The Story of Decadent Alternatives

The Beginning

The idea for Decadent Alternatives began in 2000 when a friends’ 18 month old was diagnosed with severe allergies to wheat dairy eggs nuts and soy. At the time there wasn’t much on the market of everyday food that catered for all of these allergies. You could forget about “party food” – it just didn’t exist. As I have wonderful memories of my birthday parties when I was growing up; I wanted to be able to include all of my sons friends and for all of them to be able to eat all of the party food. So my first attempt at “party food” that was free from wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts and soy was my sons 2nd birthday. I made egg free meringues, dairy free chocolate crackles, rainbow marshmallows, chocolate biscuits and a birthday cake. The cake (pictured) did sink in the middle but the icing was good!  

I am a scientist by profession and a cook by passion. So it is not surprising that after the party I wanted to know why my cake sunk and how could I make it better. It naturally followed that I started making other things and eventually ended up with a number of recipes.

 

 Moving out of home

Decadent Alternatives launched a range of hand made gourmet gluten free biscuits in 2004.  At the time I was juggling motherhood while baking the biscuits from home. They were exceedingly busy times but exciting as well.  We had two Age “epicure” articles mentioning our biscuits and Decadent Alternatives exhibited at the 1st Irresistible gluten free food show. The interest from the crowd was fantastic – it was such a buzz. It was at this stage that I realised I couldn’t keep baking from home as I could no longer keep up with the increased demand for Decadent Alternatives biscuits. Decadent Alternatives left the home baked scene in 2006 and expanded into a small factory. Two weeks after moving in we had an inquiry regarding exporting our biscuits. I felt as if my pants were on fire. It was so exciting when our first shipment for Dubai left.  

A small crash

Unfortunately Decadent Alternatives was GFC’d (global financial crisis) in 2008. It was with regret that we stopped manufacturing our delicious biscuits. Basically Decadent Alternatives was no longer viable as the butter price, export costs, transport costs and the good old Aussie dollar all went through the roof.

 

 A change in direction

Even though Decadent Alternatives was no longer manufacturing I still couldn’t stop creating. Throughout 2008 Decadent Alternatives designed products for other manufacturing companies while juggling gluten free cooking classes (both private and group).  It was during this time that I developed the recipe for some fabulous gluten free bread (of course I'm biased). I approached Springhill Farm, a local manufacturer, regarding producing the bread mix under license. The Real Bread Mix was the result. (October 2016 update - the Real Bread Mix will be having a name change to Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour to reflect its baking versatility).

A much larger crash

In April 2009, approximately 2 weeks before I was due to give a scone cooking demonstration at the Victorian Coeliac Society Conference, I was diagnosed with the blood cancer Multiple Myeloma. As a result of the cancer my spine was fractured in three places. That news certainly put a spanner in the works. During the next couple of years Decadent Alternatives remained static, I simply didn’t have the energy or the inclination to create. My myeloma journey has certainly been “interesting” and I am left with certain restrictions even though I’m now in remission (this is fantastic). I am eager to start baking up a storm - sometimes I just can’t stop. Previously as a consequence of my treatment, the medication I was on and the state of my spine it was unwise for me to give cooking classes face to face. 

 A new direction

I am so thrilled to be launching Decadent Alternatives new website, one that will be chock full of fabulous gluten free recipes using Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour. Another exciting development is the possibility of me once again giving cooking classes & demonstrations - stay tuned. 

I hope you enjoy the recipes & information available on this site –  Libby

 

My changing faces