A native of the Basque Country in northern Spain, some of Aran Goyoaga’s earliest memories are ones of cooking with her grandmother, of Saturday afternoons spent blanching almonds until her fingers were prune-y and wrinkled, of the smells of her grandparents bakery right across the street from where she was born and raised and where a large portion of her family worked. Working in food is in her blood. The business as well as the love of food was at the center of her family growing up.
The way her family ran their pastry shop, the focus on community and using fresh, local ingredients set the foundation for Aran’s own career in food, concentrating on the love and beauty that food can evoke, and drawing out the emotions therein. She runs a much beloved and award-winning blog, Cannelle Et Vanille, and has released two cookbooks, “Small Plates and Sweet Treats” and “Cannelle Et Vanille”.
We met up with Aran, a long time friend, customer, and supporter of Frankie and Jo’s, in her Seattle kitchen to discuss the most recent of these two books, “Cannelle Et Vanille”, and her gluten free sourdough bread recipe which is featured in all three of our October seasonal flavors. The atmosphere was warm and comfortable, exactly what you would expect from reading her book, and she immediately put us at ease and made for a relaxed and pleasant conversation.
Did you ever think you would be a cookbook author, or that this would be what you were doing full time?
Never, oh my god, no. So when I was sixteen, or fifteen, I can’t remember, we were in class in High School, and I remember our counselor came into our class and asked us if we knew what we wanted to study in College. I was such a nun, super good with school and very diligent and obedient, I remember saying I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I think I just said that because I thought if you had good grades that’s what you had to aspire to, and that’s what your parents would want you to do. I would’ve never thought being a pastry chef would be an option for me, for some reason, like I self-imposed that thought in my head.
Why did you choose to make everything in your cookbook gluten free?
Well I’ve been gluten free for ten years. When I was a pastry chef and I was not gluten free. Then when I got pregnant with my son, and he’s thirteen now so fourteen years ago, I started to get sick, I had thyroid disease, so that put me in the path of food more as nourishment. I mean my family ate really healthy without calling it healthy or having any intention of healthiness, that was just what we ate. I’m lucky that I grew up in a family that ate really well, so I had that background and footing. But you know, gluten had been an integral part of my family because that’s what they used for their business, and then I got sick from it, so it made me have to figure out a different way. People ask me all the time what it was like being a pastry chef and having to give up gluten, and I actually kind was like, it’s great, because it forced me to think about things in a different way, and I love that. I love being a bit of an outsider, and 14 years ago being gluten free was new-ish.
How did you come up with your recipes for this book?
The recipes are really things that I make all the time. Many of them are from my childhood, like lentil soup, meatballs, Spanish tortilla, olive oil cake, flan. All of those are very much from my upbringing. And then a lot of them are just recipes that I’ve incorporated and make for my family a lot. Except for maybe a couple of things that are more recent all of the recipes are very much part of my repertoire. The bread, which is the base for the ice cream flavors, I’ve been making that for four years or so.
Which of the three seasonal flavors is your favorite?
I mean I liked all of them. I liked the one that is chocolate and olive oil. In Spain, when kids get out of school the snack that they eat a lot is a baguette with chocolate and olive oil, so that’s very much of my childhood. So that’s probably my favorite. I love the apricot jam too, and I love the cinnamon of the other one, it’s a very warming fall flavor. I’m curious to see which one people will respond to the most.
All three seasonal flavors featuring Aran’s gluten free sourdough, Apricot Toast, Bread & Chocolate, and Cinnamon Crunch, will be available through the sixth of November in our two scoop shops and nationwide through our online shipping. Aran’s most recent cookbook “Cannelle Et Vanille” can be purchased on her website on Amazon, Itunes, or in a number of local and nationwide book sellers.