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In the heart of Lawrenceville (about 15 minutes from downtown Trenton), you’ll find WildFlour, an utterly charming bakery/cafe. Set in a beautiful old house, the bakery features a small service area for ordering pastries, cookies, breads, cakes, scones, etc, as well as a simply gorgeous cafe dining area, tastefully decorated and with beautiful natural light. They have everything that you could possibly want from a bakery (from gorgeous cakes to brazilian cheese puffs), and the cafe boasts a menu of crepes, salads, and sandwiches that’ll make you feel like you’re in Paris. What’s the catch? Everything, absolutely everything, is 100% gluten-free (and vegetarian).
Of course, for some, this “catch” may be a positive. Gluten insensitivity is on the rise, and in addition to those who suffer from Celiac’s Disease, there are many in our community who are reducing their gluten consumption for a host of other reasons. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last 15 years, gluten is a protein composite that is naturally found in three key grains (wheat, barley and rye). Gluten gives doughs elasticity and finished baked goods stability. Baking without it is a challenge, and when badly done it results in dense and hard bread-like substitutes. Those who are gluten sensitive are often forced to use dissatisfying frozen “gluten-free” bread products and atrociously dry, cracker-like supermarket pantry substitutes. Though the market is improving, the options are still bleak. Enter WildfFlour, who make their store-baked goods with grains that don’t form glutens (some that are listed are buckwheat, rice, and lentil–though likely they use oats and other natural grains as well).
But here’s the trick… depending on what you order, you might not notice that it’s gluten-free. I would put their danishes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and knishes (oh, the knishes!) against any other bakery’s–they are simply among the best I’ve ever had. The danishes are flaky and decadent, I particularly recommend the nutella danish which is so lush it ought to be illegal. The cookies have just the right blend of browned crumble and buttery softness. The cinnamon rolls are unforgettable, delightfully dense, not too sweet, and with a nutty caramelization on top. And the knishes… you will swoon over these knishes! Light and airy, they are the perfect bite with an exquisite flavor that’ll transport you to a bygone era. They come in two flavors (potato and spinach with caramelized onion) and are only served on weekends or by special order.
Not everything in the bakery is a slam-dunk. We also sampled the scones, the donuts, and the baguettes. While the scones and the donuts were lovely, they weren’t spectacular. Probably amazing by gluten-free standards, but only good by normal bakery standards. The baguettes were a disappointment. Crumbly and with an overly dense crust, they didn’t adequately capture the texture of a perfect French baguette. They are flavorful enough (and look convincing), and probably would do well for someone who truly cannot eat a wheat-based baguette, but they remain a poor imitation of the original.
The cafe area itself is exquisite. Everything about the decor is winsome and endearing–down to the mason jar glasses used to serve water. The cafe meal we sampled was mixed, however. We tried three crepes: a buckwheat crepe with roasted eggplant, tomato, and feta was superb; a sweet potato and sauteed kale rice and lentil crepe (which happens to be vegan) was decent but not amazing; and the potato and spinach crepe was bland for our tastes. All came with a tiny salad with no dressing–really just a pile of lettuce. Peculiar. We haven’t yet tried their smoothies and juices, their pancakes, omelettes, cakes, salads or sandwiches. Judging by their success with sweets in the bakery, we suspect their dessert crepes are astonishing. Please add a comment below if you have any special recommendations.
The portions are reasonable (it’s nice to be able to sample a few things without stuffing yourself) and the service was pleasant. The cafe environment is so winning that it’s definitely worth the trip. I understand that in the summer, they have outdoor seating available as well.
If you’re gluten-free, WildFlour is a must. For the rest of you, I’d strongly recommend it for the decor, some of the pastries, the knishes, and healthy feeling you get from eating this good-for-you food.