Pikanik’s Joanna Schultz shares her secrets for serving an allergy-friendly holiday dinner.

Joanna Schultz created her gluten-free, allergy-aware bakery Pikanik after discovering her daughter’s gluten and dairy allergies in 2012. Since then, she’s experimented and crafted many delicious artisan breads, cakes, desserts and other recipes—all of which are mindful of gluten, dairy, soy and nut allergies. We caught up with Schultz to get the scoop on how to celebrate the holidays Pikanik-style (a.k.a allergen free!).Pikanik's Joanna Schultz

1. Think Fresh

One of the most important rules of gluten-free meal planning is to keep fresh ingredients on-hand (think fruits, vegetables, fish, meats and legumes). “You’re going to be sure to avoid gluten that way,” Schultz says.

2. Ask for Advice

“Ask people if they have allergies or food sensitivities ahead of time so that you can be sure to be prepared,” says Schultz. Many of us don’t realize, for example, that using the same colander for gluten-free and regular pasta could make a person with celiac disease very sick. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests for cooking tips since they’re most likely know what does or doesn’t work for them.

3. Keep It Simple

If you have multiple guests with various food sensitivities, Schultz suggests simple dishes. Roast chicken, lime-chive risotto, roast vegetables and green salad are all great and allergy-free, she says. Schultz also suggests that you keep an ingredients list on-hand. “Even if you’re throwing out the packaging, just take a picture of the ingredient list” to reassure allergy-prone guests that they’re able to eat what you’re serving.Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

4. Maintain Traditions

There are so many delicious treats and dishes that contain ingredients that aren’t safe for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your holiday favourites. “Stuffing is something that people really miss out on if they don’t have a good recipe to use” says Schultz. “I think it all comes down to the quality of the bread.” (Get Pikanik’s gluten-free stuffing recipe here.)

5. Experiment!

As per Schultz’s Ukrainian heritage, eating perogies at Christmas is a tradition for her family. “The realization that perogies were going to be a problem was tough, and so it actually motivated me to develop a perogie dough.”

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