Sure, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I just couldn't resist . . . when I read about a bakery in Rhode Island called A&J Bakery that had come out with an allergy-friendly gingerbread house kit this year, I called and ordered one right away. And when it arrived this week, I couldn't wait. I think we'll order another one, to put together on Christmas day. And maybe some as gifts for other people, who don't even have allergies, because I'd like a bakery to be supported for offering such a wonderful product. And besides, it will give me a chance to focus a little more on the aesthetics. I was just thrilled to be able to be making a gingerbread house with an egg-, dairy-, wheat-, nut-, sesame-allergic child... I didn't care much what it looked like.
I called and ordered our kit over the phone (the website, the last time I looked, still needed to be updated to reflect that the kits are free of all of my son's allergens, so I wanted to call and double check). The person I spoke to seemed very knowledgeable about allergies, explained which allergens were and weren't present in their manufacturing facilities, and clued me in to the fact that the candy included in the kits is made by Gimbal's Candy in California.
How do you like this label, from Gimbal's website?
My only complaint is that the kit doesn't come with any ingredient lists, including on the candy. I admit that I was nervous to try the candy when it arrived, because it didn't have ingredients or a name of a company or anything so I could double check that it was safe (I had forgotten the name he told me over the phone). That's why the house you see above is decorated with smarties and dum dums. Later, I emailed the bakery to get the name of the candy supplier again, and I've since eaten the candy provided, since I'm comfortable having seen their website that they should be safe for us. The candy is wonderful, and I give major kudos to A&J for providing such quality candy with the kit. I'm sure there were cheaper alternatives they could have gotten away with. The candy included in our kit were packaged in three small bags - one of thick chewy (scrumptious) black licorice scottie dogs, one of soft, sweet chewy red and black candies covered with non-periels, and one of a mixture of gourmet jelly beans. Also included
with the kits were all of the plastic figures you see on our house - deer, Christmas trees, gifts, and a little Santa. My two-year old was absolutely delighted with every piece.
I was really impressed that the kit arrived in tact -- 6 pieces ready for assembly (4 sides plus 2 for the roof) -- with clear instructions, including a recipe for frosting, and that the cookie pieces remained in one piece all through assembly, even though I totally ignored the directions to make it a two-day process to make sure the base was stable before adding the roof.
But, how does it taste? Very good! We've been taking the house down now and then and nibbling at it. After approximately 24 hours, it looks like this:
Just to be clear - it is not falling apart. We're devouring it. Thank you, A&J, for allowing us to add a new Christmas tradition to our family, allergies and all.
(Note: we were not provided with any products or remuneration for this post; we're just very satisfied, grateful customers).