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The Happy Tart
410 South Maple Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
A Celiacs Dream Come True -- Gluten Free Bakery

Reviewer: Sassymolassie from
Reviewed on Sep 21, 2012

This bakery has become a second home to me. Since finding out last October (2011) that I have a strong gluten intolerance, I struggled with finding things to eat that weren't raw foods or plain cooked meat. I was SO SICK OF SALADS and the frozen breads and cookies and bagels and english muffins were so hard and grainy (even the kinds most celiacs find to be acceptable!)... Then along came "The Happy Tart" in January, just before my birthday. A fellow-gluten-intolerant soul brought me a selection of fine baked goods when I was sick, and I remember biting into a lemon tart and immediately smiling as the filling and marshmallow ran down my face. Now this, THIS was delicious! When I had to have my double mastectomy in March (I'm 29, so it was kind of a big deal), Emma made the cake for my "going away" party, which was shaped like breasts with a bra on them and read "ta-ta to the ta-ta's!" It was beautiful, delicious, and so special. During my 6 week recovery, I sent my parents there for bread and treats almost every day - so often, in fact, that they would have my order ready before my Mom would step into the door. My non-celiac Dad and Boyfriend have both proclaimed the Chocolate Chip Cookies to be among the best that they have eaten, and for his 59th birthday, Emma made my Dad a Boston Cream Pie cake - finally, one we could all enjoy! Now, my non-celiac boyfriend and I hang out there regularly, and have become friends with Emma Cech and her lovely family. They have amazing stories, but my favorites are the ones that she tells about her French culinary school (La Academie de Cuisine) and the wonderful ways she adapted what she had learned in order to make flaky crust and moist cakes -- adjectives not normally associated with gluten-free foods. She also has a great pastry assistant, Ben, who likes to come up with fun combinations (a beer and bacon cupcake?!). The best part about this place is the people. If you sit and watch a celiac child enter this bakery and be told that he or she can pick ANYTHING in the store, the tears that well up in their eyes is priceless. Even adults react this way (hell, *I* reacted this way!) - Emma has told me on countless occasions that people have driven very, very far and have burst into happy tears at the sight of the overflowing bakery case and racks of bread loaves and other goodies. Me, I'm simple. A loaf of fresh-baked Brioche every Thursday (which my boyfriend and I use to make French Toast on the weekends) and a treat here or there (or, in last week's case, an entire apple cinnamon cake - I polished off the last bit this morning!), but I'm also still a sucker for those lemon tarts! Bottom Line: The people are wonderful, the food is INCREDIBLE and it is truly a place where everyone is welcome - celiac or not. I would give this place a THOUSAND palms if I could...

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