Banana and chocolate loaf

The triple gold winner from the Free From Bakehouse

“I have holes in my top and bottom, my left and right, and my middle. But still I hold water. What am I?” is a riddle that has us at Friday Feeling guessing for some time—but not so long as the idea of a banana and chocolate bread free from gluten, eggs, nuts, sugar and dairy.

Tasting the treat from the Free From Bakehouse brought no enlightenment, the moist sponge, subtly malty taste and sweet chocolate droplets leaving little clue as to the loaf’s ingredients or its methodology.

“Full marks for innovation—the ultimate free-from product,” said the judges at this week’s Free From Food Awards 2017, at which the loaf won a gold award, the bakery’s third gold in a row. “Lovely ingredients, not too sweet, great texture, deliciously moist!” they continued.

Natural sources
And yet all the ingredients we associate with texture, moistness and sweetness were missing. What could they be? Eventually we crumbled, sought out the bakery’s founder, Caroline, and asked her. “Fresh bananas, dairy-free chocolate, rice milk, apple, pear and carob syrup, and a blend of wheat-free flours,” she listed. These are from natural sources.

You may not know it—we didn’t—but rice, potatoes, tapioca, maize and buckwheat all grind into very satisfactory flours, easily jazzed up by vanilla, cinnamon and unsweetened organic Fairtrade banana chips.

The result is “fabulous lightly toasted”, the judges concluded—and we concur. The chocolate melts slightly, enriching each slice with a comforting cocoa-y flavour and enhancing the already moist texture to create an answer that in no way resembles that of the first riddle: a bath sponge.