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I always imagined that finding a coffee shop or cafe which was entirely gluten free would be a mission, or an impossible dream.
But when my friend Claire Edwards tipped me off that a new entirely gluten free coffee shop was opening today in West Moors, Bournemouth, I had to see it with my own eyes!
Sharon Raymond, the founder of the business, has been running Pure Bake Cakes for years, selling gluten free cakes and baked goods at local markets, as well as to coffee shops and health-food shops in the area.
Sharon started to create and experiment with gluten free products when she suffered severe IBS symptoms every time she ate gluten, wheat or dairy.
After studying catering at Bournemouth Catering College in the seventies, she went on to become a patisseur at a local restaurant, and then specialised in making wedding cakes.
Today her new coffee shop, also named Pure Bake Cakes, opened on Station Road, West Moors, selling entirely gluten-free cakes, sandwiches, paninis and breakfasts.
And yes - it IS as good as it sounds!!
Excited and expectant, I entered the shop and was greeted by a jolly, and already busy, Sharon, and I sat and browsed the menu over a coffee as she served the last of the breakfasts.
I asked her if they had been busy that morning, and she told me that a lot of people had come to explore the new cafe in town, and see what gluten-free products were on offer.
"We had a lady in this morning and she asked, 'what do you do that's gluten free?'," She told me. "I said, 'well, everything is gluten free.' She was so suprised; those are the moments that make it worth it"
I can see why there is a lot of interest and suprise- somewhere like this which is entriely gluten free seems to good to be true, especially when the cakes looked delicious!
So when Sharon offered me a taste of one, I couldn't say no to a taste of the delicious looking coffee cake sat on the counter.
Moist, full of flavour and a very generous portion (gladly finished off by Linzi, my trusty photographer for the day!) the cake was scrumptious, and definitely a sign that this shop is going to be very popular.
Pure Bake Cakes also offers sandwiches (made with Genius bread) and paninis to take out, as well as delicious looking breakfast options with local sausages supplied from Jim Selby Butchers across the road.
"To us, it's all about delivering good quality and great tasting local food," Sharon explained.
Sharon explained that they will also be opening a bakery in the shop very soon, selling loaves of brown and white bread, and will bake all the cakes on site.
She added: "Everyone who has tried the loaves has given us very good feedback, and it's something we're very excited about!"
This really does seem like the basis of a strong and popular business - with an entirely gluten free kitchen there's no contamination issues, and Sharon definitely has an amazing talent in making cakes!
So, as I sadly left the cafe (It felt so homely to be surrounded by gluten free food!) I had to buy a panini to try - stuffed full of filling (cheese and tomato, what else!) and satisfyingly tasty, this really is somewhere I'm going to be visiting a lot!
Pure Bake Cakes is situated at: 137 Station Road, West Moors, Ferndown, Bournemouth, BH22 0HT. For more info you can visit their website by clicking here: www.purebakecakes.webs.com
Thankyou to Linzi Nuttall for coming with me and getting some marvellous pictures! Here's a little compilation of her snaps from today!