Zen Cookery – Gluten Free and Vegan foods for mindful munching. Made with love in Boston.
Founded in 2013, Zen Cookery is the brainchild of Erica Zendell, a researcher of contemporary China by day and a celiac baker by night. On a mission to provide allergic eaters and health-conscious snackers gluten free, allergen-free, and vegan choices in small batches, all products are free of the top 8 allergens, corn, and sesame.
Erica was diagnosed with Celiac in August 2012. Much of her identity was based around cooking. In college she cooked for a co-op of 30+ people everyday. She loved cooking and she loved food. Over the past year Erica read lots of cookbooks and did lots of research in order to reclaim her identity as a gluten free chef. She spent much of her time in the kitchen experimenting and perfecting gluten free, allergy friendly recipes.
In the summer of 2013, Erica was reflecting deeply on her first year out of school and her future career prospects. One day, upon returning from a weekend retreat and on her way to work at her favorite cafe in the Cambridge, she made a mental leap from, “Why doesn’t this place have a healthy, satisfying snack I can eat with my tea that won’t make me sick?” to “Why can’t I make a healthy, satisfying snack for them to sell here and share with others, especially those with food sensitivities and restrictions?”
And with that brief meditation, Zen Cookery was born.
Erica makes a variety of desserts including:
Brownies: Dark chocolate, red velvet, coconut blondie, and salted caramel
Truffles: Chocolate-coconut, sunflower buttercup, mint matcha, maple vanilla, dark chocolate, and apple spice
Muffins: Banana chocolate chip, chocolate lavender, carrot, and pumpkin
Cookies: Oatmeal chocolate chip, chewy coconut, snickerdoodle, and harvest joy
Don’t see a flavor you like? No problem! That is just a sampling of what she can make. If you can think it, Erica can bake it.
Las night I had the chance to try some of Erica’s creations.
Erica made me three of her most prized dessert – the truffles. I tried the vanilla maple, dark chocolate, and mint matcha. These little truffles are divine bites from heaven. Allergy-free and refined sugar free, these bites are also suitable for those following a raw or paleo diet.
The vanilla maple was slightly sweet with a subtle hint of maple syrup. The dark chocolate was rich with a silky smooth texture. Yum. The mint matcha was not for me; I learned tonight I do not like this flavor. I don’t think this had anything to do with her abilities as a chef; I just don’t like this flavor.
The oatmeal chocolate chip cookie was my favorite. I love oatmeal cookies and this one is unquestionably one of the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever had. It had such great texture and a strong cinnamon flavor; I loved it!
I also love that all of her cookies are also made without refined sugar.
I like that all her products are “little bites”. It’s just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. This is so much better than buying an extra large cookie or brownie the size of my hand, and endimg up feeling sick after eating it all, because let’s face it, who eats half a cookie?
You can purchase these delicious treats online. One dozen of anything—muffins, cookies, truffles, or brownies—sell for $15. Delivery is free within Boston. Place your order now for Thanksgiving!
This December her products will also be available for sale at Violette Bakery and at the Cambridge Winter Farmer’s Market every other Saturday.
Zen Cookery needs your help to start selling retail in Boston and beyond!
Starting up this business has some big initial costs, and Zen Cookery has started an indiegogo campaign to raise money to help cover them. The contributions they’re asking for are linked to their core expenses, and as you’ll see, the rewards are sweet!
$35 buys us an hour’s worth of time in a gluten-free commercial kitchen space.
$75 buys us a month’s worth of stand space at a local farmers’ market.
$150 covers the cost of one of the many licenses and permits we need to do business on a local, statewide, or national level.
$300 covers the cost of different components of our branding budget, including website design, packaging, labeling, and distribution.
In return for your support, Zen Cookery will bake you samples of their delicious desserts. To read more about their indiegogo campaign and make a contribution click here.
The funding campaign will run until November 30, 2013 at 11:59pm.
Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.