A new addition to the gluten-free market selling meticulously hand crafted macarons, brownies and cupcakes amid a growing repertoire of baked delights to those seeking a ‘free-from’ diet.
When Mark got in touch with me in September 2014 he was right at the start of his new business journey. After chatting about his business he asked if he could bring over some samples of his delicious gluten-free baked goods. While we drank tea and tried the delicious stash of goodies I got the lowdown.
Growing up in West Yorkshire Mark went on to work abroad for many years. In Amsterdam, Mark was made redundant and found that he had a choice to make. Find another job or use his pay-off to follow his dream and start a bakery. He chose the latter and moved back to the UK where he is now based in Surbiton. With a background in microbiology he breezed the food hygiene course and was ready to find his niche. Researching the bakery market this entrepreneur decided to focus on the gluten-free market, which he rightly perceived is a growth area.
The first product area to launch was a range of delicately flavoured macarons, brownies and cupcakes. Now produced in 22 different flavours the macarons are a hit. I sampled the pistachio and cardamom, raspberry and expresso with Baileys all of which were sweet and subtly flavoured without being sickly. The raspberry in particular stood out as it was such an intense berry pink. But I always have time for a chocolate and salted caramel which had the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Macarons aside this micro-baker also churns out USA style peanut butter brownies – rich, moist and so mouth-meltingly good. I wish I had taken up his offer to leave the entire tray for my family (doesn’t always pay to be polite but I knew I would end up scoffing the lot). The cupcakes were deliciously soft and tasty too. Another recent addition is the polenta, almond and raspberry cake using locally grown berries.
Free range eggs are sourced from a farm a couple of miles from Mark . Most of the fruit comes from local allotment keeper Derek Hale who runs a vegetable and fruit delivery service to locals. Doves Farm gluten free flour is supplemented with ground almonds, polenta and other free-from options. Whilst local is important to Mark more exotic ingredients like almonds have to come from farther afield.
You can buy these goodies online or at various markets that Mark attends to raise brand awareness. He also sells his products to a couple of local cafes and a deli. For a full list of events and stockists check out the website (listed below). Prices vary depending on whether you buy online or at a market. A box of mixed macarons start at £7 for six, brownies are from £2.25 each. Larger cakes can be ordered online (give at least 5 days notice) and can be delivered depending on distance. Mark is currently experimenting with new lines and recipes, which he hopes to introduce over the next few months. His ethos is that his cakes should be so good that they stand up against any other cake on the market. Gluten-free is not a compromise here.
So far he has met his challenge and his steadily increasing sales are a testimony to this. I am looking forward to seeing him at some of the food fairs this summer and sampling new recipes.
07985 441 151