This Kahuku Bakery Makes Gluten-Free Cakes, Breads, Pizzas, Waffles and More
Try some of LaniLove’s gluten-free treats from the North Shore Gluten-Free Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Sunset Beach Elementary School.
Julie Nobre, owner of LaniLove Gluten Free Bakery.
Photos: Maria Kanai
Moment of truth, guys: When it comes to gluten-free food, there’s a stigma, a stereotype. Who wants to eat something that’ll probably have a woeful, cardboard aftertaste, and a crumbly, drier-than-thou texture?
Enter Julie Nobre, owner of LaniLove Gluten-Free Bakery.
She’s a North Shore supermom of three, with a fun hippie-meets-surfer vibe, and she’s been baking all things decadent and delightfully doughy for the past three years, ever since her daughter Lani was diagnosed with celiac disease.
“We were separating all our cooking in the household, but it wasn’t enough, because the food was getting cross-contaminated,” says Nobre. “That’s when we decided to go completely gluten-free as a household.”
For an 8-year-old kid, it can be awfully lonely to be banned from birthday cakes at parties—it’s hard for even us grownups. So Nobre started baking to keep her daughter from feeling left out, which led to being a vendor at the North Shore Farmers Market. “I honestly didn’t know if anyone else would be interested, but I quickly found that there was actually a need for what I was doing,” she says.
Nobre started cooking in a dedicated gluten-free commercial kitchen in Waikīkī, but the long commute from North Shore into town was too much to handle both work and family. Finally, in May, she and her kids opened their own bakery-meets-café in the historic Kahuku Sugar Mill.
So what’s on the menu? Waffles, pizzas, sandwiches, salads—with croutons!—and basic breads. And oh-so-many pastries: custom-order cakes, vegan date balls, mango muffins. We went nuts (sorry) over the pecan pie: grand portions of pecans packed into a sweet, brown-sugar filling on a flaky crust, which was not overly crumbly or dry. We marveled over the blueberry bread and the carrot-cake cupcake, both boasting an incredible delicate crumb. The chocolate cake was a surprise; it looked sinfully decadent but wasn’t too sweet. The secret? A Nobre-original blend of organic brown rice, tapioca, coconut and garbanzo flours.
Nobre is uber-conscious about her ingredients. Most gluten-free baking involves a pinch of xanthan gum to act as a binding agent, but xanthan means corn, and corn often means GMO, which Nobre avoids. So she uses guar gum instead, which is legume-based. And, of course, she sources local as much as possible, including Pūpūkea Gardens greens and Big Island honey.
Besides the bakery, find Nobre’s goodies at Sprout Sandwich Shop, Turtle Bay Resort, Polynesian Cultural Center and more. Right now, she’s busy tweaking a brand-new recipe for bagels (“It’s not quite there yet”) and diabetic-friendly options, including a peanut-butter banana-cream pie and a pineapple cake.
You can also stop by this weekend’s North Shore Gluten-Free Festival, featuring food vendors, health and wellness experts, yoga activities, palm readings and keiki arts and crafts.
LaniLove Gluten-Free Bakery, 56-565 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, opens 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., lanigflove.com, 561-5151