Wouldn't you love to walk into a restaurant, be able to order a soup and sandwich and dessert, and have it ALL be gluten free? I know I would, and so would Mary Brooks, the owner of Viola Fe's. Her dream is to do just that in the small quaint town of Fenton.
Her daughter was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance. She had been tasting some of the gluten free items available, and knew she could do better. After I stopped at a Flint restaurant, trying to convince them to carry GF buns for their barbecue, one of the workers connected me with Mary.
When we first met, she handed me the most wonderful collection of gluten free goodies. I was overwhelmed!
My husband and I had a chance to sit down with Mary and her daughter and hear a bit of their background. At first I asked why her business name was "Viola Fe." It was her aunt's name, and I love it when businesses honor family history.
|A few items may have already been eaten....|
Even though Brad and I had just eaten lunch, we wanted to honor Mary's generosity and try a few things to give her some immediate feedback. I noticed that one of the cookies in the box was oatmeal raisin. Like some celiacs, I am still intolerant to gluten free oats, so I let my husband try this first.
There are all sorts of oatmeal cookies in this world- thin, thick, chewy, gooey. The Viola Fe Oatmeal cookie is moist yet firm, and hearty because of the texture of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free oats. Quite honestly, my husband LOVED it! Unlike some gluten free baked goods, the cookie was not crumbly, gritty, and did not fall apart. It had a beautiful golden brown color on the bottom, baked perfectly. Probably the best review came from a friend's young son, who is Celiac and Type 1 diabetic. He stated that the cookie tasted like "he doesn't have Celiac!" .
I tried her Butterscotch Pecan cookie. First let me say that in general I do not like nuts in my baked goods. Now let me say that Viola Fe has changed all that! This may be the best cookie I've ever had! This firm yet soft cookie is topped with a pecan and a slight sprinkle of sea salt. The sea salt really makes the flavor pop. The cookie was a bit gooey in the warm summer sun, but that's because Viola Fe makes their products with butter instead of trans-fat laden shortening. When I took the rest of the cookies home, they firmed up perfectly.
The butterscotch chip is not the only unique cookie that Viola Fe makes. She also makes a Lemon Poppyseed cookie. At first I wasn't quite sure what to think. I've heard of a lemon poppyseed muffin, but never a cookie.
IT. IS. PHENOMENAL!
The consistency is nothing like a muffin. The level of lemon flavor is perfect and there is just the thinnest glaze of sweet frosting to bring it all together. I shared one with a friend of mine (along with a few other items from the box) and it was by far her favorite. She also liked the butterscotch chip cookie pictured above, and asked if there was "anyway to get more....please."
In the box were also chocolate chip cookies, triple chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons and chocolate brownies with walnuts.
One of the great things about the chocolate chip cookies is that they were made with Enjoy Life chocolate chips. This is great for those who have other food allergies, especially soy. Mary said she is always willing to make substitutions to meet other food allergies.
Chocolate Chip- Great chocolate flavor, and not gritty. Definitely a chocolate lover's cookie.
Triple Chocolate Chip- Perfect for the chocoholic! White chocolate chips give them great depth. I did an experiment and froze one of these cookies, to see how well Viola Fe's products tasted after freezing. I think I actually preferred this one cold and it would make a AWESOME ice cream sandwich.
Coconut Macaroons- I so enjoy coconut. The small chewy morsels go great with a cup of chai tea. I also froze one of these, and it held up very well after thawing.
Brownie with Walnuts- These brownies are fudgy, with a great "crust" on the top. Delicious! I think with a scoop of ice cream, they outshine the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under brownie at Outback.
But wait, there's more! Although I have yet to try it, she also makes a Lemon Polenta Cake and a Chocolate cake, along with many others.
I once had a polenta cake just outside of Columbus Ohio at Cherbourg Bakery
. If her cake is anything like Cherbourg's, I can't WAIT to try it.
When she gets a store front, she is eager to serve you homemade soup with a fresh sandwich made on her own bread. I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful that sounds. With her creativity and expertise, I can imagine that her shoppe will be filled with wonderful things to tempt gluten free and non-gluten free foodies alike!
And check out this gluten free banana bread with chocolate chips and covered in caramel!
And how about Multi-Grain Gluten Free Bread ?
Here's a copy of her menu.
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While she may not have a storefront yet, she is ready and willing to take your orders. You can call her at 810.423.4479 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
to place your order. She bakes out of St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Fenton. You can find her products at The Laundry and The Crust in Fenton, and The Meeting House in Rochester.You can check out her Facebook page here
. And please remember to "Like" her page!
Labels: restaurant review