I first tasted this lovely gluten-free focaccia on a bitter cold night in Breckenridge, Colorado. Lovely as the Chef’s small hometown is, it didn’t strike me, at first, as the hotbed of gluten-free eating. How wrong I was. Even the tiniest grocery store stocked items new to me on their spare shelves. We picked up a package of this and took it to the Chef’s sister’s house to make with dinner.
I’ve been buying packages ever since.
Chebe makes wonderfully decent mixes of gluten-free bread products. Their main flour is manioc, and the bread is meant to remind us of the Brazilian “pao de queijo” (the little cheese puffs I first encountered in New York, at Puff and Pao). With a slightly coarser texture than most gluten-free flours, manioc has a distinctive taste: slightly nutty, with a tiny tang. I love that Chebe has dedicated itself to only making mixes with this flour. They’ve cornered the manioc market.
I like the breadsticks. I haven’t had the courage to try the cinnamon rolls yet, but other people have told me to stop being so silly. And the original bread mix, the one that makes the cheese puffs, works every time.
But I like the focaccia best. Yesterday, I spontaneously stirred up some batter from the package sitting in the cupboard, on the shelf above the coffee. When I pulled it warm out of the oven, the Chef remarked how good this chewy bread with a solid crunch on the edges would taste with a couple of eggs over easy. But we never made it that far. We just ate the entire little focaccia bread over the time it took us to read the newspaper, tearing off hunks of the fragrant herby snack and talking slowly. “This reminds me of good sausages,” he said.
I might just make some more tomorrow.