Gemaro Bakery is open for takeout and delivery. A maximum of two people are allowed at a time. Masks are mandatory and hand sanitizer is at the counter.
Gemaro Bakery is where to go for gluten and dairy-free artisan bread, pastries, desserts and prepared meals that don't compromise one bit on flavour. Peanuts, tree nuts and eggs are also kept out of the equation of the vegetarian offerings at this family-run bakeshop.
The tiny store at Main and Gerrard features a compact shop with a freezer full of pre-packaged meals, shelves lined with loaves of fresh bread and a glass counter displaying an impressive lineup of sweeter options.
It's in the back kitchen where eight kinds of bread including options like pumpernickel, black olive and rosemary, flax, cinnamon and raisin, and Italian sun-dried tomato and garlic are prepared fresh every day for wholesale and shop customers alike.
Robert Mayer opened the bakery with his wife Margaret and their son Gerold in order to bring more allergy-free foods to the neighbourhood. The name of the spot was actually created by combining the first three letters of all of their names.
The family started with just the gluten-free bread when they first opened on the Danforth five years ago. Now, anything from burger buns, hot-cross buns and brioche buns, focaccia pizza and Montreal-style bagels, are available gluten-free.
Although Robert has trained as a chef in Austria, Switzerland, Australia and Singapore, he says learning to master the art of producing a soft and fluffy piece of bread sans gluten and eggs took a couple of years.
The self-proclaimed "breadman" has achieved this with a mix of brown rice, tapioca and arrowroot flour for the plain and multi-seed bagels (pack of four: $6) while the bread ($8 per loaf) subs out the arrowroot with chickpea flour.
Something else they've added to the menu since they've opened is the Belgian waffles (pack of three: $9). With few other spots offering up dairy-free buttermilk waffles, it's an exciting addition and comes well-loved by customers.
The main ingredients in this one are chickpea, tapioca and sorghum flour, potato starch and coconut milk, producing a waffle that's lacking neither in fluffiness nor flavour.
In the summertime, Robert and Margaret make these fresh and topped with fruits at markets around the city. You can also grab a bag of waffle mix in the shop to make it yourself at home.
Among the prepared foods are eight types of vegan quiche ($5.75). The quiche fillings, coming in options like asparagus and cherry tomato, kale and sweet potato and spinach and portobello, are made with coconut milk, sorghum and tapioca flour. The crust is nicely flakey while the filling offers just the right amount of creaminess.
Opening the freezer will also reveal plenty more ready-made meals like pizza ($8), lasagna ($8), meatless pot pies ($6.50), shepherd's pie ($8) and spanakopita ($7) made with vegan feta.
A large selection of pastries are also made every day and kept on display. You'll find lots of them feature fresh fruit like the mixed berry crumble and strawberry and rhubarb pie ($6). The sour, yet refreshing taste of the strawberry and rhubarb makes it an easy favourite.
The apple blossom ($4.50) is another tasty one, giving it some competition.
The truffle cake ($5), which is usually loaded with heavy cream and butter, isn't here. Without either of those two main ingredients, the chocolate, made in-house, does all the heavy lifting.
Gemaro Bakery works hard to provide food that anyone can enjoy and proves in the process that gluten-free, allergen-free food certainly doesn't have to taste like cardboard.