//Gluten Freedom:  finding a sweet oasis in a gluten-filled world.

Gluten Freedom:  finding a sweet oasis in a gluten-filled world.

By Mason Dupras | dupras.mason@gmail.com

“Let’s go out to dinner!” “Hey! Do you want some?” “Try this, it’s delicious!!” These are phrases you have probably heard often if you are lucky enough to have friends. And these harmless expressions are usually, and hopefully, followed by delectable tasty delights. But what happens when you have to ask, “Is it gluten-free?”

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease in early January of 2020, everything changed. I had so many questions for anyone who might have answers. However, as time passed and my need for food remained constant, my questions dwindled to a single staple: “Can I get that gluten free, please?”

Some food groups lend themselves very well to those who are gluten-less. Mexican food is, thankfully, typically gluten-free, and so is pho – depending on how authentic it is. However, the biggest food causalities in my life have been desserts. Much to my dismay, most of those delightfully sweet treats contain gluten. Fortunately, over the years, more and more places are starting to have gluten-free options!

The first: Ampersand.

Now, I know that picture looks very uninspired. But that is part of what makes this place great. It does not need to be more than what it is: ice cream that does not rely on artificial flavors and sugar to be good. Above is a double scope of strawberry ice cream. Notice how the color is not offensively red. This particular ice cream does a wonderful job of working with the natural tart and sweet combination of the berry while adding a subtly sweet and creamy finish.

The best part? They have an allergy scoop! When asked for it, the workers will go into the back, pull out a clean scoop, and scoop from a brand-new ice cream container. This prevents all possible cross-contamination. Will you frustrate the twenty-something working behind the counter with this request? Yes. Is it worth it? Every. Time.

The Second: Indulge 

Right Bakery

While some would argue that a pastry is not a dessert, I beg to differ. They certainly can be desserts, and that is good enough for me! This lovely bakery is 100% gluten-free. From their cinnamon rolls to their homemade biscotti, there is not a single gluten in sight. My personal favorite is the blueberry scone. The pastry itself is soft and crumbly. With each bite, the buttery pastry melts into your mouth with surprise pops of sweet blueberry. To top it off, literally, there is an indulgent glaze over the top that has just enough lemon to make it a party.

Of course, as any good bakery should have, they also have phenomenal chocolate chip cookies and brownies. The chocolate chip cookies from this business make the Girl Scouts run for the hills. At room temperature, they have just the right amount of bend before breaking. The pastry is sweet with a slightly salty taste that works very well with the sweetness of the chocolate. They leave a taste that will have everyone reaching for a second, third, and fourth. As to the brownies, they are considered pretty easy to make. Yet something about these brownies is different. They are not the chocolate bombs that overload the senses with sweetness. They are moist chocolate cakes with a slight crunch from the top and a respectable amount of chocolate chips.

While most places find that gluten-free means twice the price for half the flavor, this place rises above. Their pastries deliver in a big way, especially with the ease of not worrying if the bread will kill me. Unfortunately, this establishment does follow the trend that gluten-free is quite expensive. My only hesitation for this bakery is the price. Does that stop me from going back? No. But do I go as much as I would like to go? Also no.

I hope this has shed some light into the dark, dessert-less world in which those restricted from partaking in gluten due to arbitrary autoimmune disorders live. I highly recommend both establishments, and I am happy to say that all the items from Indulge Right and Ampersand have been entirely gluten-free.

Mason Dupras is a bow tie wearing Gen-Z golf aficionado and baseball enthusiast who studied English Literature at Fresno State and is currently pursuing a law degree at San Joaquin College of Law.