There were no Oompa-Loompas in sight, but I think I just met Willy Wonka of the baking world: Allan Swartz, President and CEO of Touché Bakery Inc. I had the pleasure to interview Mr. Swartz at his bakery in London, Ontario, Canada.
I already knew that Touché Bakery has a tremendous reputation due to their high manufacturing standards, but I now understand fully what that means. They are the only HACCP certified bakery in Canada by a government body, and to ensure compliance, they have a full time HACCP coordinator to monitor Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), sanitation, security, and traceability. Mr. Swartz took on this huge investment and commitment simply because these are the best manufacturing standards. Just as Willy Wonka made the best candy he could, my impression of Mr. Swartz is that for him it’s a point of personal pride to operate his bakery the best way possible.
Every product I sampled was incredible. I tried two flavors of chocolate dipped biscotti, chocolate chip meringues, chocolate drizzled plain shortbread and mocha shortbread cookies, snowball cookies, and a lemon cranberry muffin that was baked fresh just for me. I haven’t had snowball cookies in decades, and those were my favorite by a narrow margin. I left with thirteen pounds of samples, and my husband and family love everything they tried.
Of tremendous importance to me as the parent of a child with food allergies, is the fact that Touché is peanut free, tree nut free, sesame, and coconut free. They take this commitment extremely seriously, and require suppliers to provide allergen sheets prior to delivery of all their ingredients. This allows them to monitor exposure not only to the allergens they exclude, but to a total of 11 top allergens. As part of their food allergy protocol, random lab tests for nut proteins are conducted at least twice a month. Prior to being placed on the factory floor, new equipment is washed, sanitized, swabbed, and tested for nut protein.
My son is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts, and I am extremely comfortable serving him their products. Touché Bakery is also certified kosher dairy, and they monitor this with the same high standards.
I learned that Touché Bakery also sells frozen mini loaf brownies, mini carrot raisin loaves, and banana chocolate chip loaves. I was reminded of Willy Wonka when Mr. Swartz showed me a rack of new products they’re monitoring and testing. Through this process, they will soon be rolling out chocolate snowball cookies, frozen scoop and bake cupcake batter, and fabulous looking designer cookies.
UPDATE: Touché Bakery was on the Food Network Show, Food Factory, in January of 2014. Their chocolate snowball cookies were featured, which are my personal favorite:
You can find their products at Remark Fresh Markets, Sobeys stores, The Gift Basket locations, and on www.theshoppingchannel.com. They also supply the nut-free portion of the product line for the MacMillan’s school fundraiser and the Aunt Peggy’s school fundraiser.
As a food allergy parent, and a lover of baked goods, I give Touché Bakery my highest recommendation.
Touché Bakery Inc.,
384-B Neptune Crescent
London, Ontario, Canada