If you call yourself gluten-free, then you must have either heard of or visited a Sweet Ali’s Bakery location. Either way, you might want to keep reading for a secret Expo surprise.
The first time I had the pleasure of tasting a Sweet Ali’s treat was at the 2015 Chicagoland Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly (GF&AF) Expo. My then 7-year-old son had just got diagnosed with celiac disease, and I was on fire for he and I to learn about and sample every GF item we could get our mouths on! This would be the first time my son could eat safely and freely since his diagnosis. We bought as many cupcakes and cinnamon buns as we could carry, and we were happy Sweet Ali’s fans ever since.
When I got selected as an official blogger for this year’s Expo, I figured I had a perfect excuse to pick up some GF delights, learn more about Sweet Ali’s (and its founder, Ali Graeme), and do some GF&AF Expo reconnaissance.
Getting to know Sweet Ali’s
I was pleased to sit down with the hospitable Karrie Kummerer, who is currently the Business Manager for both Sweet Ali’s locations. Their Hinsdale location opened in 2010 and the Glenview location opened in 2016. Sweet Ali’s has had a booth at the GF&AF Expo since 2010.
I was interested to learn that both Sweet Ali herself and I have sons with celiac disease. Her son’s diagnosis (and then her own) fueled the creation of her own GF flour blend, and ultimately the turning of her baking passion into a business. Thank you, Ali Graeme, for that! Being the disappointing and fearful baker that I am, I can only eat and appreciate others’ GF goodies.
Here are some cool Sweet Ali’s did-you-knows:
- Sweet Ali’s products are mostly non-GMO and all preservative-free.
- They have numerous dairy-free items, including their tea breads (banana, blueberry, and carrot), cherry crumble pie, many cupcakes and cakes, challah bread, and much more.
- They carry some vegan items, such as focaccia bread, pizza dough, brownies, and chocolate chunk cookies (as specified).
- Sweet Ali’s is ½ wholesale and ½ retail, offering items at over 150 wholesale locations. Mariano’s, Whole Foods, Egg Harbor, Fruitful Yield, and Fresh Thyme all carry Sweet Ali’s products.
OK, now who’s ready for some GF&AF Expo insider info?
Sweet Ali’s Expo theme this year is “Everything is buzzing at Sweet Ali’s.” So, you can expect delicious and adorable bee-themed cupcakes and cookies.
This year, Sweet Ali’s will be sampling:
- Vegan crumble
- Tempe (Chex-like) Mix, which is dairy-free but contains nuts
Sweet Ali’s will be selling:
- Cinnamon buns
- Vegan crumble
- Tempe Mix
- GF flour and pancake mixes
Special Expo pricing will also be available for some of these items. Shhhh! Don’t tell everyone or there won’t be any left when I get to the booth!
(Don’t forget to keep reading for the special Expo Offer!)
…And there’s more!
That’s not all, GF friends! Sweet Ali’s will be offering giveaways, tchotchkes, and raffles. The two raffle prizes are a Sweet Ali’s’ treat box delivered to your door and a lunch and tour with Ali. You can choose which raffle prize you’d prefer to win. (This is great for the many out-of-town Expo visitors!) Also, with any purchase of $25 or more, you receive a custom freezer bag. (I have one and love it!)
Before I reveal the Expo surprise, I would like to mention some Sweet Ali’s news and upcoming events:
- Sweet Ali’s is now an official sponsor of the Chicago Red Stars women’s soccer team. Woo-hoo!
- April 14th — Happy Anniversary to Sweet Ali’s! To celebrate their 8th year in business, there will be a special promotion at both locations for Loyalty Members.
- April 20th — Sweet Ali’s will be participating in the University of Chicago Spring Flours™ Gluten-Free Gala by offering a selection of desserts at each table.
- April (date to be announced) — there will be shipping promo.
- June — A kids coloring page promotion will take place.
- July — Both locations will host summer camps! (Details will be available soon!)
Nothing like leaving your readers hanging, so here goes! The first 20 Chicagoland GF&AF Expo attendees who mention my handle, “Its a Wheatless Life,” at the Sweet Ali’s Booth will receive a free bee-themed cookie. Also, any attendees wearing a Sweet Ali’s t-shirt will receive a free cookie.
That’s all of the good news I have for now! Sweet Ali’s and I both look forward to seeing you at this year’s Chicagoland GF&AF Expo!