Doug Davidson is owner-operator of Gramma Dee’s Gourmet Snacks, including gluten-free cheese bread and cake mix.

Doug Davidson is owner-operator of Gramma Dee’s Gourmet Snacks, including gluten-free cheese bread and cake mix.

Gluten-free goodies made with Gramma’s recipe

Langley man who fell in love with Brazil snack has made a version for everyone in B.C.

When Doug Davidson moved back to Langley after living eight years in sunny Brazil, he missed the the traditional snack food they served everywhere. Called Pao de Queijo — translated to ‘cheese bread’ — the bite-sized snack is eaten with coffee in the morning, with soup for lunch or just as an appetizer.

“Their cheese bread is served everywhere, on food trucks, at the Starbuck’s, in stores, everybody ate it for breakfast, with lunch, as a snack,” said Davidson.

So, along with his wife Sandra, a native of Brazil, they started trying to recreate that delicious cheese bread here at home, using Sandra’s grandmother Dee’s recipe.

“But we couldn’t quite perfect it because we couldn’t get the same cheese they use in Brazil,” Davidson said. So after many trials and errors, they came up with the perfect mix of blending four cheeses including mozzarella and provolone.

What came out of the oven was that long-missed Brazilian cheese bread – crunchy on the outside and soft and cheesy on the inside.

They didn’t want to keep this tasty morsel to themselves so with a leap of faith, Davidson decided to try and sell them.

Davidson took the plunge, creating the company ‘Gramma Dee’s Gourmet Snacks,’ in honour of Sandra’s gramma and started selling the cheese bread balls at farmers’ markets around the Lower Mainland.

“Lots of people loved it so much, they kept asking where can I get this year-round? There was nowhere, just me. So we decided to try and get it into stores.”

The traditional recipe calls for tapioca flour so the bread is naturally gluten-free — which is a real hit for Celiacs and the growing population of people with gluten intolerance.

The machine that forms the cheese bread balls had to be imported from Brazil. It took Davidson six months to master it.

Gramma Dee’s offers three flavors: traditional cheese, jalapeno and garlic.

Now, the Brazilian staple is sold in the produce frozen food shelves of around 70 Save On Foods throughout B.C. It’s also available at Langley’s Nature’s Fair.

“Sales increase 30 to 40 per cent year after year,” said Davidson. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s his passion now.

A few years ago, the Gramma Dee’s product line expanded. Sandra created a vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake mix that doesn’t compromise on flavour.

“It truly is the most chocolatey, moist cake I’ve ever tasted. Lots of gluten-free, dairy free cakes taste like cardboard, but this one delivers.”

This year, Gramma Dee’s cake mix was nominated at the Gluten Free Trade Show as product of the year. It came in fifth place. The cake mix is available in 120 grocery stores across B.C.

The whole bag of mix can make 80 mini cupcakes, which is how they serve it at trade shows and local grocery tastings.

Recently, Gramma Dee’s received a small business grant under the provincial government’s Buy Local program that promotes local agricultural and food businesses.

With that money they were able to test out the perfect gluten-free, nut and dairy-free pesto sauce. Containing kale, hemp and spinach, Davidson thinks he has a great product but it’s still in the beginning stages and not on the market . . . yet, he says.

Running your own business, right down to doing the baking and delivering, is a lot different than his previous work of running restaurants and bars in the U.S. and Mexico.

His industrial kitchen is here in Langley and he delivers his own product to stores.

But for every happy customer who turns out to love Gramma Dee’s cheese bread, it makes the challenges worthwhile, he said.

To learn more go to grammadees.com of check out the Facebook page.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Violence hits Langley as gang war boils over in Lower Mainland

Three violent local incidents haven’t been definitively linked to gangs, but are apparently targeted

Langley Advance Times publisher Lisa Farquharson and Real Canadian Superstore Langley manager Jason Pietzarka presented Kristi Kocherkewych with her $200 prize in the third annual Win Everything You Didn’t Get for Christmas Contest. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Walnut Grove woman spreads cheer as winner of Langley Advance Times and Superstore contest

The third annual Win Everything You Didn’t Get for Christmas Contest received thousands of entries

Township of Langley crews were called to a structure fire in the 7200blk 208th St in Willoughby on Friday, Jan. 22, 2020 (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
VIDEO: Two-alarm blaze in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood

Crews respond to multiple reports of a structure fire in the 7200 block of 208th Street on Friday

Black Press Media Files
BC Teacher’s Federation asks for vaccine prioritization

‘Hopefully more vaccines are approved and the immunization strategy will be adjusted and accelerated’

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read