When I recently learned one of my absolute favorite restaurants was actually know for being gluten-free, I was surprised and ecstatic. Funnily, I learned that information totally by chance. After getting my diagnosis, I was thinking about all the great restaurants I would no longer be able to eat at, or the foods I would to longer be able to eat. I thought about one of my favorite places when I lived in New York City, and where I go when I go back to visit, Risotteria, and I happened to take a look at their web site and realize that wow, it is all mostly gluten-free and had been all along. I find it funny that I never noticed that before, but I supposed I was so focused on getting my warm, creamy bowl of risotto nothing else mattered. Risotto has always been my favorite dish since a visit to Milan about 20 years ago.
But what is as good as a warm, creamy bowl of risotto…a real New York City black and white cookie, and not just any black and white cookie, but a gluten-free black and white cookie that tastes just like the real thing. Because it is real thing, just with gluten-free flours! Not many places can get an authentic New York City black and white cookie correct, and especially if you add the challenge of it being gluten-free on top of it, but Joseph Pace, owner of Risotteria did just that and more!
Joseph opened Risotteria in early 1999 after extensive background and training in the restaurant industry and his Italian heritage. He first opened Risotteria to appeal to the club kids of NYC and their cravings for quick, good food after a night out at the clubs. Shortly, Joseph decided he was not cut out for the late-night hours, so he converted to traditional restaurant hours, and quickly had people telling him how grateful they were to be able to eat somewhere that was serving delicious gluten-free food. He decided to take these compliments and ideas and run with it. Risotteria now offers, gluten-free pizza, salads, sandwiches, breads, pasta and desserts in additional to their namesake, as well as gluten-free beer. Everything gluten-free is cooked in dedicated ovens and prepared with dedicated cookware and tools. Only gluten-free baked goods are baked on site, so the possibility of cross-contamination is kept to a minimum.
After years of continually testing flour blends and cooking techniques Risotteria serves up an impressive and delicious selection of gluten-free baked goods, available dining in, take out or by mail order.
Recently, I had the opportunity to taste several different items, and let me preface by saying this was an absolute treat. I thought nothing could beat a real black and white cookie, but everything I tasted was up to the same quality. I shared these with my husband and daughter, who are both gluten-able, and we all agreed it was tough to make a decision as to which was our favorite.
The black and white cookie had the cakey texture and consistency of a true black and white cookie, with great flavor and frosting. This is one item that I have been searching for since my diagnosis. I have always loved black and white cookies, but could rarely find even a gluten-filled one that matched what was found in my favorite bakeries in NYC, back in my gluten eating days. This cookie beat all the other gluten-free and gluten-filled versions hands down.
Next was a linzer cookie with red raspberry filling. Again, this was incredibly impressive, and could fool anyone who thinks that can pick out a gluten-free item. I will definitely be getting a few of these next time I visit.
The brownie, which was very rich and very satisfying, and which my husband ultimately decided this was his favorite. This will definitely fulfill any chocolate craving and leave you wanting a nice cold glass of milk.
The Orio, which is a modern take on the classic Oreo cookie, but this treat has cakey cookies as the sandwich with a creamy middle, and quickly made me a huge fan.
I have never been a big fan of Twinkies but after I had Risotteria’s Winkie, which is their version of the cream filled sponge cake, I was converted. My daughter, who is not gluten-free, quickly gobbled up her portion and announced that was her favorite choice.
And last, but not least was a chocolate chip cookie mix. I had some friends coming over and thought I would test it out my gluten-able guests. The mix says it makes about two dozen, but I ended up with about 40 cookies that were a pretty good size. What amazed me about these cookies, is that I think these are the very first cookies I have baked since going gluten-free, that did not fall apart, and formed to a nice fluffy consistency! I wanted to cry, I was so excited. They went fast. I received many compliments. There was no grainy texture or flavor, and it was pretty difficult to believe that these were actually gluten-free, but they are, and they are amazing. I have never been a huge chocolate chip fan, but after tasting these cookies, I realized I just never had a really good chocolate chip cookie.
In addition to the black and white cookie, linzer cookie, brownie, Orio, Winkie, and chocolate chip cookie mix, you can also order vanilla pound cake; banana bread; bread crumbs; bread sticks; croutons; vanilla, chocolate and carrot cake mixes; brownie mix; pizza dough and bread stick mix; flour blends; granny smith apple pie; the Little Fudgie, which is homemade fudge sandwiched with two chocolate chip cookies; and their newest items deluxe ciabatta bread and hamburger sandwich roles. For the complete list of mail order items, visit here.
All mixes and baked items are made on site. Cupcakes are available in the restaurant, but unfortunately are not being shipped at this time. Risotteria will ship anywhere in the continental US, by next-day or 2-day UPS air.
For my recent interview with Risotteria owner, Joseph Pace, please read here.