Baker and owner of the Maple Tree Bakery Vanessa Darling slices a loaf of sour dough bread in the bakery Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Gluten-free bakery in Red Deer gets Food Network attention

10 of the best across Canada named

The Food Network has named a Red Deer business as one of 10 great gluten-free bakeries across Canada.

The Maple Tree bakery and cafe, owned by Vanessa Darling, made the list, which was published this week on the Food Network’s Canadian website.

“It’s pretty huge to me,” Darling said Thursday. “To be recognized on that level. They could have picked various other bakeries but they selected us.”

The website post by Michelle da Silva stated: “A few years ago, if you couldn’t eat gluten, it likely meant you wouldn’t be able to eat bread, cookies, cakes and other delicious baked goods. But now, gluten-free bakeries are popping up all across Canada, and these treats are beyond tasty — even if you’re not on a gluten-free diet. Here are 10 of the best picks from coast-to-coast.”

The other places named bakeries in Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Kingston, Windsor, Winnipeg, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria.

Darling opened the bakery in 2015, at 5 Fir St. She said while gluten-free is a big part of her business, she also tries to meet the needs for other types of dietary restrictions, including dairy free and vegan food. Since January they have been serving a vegan lunch every Thursday.

People who have been placed on dietary restrictions will come in seeking food they can eat, Darling said, adding there are naturopathic doctors who are referring people to the bakery.

“We say, ‘Just give us your list.’ and we work with that.” Everything is made from scratch, she said. Some of the products she sells are gluten-free breads, cinnamon buns, pies, English muffins, cheddar biscuits, pizza crusts and quinoa bars. The bakery also offers items that are vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free.

Darling said she struggled for years with her own health, with chronic joint pain, fatigue, sinus infections, skin rashes and did not know what was wrong. She was advised to go gluten-free and dairy-free, which she did for a year, and her symptoms went away, she said.

Now she only eats gluten-free foods, but does eat dairy products now.

The Maple Tree is open Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

barr@reddeeradvocate.com

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