I have had the pleasure of sampling many wonderful gluten-free pizzas in Columbus, Ohio. We have gone from having only one option for gluten-free pizza in a restaurant a little over three years ago, to having more options than I can count on one hand. It was just last week when I learned Taranto’s Pizza would now be offering gluten-free pizza. I immediately went to their website, as this family-owned shop is right around the corner from my house and right next door to my favorite running store. I didn’t see anything on the website, so I began my investigation.
I happened to see on Facebook that a local gluten-free bakery, Soodles Bake Shop, had just dropped of a delivery of pizza crusts to Taranto’s Pizza. I may have gotten out of my chair and did a little dance! Soodles is a name I was familiar with, so I was already liking the sounds of this.
I sent an email via the Taranto’s Pizza website and patiently waited for an answer about the preparation of the gluten-free pizzas. I didn’t have to wait long! Debbie Taranto responded very quickly to my inquiry:
Hi Kim, I am just getting started with the gluten-free crust. Soodles Bakery, owner, and local resident has been working with me on the recipe and also training for myself and employees. We have 2 sizes, small 10″, and a medium 12″. At this time, this is the only direction I am going for a specific gluten-free alternative. We have separate pizza pans that we use for this crust only. We keep them separate from our regular pizza pans. (they also look different so the employees can’t confuse them). We also have a special pizza knife and sauce ladle to also keep them separate from other applications. Probably the biggest cross contamination would be the pizza sauce that is ladled onto the crust. Therefore, when we make fresh sauce about 3 times a week, we separate out a portion to be used for gluten-free only. Therefore, separate sauce, ladle, knife, and pan.
While, I definitely am not a completely safe environment….we make our dough fresh here everyday, we do take care to keep the gluten-free crust completely separate from other dough activities. Soodles makes, and bakes the crust at her gluten-free establishment, bags it, brings it to me, and I immediately put in freezer. We are able to use the crust straight from the freezer, thus avoiding any more exposure to gluten in the restaurant.
I have sampled this crust with many of my gluten-free friends, and they seemed very happy with it. Let me know what you think. For not having advertised it yet, I’m surprised how many people have bought one or asked me about it. I hope I will be able to meet the “pizza craving” for those who eat a gluten-free diet. Soodles also uses organic ingredients in her products, so that is just another added “bonus”.
As I was out and about running errands yesterday, I decided to stop in and order a small 10-inch cheese pizza. I was able to chat with Debbie when I placed my order and the decision to offer gluten-free pizza was not taken lightly. Debbie had Soodles Bake Shop make several different crusts and then had friends come in and sample the options until they found the perfect one. The pepperoni, sausage and fresh vegetable toppings are all gluten-free. When I picked the pizza up 10-15 minutes later, I could barely wait until I got home to dive in. The wonderful Italian aroma that quickly filled my car was amazing!
The crust is quite possibly the best gluten-free pizza crust I have ever tasted. There is the perfect light crispness upon the first bite, with just enough substance to stand up to the generous pizza sauce and gooey cheese toppings. Jon, who is a very picky eater, said it was the best gluten-free pizza he has ever had, and he doesn’t say that about anything! While the price is a little higher ($11.50 for the small) than some of the surrounding restaurants offerings, it is well worth the price. I am more than willing to pay for a quality product that is made with every precaution possible.
Thank you Soodles Bake Shop and Taranto’s Pizza for making a top-notch gluten-free pizza for the Columbus gluten-free population!