With increased knowledge of the negative effects gluten can have on some people, there have been more and more gluten-free options in cafés, supermarkets and even some bakeries. Let’s be honest though: most of those gluten-free options taste like cardboard. I thankfully do not have issues with eating gluten products, but I have many friends that do. And on their birthdays, I’m left thinking, what can I replace cake with that will actually taste good?
Lilac Pâtisserie, “a dedicated gluten free bakery and café,” opened on State Street just a few weeks ago, and it is the answer to all of your gluten-free wishes. At the moment, Lilac Pâtisserie is more of a bakery than a café, but that is soon to change when the breakfast and brunch menu becomes available in the upcoming weeks.
Everything about Lilac Pâtisserie’s atmosphere is enjoyable. The black and white floor tiles paired with the light lavender walls make for a very clean and refreshing look. Traditional French café music plays lightly in the background — which, while sitting in a wicker chair and sipping on delightfully strong coffee — transports you to a worry-free zone, especially to those allergic to gluten. My friend Nikka, who eats sans gluten for dietary reasons, was astonished at the wide variety of items available at Lilac, and all of them produced in a gluten-free kitchen.
Staff who are ready to answer any questions about the menu and how the bakery works greet you with warm smiles as you come through the door. The service is amazing but it is paired with a price tag. I paid $7.50 for a slice of cake (which was large enough for two or maybe three people), so if going alone, it’s definitely something to treat yourself with. The cakes that are immediately available are all displayed, as well as the cookies, muffins, macaroons and fruit tarts. I was told that if I wanted a cookie on the menu but not on display I could pre-order them. Thinking I would have to order a multitude of cookies, I was surprised that I could order as few as a dozen.
Although there were countless options that looked equally delicious, my friend and I decided on ordering the Fresh Fruit Tart and a slice of the Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake.
I was given a choice of which tart I wanted as a few of them had different fruit on top. The Fresh Fruit Tart had an absolutely beautiful presentation. The crust had a rich buttery taste and crumbled with just one bite. The texture of the crumbling crust and the thick vanilla-flavored custard was a perfect match. The mango slices on top were just ripe enough to give the tart an extra crunch and zing of flavor. The raspberries and kiwis added a little extra tartness, while the strawberries added to the sweetness creating a wonderful whirlpool of flavors in every bite. The Fresh Fruit Tart is a good choice if you are craving a refreshing dessert after a heavy meal but still want a lot of flavor.
I was hesitant about trying the Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake because I generally am not a fan of raspberry jam in between the layers of my cake. This was no fake raspberry jam. It was clear that the jam inside was made freshly with real berries. While eating the cake, Nikka exclaimed, “I can’t believe it’s all gluten-free! It’s so good, I want to know how they make it; it doesn’t taste gluten-free at all!”
The cake was decorated with a very rich chocolate coating. The raspberry inside gave the cake a bit of a tartness which perfectly balanced the flavors. Although the cake itself was a little dry compared to others I’ve had, a bite with the chocolate mousse and raspberry filling made it completely unnoticeable.
Whether your gluten-free diet is fad or health-related, or even if you could care less if your sweets are laced with the wheat component, Lilac Pâtisserie is the ultimate stop for a quick sugar fix or a celebratory dessert. But be careful, it might become your new favorite bakery!
Lilac Pâtisserie is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be found at 1017 State Street. For more information, visit lilacpatisserie.com.