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.
407 Main St, Rosendale
Try this: Chocolate truffle torte
Rosendale’s alternative bakery has long been a favorite for gluten-free treats, and it’s easy to see why. One look at the sugar-studded counter is all it takes to convince yourself that, yes, you do need to try at least three of the home-baked goods on offer. Our pick? Anything chocolate is a must, as are the blueberry muffin cakes and the peanut butter cookies. Not everything is gluten-free here, so keep that in mind if you do have a serious allergy.
Try this: Rainbow cookie macaron
Macarons may be naturally gluten-free (hello, almond flour!), but that doesn’t mean the treats from Amanda’s Macaron Shoppe are anything less than divine. On the contrary, the Culinary Institute of America graduate’s signature confections are so delightful that they’ve prompted the online retailer to open her very own brick-and-mortar at Poughkeepsie’s Eastdale Village in spring 2020.
While macaron flavors run the gamut from chocolate-covered strawberry to salted caramel, Amanda’s claim to fame is her Italian rainbow cookie rendition, and for good reason. It tastes just like the real thing!
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418 Main St, Beacon
Try this: Pecan bar
Ella’s Bellas may be under new management, but it’s still gluten-free as always. The bakery sources ingredients locally (think butter from Ronnybrook Farms and eggs from Feather Ridge Farm) and uses organic sugar and fair-trade, super dark chocolate. In the kitchen, it swirls everything together to form gluten-free nibbles so divine that your gluten-eating friends will never be the wiser.
Pro tip: Grab a table early. This place fills up fast, and you’re going to want an actual seat to savor that blueberry muffin or chocolate cake alongside a steaming cup of coffee.
116 Hudson Ave, Chatham
Try this: Seedy sandwich bread
Part of the family-owned Our Daily Bread bakery, The Gluten Free Bakery opened in 2011 in response to increasing demands for wheat-free alternatives from customers. Since then, the Columbia County kitchen has stocked up on organic, alternative grain flours to craft its buckwheat, cinnamon raisin, and vegan loaves.
While it no longer has its own brick-and-mortar location, it stocks its fan-favorite creations at Our Daily Bread, its sister location, on Hudson Avenue.
1447 Rte 9W, Marlboro
Try this: Toasted coconut scones
The owner behind this Alice in Wonderland-themed café is gluten-intolerant, so you had best believe the pastries are up to her perfecting standards. Every single thing on the lunch menu is free from wheat, so gluten-free eaters can dig into crème brûlée French toast or pastrami Reubens without fear of an allergic reaction.
The true showstoppers here, however, are undoubtedly the sweets. Mad Batters is a dream for cookie bars, coffee cakes, and seasonal biscotti. During the holidays, the bakery saves the day with gluten-free riffs on apple and pumpkin pies with a cream cheese crust makes all the difference.
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.
Try this: Coffee brownie
Formerly known as Sweet Girl Brownie Company, Savvy Girl is a Hudson Valley-based baking company that prioritizes small-batch, from-scratch preparations that are 100-percent gluten-free. Using rice flour instead of wheat, the brand whips up brownies in a range of too-tempting flavors.
Instead of deciding between one or another, get them all in a 12-pack shipped straight to your house. After all, with options like coffee, dark chocolate orange, ginger, and peppermint, how can anyone choose just one?