of cacao beans, including the prized White Criollo, that even Anthony Bourdain sloshed through the forest after.
Raw Peruvian cacao- one of natures most magical and satisfying pleasures.