Chaz and I walked around the Vendor Fair the first day of the Gluten and Allergy-Free Expo. Honestly after non-stop sampling for about 10 minutes, I was done. Then, I happened upon a table that had gluten-free vegan cheesecakes. The flavors are inspired by New Orleans. Little samples were neatly tucked in mini-cupcake paper liners beckoning to me. I haven’t had cheesecake in a while. I had to have a taste.
Bananas Foster. A touch of rum, banana, and that crust. I swore I was eating a real honest to goodness cheesecake with a traditional crust. The texture was just as creamy and the crust just as crumbly crunchy. I didn’t find it overly sweet either.
Chaz and I were fortunate to be Shirley Braden’s dates for the VIP Party Saturday night. We were on time, along with Wendy Kaho and her daughter. There was an entire layout of desserts as we walked in. Everything looked delicious, but I was still recovering from being contaminated at breakfast that morning. The thought of eating something sweet was not appealing in the least to me. Instead, I took pictures. Not of all the desserts. That’s just craziness, right? Okay, I took pictures of most of them. Including some cheesecakes that were sitting there unobtrusively. But, it was cheesecake. I always notice cheesecake. It’s been a favorite dessert for as long as I can remember.
The whole night every one raved about the cheesecakes. As much as I wanted to try them, I just couldn’t. I think I heard someone asking every 5 minutes, “Did you try the cheesecake?” Shirley was saying it reminded her of something, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. I looked back at the table at one point and the cheesecakes were the only desserts that were gone. Still, everyone was talking about them.
explained what happened that morning and why I wasn’t feeling up to trying anything with sugar in it. I also told him that everyone was simply raving over the cheesecakes and they were the first of the desserts to disappear. He suggested I come by their table the following day for a sample of their Banana’s Foster cheesecake. That’s when it hit me and I started raving about his cheesecake. The Coffee & Chicory and the Praline cheesecakes were the ones everyone had that night.
Jay has a passion for foods and a healthy lifestyle. He wants to take the foods we all love, but aren’t always good for us, and make them more nutritious while keeping them flavorful. He was challenged by a vegan customer to eat vegan for 30 days. He thought it was a good idea to eat the same diet his customers do. How cool is that? He is now more socially and environmentally conscious, supports local farmers, and is more responsible about his food choices as a result of the challenge.
The main ingredients in the Cru Creations cheesecakes are nuts, dates, coconut oil, agave nectar, and raw sugar. There are no animal products or gluten in the cheesecakes. They are not made in a gluten-free facility, though. They
are in a shared facility that has a pastry kitchen and a catering kitchen. His baker has Celiac so there is an “obsession” to minimize cross-contact with gluten. They use the catering kitchen, away from all the gluten-full flours used in the pastry kitchen. He says they intend to become certified gluten-free in the next 3 to 5 months.
Jay currently lives in Chicago, but he was born and raised in New Orleans, the inspiration for the flavors of the cheesecakes. He wants to transform Cajun/Creole cooking for the gluten-free community so everyone can enjoy. I can’t wait to taste what he comes up with!
Thank you for giving back to the gf community, Jay. I thoroughly enjoyed having cheesecake again that was safe for me to ingest and onolicious to boot!
You can find Cru Creations on Facebook and Twitter @crucreations.