I rarely take the kids food shopping anymore and I was reminded why when I took my two girls with me the other day. My ‘stick to the list’ philosophy went out of the window very quickly and we came away with a load of extras that I would never normally buy. That included a packet of doughnuts, which the girls chose from the bakery. I said they could choose something because we didn’t have my dairy and gluten intolerant son with us (he was on a play date), otherwise it’s not fair, of course. Given that he wasn’t with us, they obviously went for it and came back with a packet of jam filled, sugar coated doughnuts. We couldn’t hide the evidence, as there were five in the packet and when my son came home and saw them he was most put out. No one was able to convince him that they weren’t very nice and he wouldn’t have enjoyed them anyway.
It felt like fate the next day when I spotted a post on a gluten free Facebook group about doughnuts. There was a comment from Ryan Panchoo of Borough 22 bakehouse saying that they make gluten free ones. Do you make them dairy free as well? I asked and the reply was that yes, they could do that too. The bakery is based near Greenwich, we were due to go to Greenwich on the Bank Holiday Monday, could we somehow get some when we come? It seemed an opportunity too good to be missed. ‘Let’s make this happen,’ Ryan said.
I like that – someone who’s prepared to go the extra mile. Ryan comes across as someone who genuinely believes in his products and wants to connect with people. Yes, of course he wants to market his products, but you can tell it’s more than that. With his wife and children suffering from multiple food intolerances, Ryan knows how difficult it can be to buy decent baked goods. He understands, which is why he set up a bakery to cater for those needs. And boy does he cater. We only tried the doughnuts, but if they are anything to go by, Borough 22 does not disappoint.
My last experience of a doughnut was at the seaside, where the warm, sugary treats that hold many memories of childhood holidays, turned out to be greasy, stodgy and altogether disappointing. And to think I’d broken my no-sugar fast for that. The gluten and dairy free alternatives from Borough 22 were, in contrast, light and fluffy. They have the all important crispy bite, into a soft centre, but without being greasy and doughy. They are different from wheat-based doughnuts, but in a good way. You get the pleasure of eating a sweet treat but without the guilty after taste.
For my son, being able to eat a doughnut is a real pleasure. Watching him eat one is even better. He whole heartedly, lip smackingly agreed that they were the best things ever and that’s saying something. The last time he had a doughnut was at Babycakes bakery in New York and although it would be nice to have the excuse to go all the way back there just for a sweet treat, we now know we don’t have to.