One of the things I found to be an big annoyance about letting go of dairy when I discovered my body did not like it was being able to go out to get a delicious cup of coffee. Yes, you can make it at home, but it’s just not the same as going somewhere and getting a cup of Joe you didn’t have to grind or brew. Soy milk became a popular alternative, which was great for the few months I availed myself before I figured out soy was also an issue for my body, and sugar is something my body would rather do without too. But, what coffee shop carries both the milk alternative AND the natural sugar alternative I use to make my body happy?!
So, I lived a life where I relegated myself to either making my coffee at home, so I could customize the sweetener and milk alternative (Tempt Brand Hemp Milk being our family’s alternative of choice) OR I could bring my own JUST so I could have another person brew it for me and be able to sit at a cafe and drink a mug of steamy black liquid joy.
Now, I know ultimately this is a 1st world issue… Wah! I want someone else to make my coffee. But, these are some of the simple pleasures living in an industrialized country affords us, and I wanted my coffee (with hemp milk and stevia) while sitting at a side walk table people watching, dang it! LOL
…and if I could actually get something sweet to put in my mouth with my liquid love, I just might fall over dead from bliss right in that moment. But, alas it was nary to be found in all of Atlanta… that is, until Dulce Vegan.
Now, I’d had a couple friends mention this spot, but they didn’t know if there were any allergy friendly options for me or not. I didn’t really have a reason to venture to Kirkwood on public transportation (which would take a good hour or more) to possibly discover I could get nothing. But, then we moved to the neighborhood.
We were walking around checking out our new ‘hood, and I see the shop. Its a cute little cafe in a row of shops on the main street of downtown Kirkwood, with a couple tables and chairs outside, and several tables inside as well. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable, and more than willing to help. Dulce Vegan is know for it’s vegan desserts and pastries, and they serve sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastas as well. They have a lot of knowledge about the contents of their food related to food allergies, and will go the extra mile to answer what they don’t immediately know.
So, I go into my usual spiel about my food intolerances, and inquire about what I may be able to indulge. I am particularly interested to know what coffee condiments they have, and to my happy surprise, they have not only almond milk (which I don’t like in my coffee), but they also have Tempt Hemp Milk too! I think I literally jumped up and down in happiness. So, I’m thinking, “Okay, I can deal with the sugar. At least I can get a cup of coffee.” As the coffee was delivered to my enthusiastic hands, I turn around to add the sugar, and what do I see? My favorite brand of stevia packets! What!??!! I must be dreaming… Right?! Someone pinch me!
I was titillated to say the least. And what is really great about Dulce Vegan, is that even though most of their vegan sweets are made with regular flour, they also have some allergy friendly options. Unfortunately, most of them use soy in some form (either the Earth Balance in the pastry itself, soy filling, or in the frosting), occasionally when I come in, they do have a ginger cookie I can eat that is free of all 10 common food allergens, which has great flavor and texture, btw. Their regularly offered allergy friendly options are gluten free, nut free, and vegan. I can also special order if I want something free of all 10 common allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, fish/shellfish, peanuts/tree nuts, corn, and sesame). I also found out that day that I could have their hot chocolate because they use a chocolate chip free of the 10 common allergens.
Just the fact there is a place I can get the coveted cup of Joe not prepared by my own hands is great enough, but the fact I can occasionally get a sweet treat I can feel safe eating is even better. That’s a rare thing in my world indeed, especially as a combo. …and hot chocolate, c’mon!
I would like to see more sweet options for people like me who can’t do corn or soy… Those cupcakes, cakes, and vegan cheese cakes always look SO good. And, my business partner, Food Allergy Gal, is not able to have seeds or legumes (like soy) due to a nut allergy, and she has lamented how great it would be if she could come in and have rice milk without having to bring her own (oh how I sympathize). Dulce Vegan already does such a great job of at least offering some options to people with some food allergies, that offering options free of the 10 common without having to special order would be like a dream come true!
All in all, I am the happiest I’ve been in years since I became intolerant of multiple foods to have a place where I can at least get a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate on the weekend, one block from my house without having to bring a single thing with me from home for myself or our son (who is also intolerant). And, on a day when I happen to walk in and see those ginger cookies in the gluten free case… I am a happy Allergy Friendly Vegetarian/ Vegan!