There was a time when a traditional fruitcake made an easy holiday gift.
An awareness of nut allergies, compounded by a growing number of people who have a gluten intolerance, makes food gifting not so simple anymore. There are a number of viable and delicious alternatives for holiday food gifting if you know what to look for.
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"Wheat flour, one of the major sources of gluten, is traditionally served as a base for baked goods, but that isn't possible for anyone diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance. Today there is a wide variety of grains and blends of grains that produce a great performing replacement with both texture and taste," said Christine Welch of The Coffeecake Connection Company. "Some of the grains we use to create wonderful tasting pastries are a blend of white rice, sweet rice, tapioca and soy. These grain choices and blends are becoming easier to find, which is greatly needed because gluten-free diets are not a fad. Celiac and people sensitive to gluten are a fast growing population. Doctors are finally recognizing that removing gluten from your diet can help with a variety of symptoms -- not always as obvious as celiac disease."
"Thankfully, the industry has been able to move quickly to create more flour choices. In the past, gluten-free often meant a flat, gritty and cardboard-like taste," Welch said, "but now with over 31 million people with a gluten intolerance, the industry has been creating some great tasting food without the gluten protein."
"What pleased us most when we went into R&D to convert our original recipe to a gluten-free version was that we were able to create a similar texture. We were thrilled that our gluten-free cakes actually seem to have more moisture," Welch said.
The Coffeecake Connection Company is placing an ever-increasing emphasis on gluten-free baked goods, such as coffee cakes, mini-cakes (called cake-a-lettes), cookies and brownies. They are also providing a gluten-free batter to chefs and restaurants, as well as their baked goods to boutique retail, delis and coffee shops.
"We definitely see our gluten-free product line expanding in 2014, and we plan to introduce a sugar-free version of our cakes," said Welch. "Requests for sugar-free has been the most asked for in 2013. We are working on sugar alternatives that are natural, easy to source and easy to work with without compromising taste or texture."
If you are gifting food this holiday season, you might want to include something gluten-free. Sweet or savory treats are always welcome, but if you include something gluten-free, everyone can enjoy them.
The Coffeecake Connection Company is an online gourmet food gifting company and wholesale provider of great tasting coffee cakes, cookies, and brownies with and without wheat.
For more information, visit their website at www.coffeecakeconnection.com or call (888) 940-2253, Ext. 2.