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.