A Day in Kyneton |What to do|Where to Eat and Drink

Your trip to Melbourne/Victoria would not be complete without a trip to visit a country town such as Kyneton. It is one of my personal, all-time favourite country-towns, and it is so easy to get to from Melbourne! The one transportation network that is actually quite decent here in Victoria is the V/Line Regional Train system, and Kyneton is one of those beautiful country-towns where you don’t need a car to drive around. You will be getting the Bendigo bound or Swan Hill bound V/Line train, and it will take you a bit over an hour from Southern Cross Station. If you can’t see these on the departure boards, ask the train staff, as sometimes the regional trains will terminate randomly at a stop before Bendigo or Swan Hill. Never fear, Kyneton isn’t too far along, so your train will most likely get you there even if it does terminate earlier than usual on the line. I will be guiding you through Kyneton as if you too have arrived by train on a Saturday, which is hands-down the best day to visit due to the Farmers Market that runs every second Saturday. It is just a 10-15 minute walk down the main drag from the station to the town centre (click here for directions). So without further ado, let me show you around.

Things to see and do:

Kyneton Botanic Gardens and Kyneton Community Park

Mollison St, Kyneton VIC 3444

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You cannot possibly miss these beautiful gardens. You will actually walk past them when you walk down the main drag into town from the station. You can start your day in this lush little bit of paradise, or you can end your day here as you walk back to get the train home. Allow yourself plenty of time before the train if you choose the latter option, as you will lose track of time while wandering around. I saved it for the end of the day and made sure to get plenty of photos.

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The gardens date back to 1858 and they were a ‘gift to the people of Kyenton’. If you enter via the corner of Mollison Street and Clowes Street (click above for the google-maps shortcut), you will see a plaque that says exactly this. The plant specimens you will see are just magnificent, with 17 protected by the National Trust of Australia.

Behind the Botanic Gardens, you will find the Kyneton Community Park. It features a rustic playground, table tennis tables, and it is the modern-garden landscaper’s dream – with tropical trees and exotic grasses patterned around the park. You do not need to be a kid to enjoy this community park!

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Explore Piper Street

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If you started your day at the Kyneton Botanic Gardens, we are now going to keep heading down the main drag into town. It is a gorgeous walk, so take your time. If you have walked past the Kyneton War Memorial, then you are heading in the right direction to reach our next stop (or stops) – Piper Street. We will be turning left off the main drag down the historic centre of Piper Street.

Really, you do not need me to guide you along here, but I will show you my favourite shops and galleries to stop in. We will also be having lunch and a glass of wine along the way, so take your time.

The Stockroom

98 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444

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Back gallery space

Whenever I am in Kyneton, I always make a stop at this unique, contemporary art gallery. They always have new artists on rotation, so you’re going to be in for a wonderful treat here. When you enter, you will see all sorts of wonderful decor, clothing, hand-made crafts, sculptures, and quaintly artistic everyday items. You could spend almost all day in this part alone, but there is a walkway located at the back of the shop where you will find even more exquisite artwork.

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There are two major gallery spaces indoors. If you head down the rightmost walkway to the gallery space, you will eventually be lead to a shed-like area where you will find a permanent weather-art feature. After you have gazed into the installation for a solid five minutes, as I tend to do, pondering life and how the artist made this, you can keep heading out into the ‘Sculpture Yard’. This is an antique, scrap metal, recycled paradise.

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Colours of White

38 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444

This art gallery/shop makes my heart sing. When you walk in, be prepared for all the colours of the rainbow to smack you in the face. Don’t be fooled by how small this shop looks from the outside, as there is a back room that is full of paintings, handmade crafts, and amazing eco-ware. I think I know where I am going to buy my first ever kitchenware when that day eventually comes!

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Gallery and Home Décor Shop (Name Unknown)

Piper Street

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I regret not buying this glass bird sculpture

I stopped in this amazing shop as it had a sale on and boy, was it worth it! I restrained myself from buying anything, but I almost wished that it was my partner’s mother’s birthday again just so I could buy her some of the amazing coloured glassware and sculptures. I couldn’t seem to find the name of the shop, as it was very busy inside and I told myself, ‘oh I will find it on Google Maps, no problem…’ Yeah, no. Google Maps in Kyneton has not been updated since 2010 (which is why I am providing you with the shortcuts). Anyhow, it is on the same side of Piper Street as the rest of my pit stops in this blog. There are so many galleries, vintage wares, and décor shops, so you can choose a handful (or all of them) and just explore. Some of you may think – why would I explore a gift and décor shop? Well, the owners of these shops are genuine artists and they stock the work of other local artists from the region. If you buy something from one of these shops rather than a touristy souvenir shop in the city, you are stimulating the local economy of a small country town, and I am all about that ethical travel. So, buy your gifts here in Kyneton. Your friends and family will not be disappointed!

Quick Growth Garden Centre and The Garden Tap

36 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444 and 96 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444

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The Garden Tap

If you are feeling inspired after the exotic plants you saw at the Kyneton Botanic Gardens, or you are wanting to put yourself in the mood for some nature before you head there on your way back to the station, make a pit stop at both of these beautiful nurseries. Whenever I walk into nurseries, I just want to buy everything and landscape my own garden. The sad thing is I don’t have my own garden, but, alas, one day, one day!

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Quick Growth Garden Centre

If you aren’t an interstate or an international traveller, go ahead, buy a cute plant – if you have the means of getting it home (or the willpower… and a garden to plant it in).

Where to Eat and Drink

Pizza Verde

62 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444

Every time I go to Kyneton, I stop at this pizza restaurant. I know, I really should expand my horizons, as Kyneton is known for its great food, but when a pizza snob like me has what she describes as the perfect pizza, she just has to keep going back. Cut me some slack, I got to eat Naples-style Pizza in Naples for a week- I have been broken for pizza.

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A delicious vegan and gluten-free pizza

The tasty pizzas served here are New York Style. Usually, I could not care less when I see a pizza shop in Australia say ‘New York Style Pizza,’ as I am happy with a beautifully chewy woodfire pizza and have never quite seen the appeal. But, this has to be the best New York Style Pizza restaurant Victoria has to offer. They use fresh, local produce and have some extremely unique creations. They are also very accommodating for vegetarians and vegans. Usually, when I ask for the cheese to be taken off at a pizza place, I get scoffed at. But here, they are more than happy to substitute out things and make your experience at Pizza Verde a great one. We always get the Fungi Pizza, which has onion jam – yes, onion jam – instead of passata or olive oil, and my oh my, it is so flavourful! If you live the gluten-free life, like I try to do, (#stomachproblems and #skinproblems), they have the best gluten-free pizza base I have ever had. It holds together very well and has substantial bite to it.

Pizza Verde also has a small-plate menu, with delicious country classics like corn on the cob. I have had this before and it was divine. Vegans, just politely ask for the parmesan and butter taken off, and ask for a drizzle of olive oil instead.

 

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The vegetarian-friendly Margherita pizza

 

The Royal George

24 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444

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Your day in Kyneton will not be complete without stopping at the Royal George. Craft beer, local wine and a rustic, antique style interior that will make your heart happy – except for the deer head on the wall… I am going to live in my little fantasy world where I hope that this deer died of natural causes and was taxidermied afterwards as a symbol of its beautiful legacy. Anyhow, they have a wall of badges from the rotating taps of beer. Collections like this just make you so happy, don’t they? If you are feeling peckish, they also have a very tasty looking bar menu.

The Final Verdict, Honourable Mentions, and General Travel Tips

Well, I had an amazing day in Kyneton. I got to take photos, look at art, eat amazing pizza, and drink local wine. I really hope your time in Kyneton is as special as mine was and I hope it is a place that finds a special place in your heart. To wrap up this post, I will be finishing with a few final travel tips and honourable mentions.

 

Honourable Mentions

Blackhill Reserve

110 Blackhill School Rd, Kyneton VIC 3444

So, you are going to need a car to get here, which is why we didn’t make it on this occasion. Blackhill Reserve is lovely if you want to start your day with a bushwalk that isn’t too long but that gives you the country-town nature kick that we all love and enjoy.

Dhaba at the Mill

4/18 Piper St, Kyneton VIC 3444

I have always wanted to go to this modern-style Indian restaurant, but I always choose the New York style pizza at Pizza Verde instead. However, I have heard amazing things about this place and they are very vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

Travel Tips (Things to Know Before You Go)

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  • If you want a top-notch visit to Kyneton, go on a Saturday. This is the day that the entire town comes alive, and every second Saturday the local market is on too.
  • Plan what train you will be getting both to and from Kyneton. V/Line trains only run every 1-2 hours, so if you just miss one, it will be quite a wait.
  • Start your day a little earlier and finish it a little earlier if possible. Try and get the train home after 2 pm or just after 3 pm. All of the country-towners living in Bendigo and the stops in between tend to get the trains after 4 pm on the weekend into the city for a night out, and consequently, it can get quite busy.
  • Travel off-peak or on the weekend – you will get a reduced fare when you use your Myki (Melbourne’s public transport ‘ticket’ system).
  • Always ‘touch-off’ or ‘tap-off’ your MyKi when you hop off a V/line train. If you don’t, you could incur a $30 penalty on your Myki next time you go to use it.

 

Rome Vegetarian and Vegan Food Guide

Foodies, more specifically vegetarian and or vegan foodies, we all know what it is like to spend countless hours researching the best spots to eat – from reading Cultural Trip, to the quaint blog, to the trip advisor review that pops up in the goggle search, and zooming into the large pixels of menu photo of Zomato. I had been searching for a few weeks prior to arriving in Rome, and I compiled a list of the best vegetarian places to try. With the finest list finally compiled, we set out to attack perhaps too much for just 48 hours in Rome. But hey, we were walking 15-20 km a day right? Surely we would be hungry and ready for it all.

Oh were we wrong.

I had great desire to make this list grand and unique, and to set it apart from the rest. However, my partner reminded me that, because it is I, Cora, writing this food guide, my first proper piece of writing for Little Dove Travels, that in itself is enough. But, as our list remains not fully crossed out, this post will feature a few honourable mentions, or in other words, places we didn’t make it to.

So here it is, come with us and stuff yourself silly. Rome is too big of a beast to tackle in just 48 hours! Alas, we shall return soon. First up, I will outline the bakeries and coffee bars, followed by restaurants, and last but not least, gelato.

 

Bakeries and Coffee Bars

Antico Forno Roscioli

Via dei Chiavari, 34, 00186 Roma RM

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Antico Forno Roscioli shop front

 

After seeing this place featured in the videos of some of my favourite vloggers, it was only natural that this would be my first stop. Antico translates to antique, so bakeries that feature Antico in the title are the most trustworthy, as they have mastered their craft over a long period of time. We got here nearly as soon as it opened, and we were not disappointed! Pizza marinara, or red pizza, is always a safe vegan option and an option for those who strongly detest cheese on pizza. Australians, marinara here does not mean seafood pizza! In Italy, marinara pizza is simply a pizza base topped with a slow cooked tomato sauce, olive oil and basil. When done correctly, it is the best pizza you could possibly have, if you appreciate traditional pizza. In the eyes of the US/Australian adapted pizza eater, these pizzas look like pizza bases you buy in a supermarket that you top yourself. However, do not be fooled- this is the best traditional, or perhaps, simply the best type of pizza you can have. Italians firmly believe in simple toppings, as the beauty of the pizza is in its base and the beautiful tomatoes that grow in the volcanic, nutrient rich soil of Italy. Vegetarians who enjoy cheese, later in the day this bakery serves up their famous long slabs of Artisanal pizza that is sliced into rectangular strips to your liking.

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Note, this style of pizza features in many Roman bakeries and is, more specifically, bakery style pizza. To be honest, I would take this any day over sitting down in a restaurant. Trust me, you cannot beat the craft at Antico Forno Rosciolli!

The pastries here are also unbeatable, and leading up to Christmas time, they had the cutest mini panettones I have ever seen on display. We stuffed ourselves a bit too quick, I must admit. Rest assured, we soon moved onto trying our first Roman espresso.

Bar Rossana

Via dei Chiavari, 16, 00186 Roma RM

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This coffee shop is just the cutest. There are quaint antiques everywhere inside, the view outside of the winding streets and neighbourhood buildings are just lovely, and best of all, the middle aged lady with the hospitality of a grandmother served us up amazing espresso. She gave me a cheeky dollop of milk and it would have been rude to refuse (Soy milk advocate in the house). We sat down inside and took in the atmosphere. Travellers’ note: the 1 euro espresso you see on the signs is for the standing bar only. If you wish to sit down, you pay for the ‘real-estate’’, which is usually an extra euro.

Sette Grammi Coffee Lounge

Piazza Benedetto Cairoli, 114, 00186 Roma RM

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Almond biscotti to the left, vegan biscotti to the right

With still a bit of time before our priority ticket booking at the Colleseum, we decided to look for another coffee lounge. Yep, all it took was one espresso to become quickly addicted to these pleasant shots of pure goodness. We stumbled upon Sette Grammi Coffee Lounge, which quickly became our absolute favourite. As the daughter of a graphic designer, I can be very quick to judge a place by its cover/its logo and interior. But, the design of the menu was pleasing and as soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted with the some of best hospitality we experienced in Rome. We came here about 4 times in the 48 hours we had. The espresso was lovely and so were the cakes and biscuits. Vegans, you will find amazing biscotti style almond biscuits. Pay attention to the word ‘Vegani’ which is quickly popping up in restaurants and cafes around Rome.

 

Antico Forno La Renella

Via del Moro, 15, 00153 Roma RM

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Mini red pizzas

Another famous antico bakery in Rome’s Trastevere region, the aesthetics to this place is a photographers dream. Oh, and the food? Just lovely. The red pizzas again were full of tart but flavourful tomato, and the little sweet treats were perfectly bite-sized. Vegans, I could not spot ‘Vegani’ on any of the sweets, but the bread and the red pizzas are much to be enjoyed.

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Caffe A Trastevere

Viale di Trastevere, 50, 00153 Roma RM

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Vegan croissant and a vegan Italian style donut by the river

We stumbled upon this bakery purely by accident, all thanks to its well-advertised vegan croissant. Vegans, get super excited. I am so happy to be one of the first to shed some light on this bakery and give it a lil’ love. This bakery had my absolute favourite sweet treat – their vegan Italian donut. Just ask kindly, and the staff will point to which pastries are vegan. This may be the best vegan donut I have ever had ,and I was dumbfounded that it was actually vegan. It has been quite a few years since I have had a non-vegan donut (and I plan to keep it that way) and this has probably destroyed my ability to return back to the trusty Donut Time in Melbourne. They have coffee here too but beware, this is an extremely popular local spot (and rightfully so). So, grab your treats and go for a walk to the river bridge and take some beautiful photos! And cry a little bit inside as you can only find this amazing citrusy, warm, sugarcoated donut in Caffe A Trastevere in Rome.

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Caffe A Trastevere shop front

 

Wani Bakery

Via Gabriello Chiabrera, 162/b, 00145 Roma RM

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Wani Bakery- Vegan

Ever since watching Cheap Lazy Vegan’s Italy food vlog, I have just been dying to go here. And oh my goodness the staff are just so lovely! Honestly, the nicest Romans we came across were vegans. Funny that, ey? Oh, that’s right, the food? Absolutely beautiful. The best vegan tiramisu I have ever had. It has been years since I have enjoyed tiramisu. You will find my second place award for tiramisu as you keep reading as well. We tried the Austrian Sacher cake and it was rich, chocolately and wonderful. They serve soy and oat milk cappuccinos and, at around 12 pm, serve up their lunch options. Vegan or not, a visit to this bakery is a must. Jump on the Metro, Line B and hop of at S. Paulo. They have only been open a bit over a year, so be sure to go give this cruelty free bakery some love.

 

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Tirimisu and Sacher cake

My partner bought me a Wani Bakery t-shirt for me as a souvenir and we were delightfully told that the profits go to a wild life foundation and that the shirts are made from organic cotton.

 

Honourable Mention: Dharma’s Cakes

Via Cesare Baronio, 179, 00179 Roma RM

This bakery is on the top of my list to visit when I return to Rome one day. Not only do they make amazing vegan pastries and cakes but also they have a happy hour vegan buffet, or vegan apertivo. If you want to make it here, plan your journey accordingly as it is in the inner suburbs of Rome.

Honourable Mention: MADE Creative

Via dei Coronari, 25, 00186 Roma RM

This cake shop goes beyond baking a cake. Rather, MADE combines great food with art and design. They have vegan options and also serve lunch options. This bakery is right near the river in Rome’s historic centre and I am kicking myself that I didn’t make it.

Restaurant Experiences

I must attach a major disclaimer here, this was the category we failed to experience the most. However, I did do my research and I will recommend a number of these spots anyhow. But first up, the places we did make it to.

Rifugio Romano

Via Volturno, 39/41, 00185 Roma RM

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Vegan carbonara at Rifugio Romano

This would have to be my absolute favourite restaurant in Rome. Located near termini, it is easy to get to and has great prices. They offer both traditional dishes and a long list of vegan adaptations to traditional dishes, and it was amazing. I wish we got to go here a second time, but we will return to Rome next year, fingers crossed, so it won’t be a once in a lifetime opportunity. But still, eat there as though it is your only time going there! We ordered the Bruschetta plate, Spaghetti Cabornara and the Ravioli with the tofu, tomato and basil sauce. I got the house white wine as well.

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Vegan ravioli at Rifugio Romano

Later, we got tiramisu and espresso- yes, the tiramisu that gets second place for best vegan tiramisu ever. Just look at those layers! Afterward, the lovely waitress, a vegan herself, gave us complimentary shots of limencello. Mmm, just the digestive we needed. Naturally, as soon as we returned to our BnB, we conked out… for 6 bloody hours.

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Vegan Tirimisu at Rifugio Romano

Funny that, because just a few hours before I was slightly boasting how I was not experiencing jet lag at all. And this was just one reason why didn’t get to many restaurants. After waking up disoriented at 10 pm, we decided to just go back to sleep.

 

Honourable Mention: Armando al Pantheon

Salita dei Crescenzi, 31, 00186 Roma RM

Rejection is painful. Particularly after you have walked 15 km already and you walked another half an hour just to get there. If you plan to go here, make a reservation! We arrived at 1 pm and they had no spots left for the entire day. Anyhow, this place is recommended on Cultural Trip’s Top Ten Pasta spots in Rome and has plenty of vegetarian options. Usually around the Pantheon or any landmark, the rule of thumb is, do not go to the restaurants directly in front of the landmark, but walk a street back. However, in the words of Cultural Trip, do not be fooled by the fact that it is so close to the Pantheon at all. Vegans, they serve dry pasta here with a range of tomato sauces, so you will be quite safe. In a hungry rush, unfortunately I did not get any photos of the shop front, but you can’t miss it! 

La Sacrestia Ristorrante

As I grit my teeth, I reluctantly feature this place on my food guide. Do not get me wrong, however, the food was great here. Our personal experience though, was not. We were forgotten about and there was a mix up. The staff were not the friendliest, with the exception of one lady, who kindly fixed everything up for us, despite it not being her fault in any way. We waited a very long time while people around us were being served countless plates of food. My advice, if you feel like everyone around you is getting their food and the wait staff are not paying attention to whether you have your food, speak up.

Anyhow, the Bruschette Miste (mixed bruschetta) was lovely. I had the Penne Alla’Arabiata – tomato and red capsicum (red bell pepper) sauce topped with basil. My partner had the Fungi pizza, which was delightful too. They also have English menus, which was very helpful.

 

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Bruschette miste 

Bottega Rocchi

Via del Caravita, 9, 00186 Roma RM

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As we were walking to the Pantheon, the green ‘V’ caught my eye on the shop front. They serve plenty of vegan options here with dry pasta and a range of Pomodoro or tomato based sauces. The prices were also very reasonable and the staff were very friendly. I recommend this place as a lunch stop, as you order and pay at a counter before your food arrives, making it very efficient, but it means that you don’t get the same sit-down experience as you would at other restaurants.

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Gelato

Honourable Mention: Gelarmony Del Arte Gelato Siciliana

A bit out of the way from where we were staying, however, if you would like a unique gelato experience in Rome, go here! Why does the name of this place feature ‘Siciliana’ or Sicily? Well, for one, it is believed that gelato originated from Sicily and this Gelateria crafts its gelato only from the best ingredients from Sicily. Gelato here is an art form and is served with beautiful aesthetics. It also has 18 soy based flavours so vegan and lactose intolerant folks, you must go enjoy the gelato here, for me.

Geleteria Della Palma

150 flavours, near the pantheon, carry the two and surprisingly, not a tourist trap. They had indulgent flavours that I have never seen before or even thought of. My partner had the profiterole, meraingue and kiwi fruit gelato. I found the soymilk based and vegan gelato section off to the side and ordered the hazelnut, pistachio and the chocolate. The hazelnut was the winner!

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Soy chocolate, hazelnut and pistachio

Gelateria S.M.Maggiore

This gelataria was right near where we were staying, so we gave it a try. At the time, I didn’t take photos of the gelato but I got some of the shop front. The gelato was amazing. I had the fruit based flavours and had a sneaky try of my partners and they were lovely. When we walked passed the next day, I did a little research, and found out that S.M Maggiore takes pride in using 100% natural products and carefully selected organic milk from small farms. If I weren’t lactose intolerant, this place would ‘check’ my ‘ethical box’.

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Honourable Mention: Grezzo Raw Chocolate

As the name suggests, this chocolate shop specialises in raw treats. I really wish we made it here and I really do not know why we didn’t as it was in our neighbourhood. Oh, that’s right, we were too full from trying all the bakeries for this food guide. Particularly if you have food intolerances, you must go here for all your sweet needs. They mention on their website that gluten intolerances are increasing and too much refined sugar harms your health and hence, are gluten and refined sugar free. My favourite part of their bio is as follows: “Who said milk for creaming is needed?”