GRAFTON, Mass. - The name of Darcy Polsinelli's business sums up her philosophy about food: Dessert for Everyone!
"Everyone," in this instance, means even sweet-loving folk with food allergies. All of Polsinelli's cakes, cupcakes and cookies and are free of eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, soy and gluten; her molded and hand-dipped chocolates contain dairy but no other common allergens.
"It started with my daughter (Heather)," Polsinelli said. "She's allergic to eggs and nuts. We'd go to family events and, while she has allergies, I didn't want her to feel excluded because of it."
Polsinelli grabbed a few cookbooks and went to work, researching recipes that met her daughter's dietary needs without sacrifices for taste and texture. She learned substitutes for common allergens and how to deploy them so their taste enhanced rather than overwhelmed flavors.
When friends and family started handing out compliments and referring her to friends with food allergy issues of their own, Polsinelli realized she had a business.
"I love making chocolates and every single time I gave them to anyone, they said 'you should sell these,'" she said. "It would be expensive to do just the chocolates on their own, but I realized if I did allergy-free baking as well, I really could make a go of it."
Polsinelli recently launched the Dessert for Everyone! website and is starting to take orders. The business is now strictly local, operated out of her Grafton home, and she's hoping to grab space at the Grafton Farmers' Market as it enters its remaining weeks.
No one is happier with the business than Heather, who welcomes the expansion of her mother's culinary horizons.
"We experimented with banana bread one day and I ended up making banana muffins," Polsinelli said. "She says to me 'this is my first muffin ever.' And it surprised me -- she's 4 1/2 and she never had a muffin."