Photo by Tim Vidra, courtesy of Nettie's Naturally
Find healthy sweet treats such as this chocolate beet brownie at the new Nettie's Naturally Bakery Café
Lynette Potgieter — #RVAdine alias: Nettie — knows a lot about food. Fortunately for us, her academic foray into nutritional medicine and her personal research on the relationship of sugar, gluten and toxins to human biochemistry built the foundation of a bakery that serves something for literally everyone. Nettie’s Naturally has been providing the Richmond area with organic, gluten-free, low-glycemic, eco-friendly snacks and desserts for the last three years, and by the end of July, Nettie’s team of four employees will open its first brick-and-mortar shop and café at the corner of Clay and Adams streets in Jackson Ward.
“You’ll be able to buy all of our products there, including our cashew yogurt, almond milk and bread, and in the café, we’ll be adding additional items like quiches that you can’t find in the other retail locations [that carry Nettie’s products]," says Potgieter. "It’s strictly organic, gluten-free and vegetarian; there’s no meat in the bakery. We cater to vegetarians and vegans, and we don’t use any cane sugar. Everything is made with coconut sugar, which is suitable for diabetics.”
That last note is an important detail, and one at which the food industry should take a closer look. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 10 percent of Americans are diabetic, whereas — according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness — people with celiac disease only comprise roughly one percent of the country's population. Tackling low-glycemic as well as gluten-free and vegan desserts is a smart, lucrative and health-positive strategy.
Starting to sound like Nettie’s makes rabbit food and calls it dessert? Incorrect. The lush, creamy slices of cheesecake, chocolate torte, and tiramisu will blow your mind, as will the ice cream. For breakfast, there are fruit, nut and spice-filled friands (kind of like little almond meal muffins) and Nettie’s signature Super Granola; granola bar-like snacks are available, too. You’ll find ingredients including organic cream, butter, eggs and oat flour “cookie crumbs” in the non-vegan options, and raw cashews, coconut nectar, cacao butter and cold-pressed coconut oil in the vegan choices.
“We also use no aluminum and no plastic that contains BPA or PVC; we use mostly glass, stainless steel and stoneware. We stay away from cookware that might contain toxic elements. And we use compostable packaging,” Potgieter adds.
Nettie’s Naturally Bakery Café is itty bitty — it will seat only eight people — but its clean, sunlit, minimal bamboo and glass details promise to make it feel like a mini-sanctuary for dessert eating, and you can always take your treats to-go. The new café will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, so you can go fake out your sweet tooth like a pro almost any time.
Nettie’s Naturally Bakery Café is located at 100 W. Clay St. and is expected to open by the end of July.