My favorite posts to write are those in which I get the opportunity to share news about my favorite companies, stores, or restaurants introducing new gluten free items. Today, I'm thrilled to be able to share the recent news about the new gluten free bakery items avaialable at all Wegmans locations.
Yes, you can now enjoy Wegmans Gluten-Free Frosted Pan Brownies, Gluten-Free Cupcakes, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookies.
I discovered this just yesterday, as I was perusing my Wegmans MENU magazine (free when you sign up for a Wegmans shopper loyalty card). There in the back of the magazine, on page 135 (almost missed it!), was a brief mention of their gluten free -- yes, gluten free -- desserts! What? When did this happen, and how did I miss it? I'd heard rumblings about this a long time ago, but each visit to Wegmans turned up nothing gluten-free among the amazing ready-to-eat bakery items (save for the supposedly Chocolate Dome in the bakery case, which is good, but still bears a risk of cross contamination, as it's displayed alongside everything else).
Turns out, they just rolled out their gluten free cookies, cupcakes, and brownies in early December (I guess the announcement must have gotten overshadowed by the Holidays). Their chefs worked for a year tweaking lots of recipes to come up with the final result!
Concerned about cross contamination with these new gluten-free items? Don't be. The gluten free products are all made off site, in a separate dedicated, gluten-free facility in Fairfield, New Jersey, and come pre-packaged to the store for display.
Mind you, we haven't tried these gluten free goodies yet...although I may make a special trip to Wegmans tonight just to pick up a sampling of these great-looking items. But here's what I like right off the bat:
- The brownies and cookies do not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives (I find that to be a great side benefit of many gluten free products -- have you ever noticed how much shorter the ingredient list is for gluten free baked goods, compared to "regular" baked goods?).
- Each cookie in the box comes wrapped in cellophane to keep them fresh -- and it also makes it easier to grab one to pack in a purse or lunchbox.
- The 4-pack of cupcakes comes with two vanilla and two chocolate -- no need to choose! This is a constant dilemma in our house...we have some that prefer chocolate and some that prefer vanilla. It's nice not to have to load up on multiple packs if you can get a 4-pack with two of each.
- The cupcakes have decorations. Although this is why they can't bear the "Food You Feel Good About" label of the cookies and brownies (which don't contain anything artificial), the multi-colored edible "confetti" on top of the cupcakes lends a festive touch, like so many of the other "regular" cupcakes you see kids eating at celebrations. So as a mom, I prefer my kids avoid artificial ingredients, but at the same time, it's nice to see these cupcakes are indistinguishable from so many others.
In fact, I think I'll plan on picking up a big supply of these cupcakes the next time our son is in a hockey tournament. It doesn't hurt to have them on "standby" for the celebration after a win!
Of course, shoppers have been able to buy many Wegmans branded gluten-free bakery mixes for a while now, including mixes for cakes, brownies, and cookies. In fact, Wegmans used the same recipes for their new line of ready-to-eat gluten free products that they used in their packaged baking mixes. But there are always times when people don't have the time to bake and need to grab something quick that's ready to serve.
Will there be more ready-to-eat gluten free bakery items introduced by Wegmans in the future? Mike Gross, category merchant for bakery at Wegmans, is quoted in their press release as saying, "We're working hard to expand our selection to include gluten-free breads and cakes, but we think all Wegmans brand products should be as good as or better than national brands. Until the breads and cakes meet all of our goals for quality, taste, nutrition, and affordability, we'll keep tweaking them."
Asked about his favorite of the new gluten-free items, he said, "All of the recipes are great, but the brownies are simply amazing. Tasting is believing."
You can find a complete listing of Wegmans stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts on their website.