Friday, September 25, 2009

Cinde's Gluten Free Spotlight - Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery Products

By now you have probably figured out that I love comfort food. I adore old fashioned recipes, made by hand, and made with love. That is my idea of good eating! Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery feels that way too. Kim Snow, the originator of Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery, decided to go in to the gluten free baking business because she knew "it was purposeful and meaningful". With her training as a baker from the Culinary Institute of America, Kim set out to create a line of gluten free baked goods that would appeal to the whole family. Kim says "I wanted to make it taste good and look better with really delicious flavor". Guess what? She succeeded!

Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery lovingly bakes mouth watering gluten free cookies, croutons, breads, stuffing mixes, and bread crumbs in their dedicated gluten free facility in Connecticut. All of their products are also CSA and Kosher certified. That's Aleia's founder Kim Snow (above) in the Aleia's bakery ready to bake some homemade gluten free goodies!

I must admit I became a wee bit spoiled by Aleia's. ;-) They sent me a box of freshly baked goodies that won me over at the first bite. The Aleia's gluten free Parmesan Croutons were fantastic, with their delicate cheese flavor and hearty crunch. I tossed the croutons in my soup one afternoon in lieu of gluten free crackers and I was instantly a fan. I didn't want soggy crackers in my soup from that day forward, only Aleia's Parmesan Croutons! I didn't even want to use the croutons in our dinner salads because I was afraid I would run out of them to fast, and not be able to use them in my lunch time soup!

The grand-Daddy of all gluten free comfort food cookies are the Aleia's gluten free Almond Horns! Have mercy! Words cannot do these babies justice. My first bite of an Aleia's Almond Horn took me back to my teenage years. As a teen, I was best friends with a girl who came from a family of amazing Italian cooks. I remember eating a similar cookie at her house, handmade by her mother and aunt. Those buttery, delicate, Almond Horns were not overly sweet and had tender slices of almonds on top that were the crowning glory of the cookies. I never had an almond cookie that tasted anything like it until now. It took 30 years, but I have finally rediscovered the bliss of a perfectly made Almond Horn thanks to Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery.

My kids gobbled up the Aleia's gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies so fast that I was lucky I even got to try one. The few that I did get my hands on were so tasty! Think thick, crunchy, super-chocolaty cookies that are perfect for dunking in your favorite beverage. These are ideal to keep in your pantry for school lunches, after school treats, play dates, and for late night munchies. :)

I was so grateful to receive a tub of Aleia's gluten free Italian Bread crumbs! I save each and every crumb that falls of of a piece of gluten free bread and store it in a container in my freezer. Once in a blue moon, I will have enough bread crumbs to actually cook with after ages of "crumb collecting". Sure, I could dry out gluten free bread and purposefully make bread crumbs, but honestly I rarely make time to do this. Behold... Aleia's Gluten Free Bread Crumbs. Bread crumbs that taste great and are ready and waiting for me anytime I choose to use them. I love that! Thank you Aleia's... for giving me back a greatly missed convenience.

Aleia's makes it a point to travel to trade shows and food conventions sharing their delicious gluten free baked goods. That's Aleia's Account Executive Catherine Doneghy and Account Manager Josh Wells sharing some of Aleia's goodness with the world. And yes, they are as friendly as they look. :)

By now I'll bet you are wondering where you can get your hands on these wonderful Aleia's products to try them out for yourself. Currently, Aleia's is only available in select locations on the east coast. Since I am way over here on the west coast it made me wonder if I would ever be able to taste Aleia's delicious gluten free croutons, cookies, and bread crumbs again. Also, I really want to try the other Aleia's products that I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing! I spoke with Aleia's Vice President James Snow to find out if Aleia's planned to expand it's distribution. James said that Aleia's has experienced rave reviews and this relatively new company has seen extremely rapid growth in a short period of time. They are currently working with natural foods markets on the east coast, but have every intention of expanding to the midwest, and eventually the west coast (yea!). Although Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery products are not currently available on line, James said that they may be in the future. If you do not live on the east coast, be sure to bookmark the Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery website. You won't want to miss the chance to try Aleia's gluten free, family style baked goods when they come to your town!

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