There is a growing selection of gluten-free restaurants and bakeries in Vancouver, but one place that really stands out is The Gluten-Free Epicurean. They have an extensive and original selection of both sweet and savoury treats, sandwiches, frozen take-home products, and baking mixes. But the selection is nothing compared to the quality they offer.
Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Fraser and Kingsway, this small café is one of several popular eateries in the area. Sal y Limón is right across the street and a great place to grab some gluten-free tacos. Alternatively, head to The Black Lodge for some vegetarian and vegan fare in a Twin Peaks themed restaurant. However, you may want to skip lunch all together to save more room for goodies from The Gluten-Free Epicurean.
If the neighbourhood is out of your way, don’t worry – they have delivery. There is something about having a box full of cookies and cakes delivered to your door that really makes you want to start going the gym again …after you’ve finished binging on baked goods and Netflix.
Cream filled pastries are my favourite dessert and, for some reason, really difficult to find gluten-free. On Fridays only, The Gluten-Free Epicurean makes a Boston Cream donut that is worth waiting all week for. One day, Laura bought one of these for herself and didn’t bring one home for me…we are in counselling now. Seriously though, get there early. These donuts sell out quickly – often before noon. If you can’t get there early on Friday, they also have a rotating selection of donuts throughout the week.
Maybe you’re not a donut fan. That’s ok, we don’t judge here. I could go on and on about all the amazing morsels at The Gluten-Free Epicurean – including some vegan selections. If you’re looking for a stand-out sweet, they have the best Nanaimo bars I have ever had in my life – and I hail from the town of Nanaimo itself. Tip: They keep these bars in the fridge, so don’t assume they are sold out until you’ve asked.
If you want to combine hand-crafted, allergy friendly treats using local ingredients with knowledge about Celiac Disease, The Gluten-Free Epicurean also holds monthly meetings in partnership with the Canadian Celiac Association. If you are newly diagnosed and feeling overwhelmed and, let’s be honest, depressed about all the food you will never eat again, attending one of these meetings in the presence of so much deliciousness will surely lift your spirits.
Some people mock the gluten-free trend, but the truth is food allergies are real and are on the rise. Even if gluten-free eating is some weird craze, I am happy that other people’s food choices are making it easier for those with allergies to find interesting and delicious foods they can eat safely. Even if you don’t have food restrictions, The Gluten-Free Epicurean is too good to miss.
Weekly Specials at The Gluten-Free Epicurean
Tuesday – Stromboli, apple fritters
Wednesday – Lemon blueberry cinnamon buns
Thursday – Stromboli, apple fritters
Friday – Boston Cream donuts, maple pecan pumpkin cinnamon buns
Saturday – Stromboli, maple pecan pumpkin cinnamon buns
Sunday – Raspberry almond cinnamon buns
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