We discovered a while back that our youngest Elizabeth– just 1 1/2 at the time– had a gluten intolerance. This was not a new disease for me; my mother is also gluten intolerant, and has been for 20 years. Since I had some history, I had a pretty good idea of what foods were available on the market in Dayton Ohio. I searched for new stores, tried new things. I found that dinners and snacks would not be a problem –eat whole foods. Foods from the vegetable and meat departments are not processed, so there is no way to have gluten introduced. My problem was with desserts. Everything I tried was disgusting, expensive and didn’t taste like the real thing.
I started experimenting with gluten free all purpose flour mixtures in February 2011. I wanted my daughter to be able to eat what the other kids were eating. And if those other kids came to our house, I wanted them to eat my daughter’s food, and not spit it out because it tasted icky. I knew what I wanted, how was I to get there? I started with 4 different AP flour mixes and made chocolate chip cookies. Thankfully, I have very hungry and not shy co-workers and friends. I had them rate the cookies based on color, texture, and taste. I got honest and constructive feedback. I went back to the test-kitchen and made more tweaks, added more of this, and less of that. Again I took them to my tasters. This happened several times, until I had a winner!
I knew I had come up with a good idea. I wanted to sell my baked goods to others who were gluten intolerant and also to celiacs. I worked with a friend (Chris Vallo) to make a great logo. My husband started marketing to the local restaurants and stores. Ella Bella was in business. We are still a small business but are growing every month.
My philosophy of providing my family with the best possible food also extends to Ella Bella. I mix my own gluten free all purpose flour with all natural and organic flours. I make my own vanilla, using non-grained based vodka. I buy organic butter, local organic eggs. In short, I use only high-quality ingredients to make high-quality baked goods.