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Gluten-free market in Woodland Hills has fresh pita, cookies, cupcakes and more

July 12, 2013|By Mary MacVean

If you’re on the lookout for gluten-free products, you might just pass Moshe Groshkowsky’s store right by, because it’s called Sugar Free Markets.

But that would be a mistake. Because inside the store, in a small Woodland Hills shopping center, you’ll find gluten-free pita, which he bakes and brings to the market hot every day, as well as cupcakes, cookies, blintzes and more. His store is one of the few in the area that stock all-gluten-free food.

Groshkowsky had worked as a general contractor, baking for his family on the side. He has been a diabetic for three decades, and began his business looking for delicious food that fit a diabetic diet. But now his kitchen has dozens of flours to use instead of wheat -- nuts, potato, tapioca, coconut, beans and more. He can customize a cake for just about any allergy, he said.

There’s even a poppy-seed-and-apple pastry that he proclaims “fantastic.”

Many of his baked goods are comparatively low in calories because they are sugar-free, and sometimes dairy-free as well. The crepes he uses in his blintzes are just 45 calories apiece, he said.

A few years ago, he said, he took baking classes and then adapted what he learned to gluten- and sugar-free recipes. A little more than a year ago, he opened his store with his wife. Along with the gluten-free brands, it stocks products from Israel and Asia. He carries a full range of Bob’s Red Mill products, from flours to mixes.

“In this business, I don’t make money, but I am happy,” Groshkowsky said. He also said he's organizing his recipes for an eventual book.

For customers who like to bake, he is a storehouse of information on what to use to produce the best outcome and still avoid gluten or sugar. For instance, he said, for more delicate gluten-free muffins, use 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour or potato starch along with the gluten-free flour you’re using. He likes bean flours, he said, because they’re a good source of protein.

His skills as an artist also are on display, harking to the days in Israel when he owned a carpentry shop. His products are on handmade wood shelves.

It’s estimated that one in about 130 people have celiac disease, and become very ill if they eat gluten -- which is found in wheat, barley and rye. But as many as a third of Americans avoid gluten because they say they feel better without it or have decided their diet is healthier that way.

23164 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills. (818) 538-5181

ALSO:

Two other gluten-free stores

Advice for those who want to eat gluten-free

There are many new gluten-free products in grocery stores

mary.macvean@latimes.com

Twitter/@mmacvean

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