The holidays can be particularly difficult for those on special diets. Few people know this better than Ruth Wardein, owner of Epiphany Gluten Free Bakery, the only bakery in Naples to specialize in 100 percent gluten-free products.
“When my father went gluten-free, I didn’t want him to be excluded during special occasions and family gatherings,” she says. “Later on, when I developed celiac disease myself, I decided to help others and not have them feel left out.”
She founded Epiphany in 2010, working out of her home kitchen, and opened her own store seven years later. She turns out dozens of items daily, ranging from breads and bagels to pizza crust, Danish, brownies, and desserts like tiramisù and trifles. Some of her best-sellers include soft and chewy gingerbread cookies, sour cream coffee cake, and a variety of breads, including almond poppy, ginger carrot, and pumpkin spice. In addition to gluten-free, Epiphany produces baked goods that are dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, paleo, and keto-friendly.
Epiphany offers cookie decorating classes in December. Specialties for Christmas morning include take-and-bake cinnamon rolls and quiche. According to Wardein, the best compliment someone can pay is that they can’t tell the difference between her products and regular baked goodies. “If people have an alternative source for tasty and healthy food, it’s much easier for them to stick to their diet,” she says. “Food is emotional. Holidays are a time for coming together, for feasting and happiness, and everyone should be able to participate.”