Three years ago Pearl’s Bake Shoppe opened in Richmond in my old neighborhood at Libbie and Grove Avenues. I was thrilled because they offered gluten cupcakes as a regular part of their daily assortment of gourmet cupcakes. Not only did they offer an alternative to the rather dusty gluten free cupcakes available in Whole Foods frozen food section but they did something unusual- gourmet flavored gluten free cupcakes. As astounding as it seems as more and more people are switching to Gluten Free diets most cupcake shops, if they offer a gf option at all, only make standard chocolate and vanilla and maybe -gasp- a carrot cake or maybe, just maybe, red velvet cake (like at cupcake queen, Candace Nelson’s Sprinkles in DC- you would think she would do better, really.) This is truly disparaging for gf foodies with a sweet tooth who adore cake. But Pearl’s offers all of their amazing cupcake flavors in gluten free versions producing one or two gourmet versions along with the standards every day.
My daughter and I were happy in those Richmond days to stroll over to Pearl’s on a Friday afternoon after school (she then attended St. Catherine’s whose campus is catty corner to Pearl’s) for an end-of -the-week taste treat celebration of some fabulous gf cupcake concoction. I ordered cakes for special occasions over which all my guests raved. The Pearl’s Bake Shoppe phone number made it onto my very special speed dial contacts list on my cell phone so I could check in at a moments notice and reserve my gf order before the list of the days cupcake menu was posted on the Pearl’s website.
Then I moved to Charlottesville…
and began to beg the owner, Laurie Blakey, to open a satellite location.
Almost every time I went to Richmond to visit friends or family or do some sort of business, I would drop by Pearl’s, buy some cupcakes and beg some more. “Now that Trader Joe’s has come to Charlottesville,” I lamented, “my Charlottesville experience will only be complete if Pearl’s would come to town.” I was beside myself in April when there were no retail options for gf cake or cupcakes in the area that were that were affordable and the cupcakes I ordered were yummy but not really party pretty for my daughter’s birthday celebration.
Today, this most wonderful day, Pearl’s opened its doors at 711 W. Main Street in Charlottesville across from the train station!!!!!!! YIPPY!!!!
This day marks the end of my going into every other cupcake shop in town and being shot down with disdain when I request that they make gluten free cupcakes. I will never have to hear another cupcake shop owner say, “It is just not possible for us to invest in gluten free baking.” The days of trying to hunt down an at home gluten free baker and having to accept an order made their way rather than how I would like it are OVER!
Pearl’s is also carrying delectable macaroons (gf), rich moist gf brownies with or without toffy crunches, gf cheese sticks and gf cake pops and special order gf cakes in addition to their marvelous glutenous brownies, cakes, cupcakes etc.
I will be a regular. Hope to see you there.