A Softie for Soft Pretzels

gluten-free soft pretzel

Kim & Scott's gluten-free soft pretzel

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a city where the soft pretzel is a source of civic pride. In Philadelphia, soft pretzels are sold by street vendors. In the rest of the country, pretzels are sold in shopping malls. In Philadelphia, soft pretzels are the shape of a fat figure 8 smushed in at the sides; in the rest of the country, they’re shaped like tidy bows. In Philadelphia, they come in one flavor — plain — and the customer squirts on yellow mustard from a plastic bottle. Elsewhere, pretzels are an abomination in flavors like asiago cheese and cinnamon sugar.

As you might sense, I have strong feelings about soft pretzels. When I go back to Philly, I often try to sneak one. I hold the warm pretzel in a brown paper sleeve and discreetly pull off pieces and put them in my mouth, so my daughter won’t see. That’s because she has celiac and can’t eat Philly pretzels, since they’re not gluten-free.

I was happy to introduce her to a new option: gluten-free soft pretzels from Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels. The Chicago-based company is allergy-aware; they bake all their products in a nut-free facility. Now they’ve added gluten-free pretzels too, made with an ancient-grain gluten-free flour mix. While they are not Philly-style soft pretzels, they’re as close as my daughter is going to get for now. She loved them. Her gluten-eating sister liked them but wasn’t as enthusiastic.

The gluten-free pretzels are available in Kim and Scott’s Cafe Twist in Chicago, plus they are sold frozen in area Whole Foods and other stores. While the pretzels are made in a facility that processes wheat, they say they take precautions to avoid cross-contamination.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “A Softie for Soft Pretzels

  1. Those look really good. Kim & Scott’s regular pretzels have made it to Northern NJ but not their gluten free ones as of yet. I’ll keep checking my local whole foods and considering the two hour drive to the nearest store that sells them!

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  2. Dena Page

    Somewhere around “and the customer squirts on yellow mustard from a plastic bottle” I had an extraordinarily strong and vivid complete sensory memory of the pretzels I used to get at 30th St. station on my way home each day. The smell of the yeasty dough and the tangy yellow mustard, the feel of tearing them apart, seeing them spring back to shape, the fresh-dough taste, the crinkle of the wax paper the hand it to you in, the warmth. Ooooooh! I loved when I got there just as they were coming out of the oven — so hot I couldn’t even hold them.

    I’ve been pretzel-free for years because of my daughter’s gluten and yeast intolerances (couldn’t even do GF pretzels!), but she recently got the intolerances lifted through NAET treatments (thank God!!), and she and I each had a soft pretzel last weekend (someone had generously included them in a mishloach manot). She loved them! I truly enjoyed it but can’t wait until I’m back in Philly to get the real deal!

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