Antonella Zangheri is the founder of what is perhaps my very favorite gluten free bakery – Krumville Bake Shop. I’ve sampled several of her delicious baked goods – muffins, cookies, cakes – and I can’t help but continue to reach for a second or third helping. Where did that bag of chocolate almond cookies go? Sorry, I ate them all. But good news! – You can order some for yourself online and learn more about her fabulous bakery:
I understand that you have Celiac Disease. When were you diagnosed and what was your profession at the time?
I was diagnosed five or six years ago. I was a photographer and a producer at a production company, so it was a total 180 when I turned towards baking.
What made you decide to make that switch?
I was lucky in that I grew up in Italy. In Italy you learn how to bake and cook when you are five years old, so I already had a deep appreciation for food. When I went gluten free everything was so new and different – I had no idea what gluten was. So I started researching, and I loved learning about all of the different flours I could use. It was a new vocabulary. I began experimenting at home during my free time and got really into it. I was already teetering on doing something different with my career, so I went for it.
We know that going gluten free can be hard at first. What was the hardest part about your experience?
I would have nightmares about eating pasta. I’d wake up and be totally frazzled. At the time I didn’t know how to eat properly to stop my cravings, so I dreamed about it.
I had that dream, too! But for me it was pizza.
It’s funny that we had the same dreams! I don’t miss gluten, though. I know it’s bad for me, and I don’t cheat – I don’t need to. We have so many options – they are growing by the minute! It’s a different world than it was five or ten years ago. I don’t feel bad for myself at all.
Back to your baking – how many tries does it take to get a recipe just right?
My chocolate cake took me three years to perfect. Cake is not easy. Other recipes take about ten tries. But once you make a vanilla cake, for example, it’s easy to change to flavors to make something else.
I have to say that your chocolate cake is really good. It’s one of my favorites. What’s the trickiest part of creating a new recipe?
Well, I can’t just make whatever I want. It has to make sense financially and production-wise. I ask how long it will stay good for, if we can source the ingredients, and how it fits in our production and in the market. Cooking for a business is totally different than cooking for myself. It’s very easy to bake just one thing. But in the business you can’t make just one – you have to make hundreds. It’s very tricky.
What are some of your favorite ingredients or flavor combinations?
I’m always attracted to fruit and getting flavors from natural ingredients. I love cherries, strawberries and blueberries. And I love chocolate!
Who doesn’t?! What are your best sellers?
Probably the rosemary focaccia, blueberry muffins, and Chocolate Almond Amaretti cookies.
What is your favorite thing that you make?
The chocolate cherry cake, but I also really love my coconut bundt cake. And in the fall I make a cake with chestnut flour. It’s delicious.
What has been your biggest joy in starting Krumville?
Building a brand. This is my creation, and it’s wonderful to be a part of something that people love. I get lovely cards and emails from my customers telling me how much they love my products. Life is not about money. I was in a very money-driven business when I was a photographer, but I didn’t have as much to show for it as I do now. This is so gratifying.
Where can we buy Krumville products?
We are the ultimate virtual bakery! You can find us on our website (www.krumvillebakeshop.com), Good Eggs, Amazon Fresh, Farm to People. We also deliver wholesale to some coffee shops and Dean and Deluca in NYC. But if you want the total Krumville experience, order directly from us because you’ll have the most options.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet. What are your thoughts when you hear negative comments about the gluten free diet?
I like to focus on the positive, and I believe (as many others do) that following a gluten free diet can be beneficial for many people, with and without Celiac Disease. Plus, there are so many great gluten free foods out there! These days there should be no negative connotation to it at all. At Krumville we have many different types of customers – strictly gluten free customers, of course, but our other customers just love how our foods taste. That’s what really matters. Safe gluten free foods with an outstanding taste is what we strive for at Krumville.
Find out more information on Krumville at http://www.krumvillebakeshop.com .
Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Try out my personal favorites: Chocolate Cherry Cake, Coconut Bundt Cake, and the Almond Chocolate Amaretti Cookie.