Lannie Rae Gourmet - the brand was first developed under the name Cozy Cave Bake Shoppe. Why!? Well.....we once had a bakery & cafe in Banff, Alberta. Two locations, a cafe / production space / coffee shop and a downtown Banff retail cake / confectionary shop. When we opened our downtown location, we happened to time it perfectly with a recession - yep - we are planners like that! In any case as we watched cake sales drop, we decided no better time to fill our shelves than with our own cake, cookie, pancake mixes, icing, decorations and other retail items so people could still capture the Cozy Cave essence in their celebrations for a better cost.
Well - it took off and when we decided we didn't want to have the madness of a bakery EVERY DAY with 18 hour days, two kids and no life....we did an asset sale, retained our recipe and ideas because we knew someday we would resurrect them. That was 7 years ago in fall 2010 when we said good bye to our shops and set sail on new opportunities including a four week family holiday!
Right away, a good friend who made syrup asked to take the mixes on the road with her to various shows and markets. They did well....always selling....but that was it - we never really reached past that opportunity!
Fast forward to 2013 and a move down the road to Cochrane, Alberta, we dabbled in the food business here and there, trying different ideas, hosting pop up bake shops in our home, but through it all the one thing that stuck and was always in demand was the flavoured pancake and waffle mixes. We ignored it. We know - you are probably thinking "what idiots ignore a good thing!?" Yep - we are the idiots! Then dabbled again. Then ignored it.....life just kept getting in the way!
Now here we are in 2017, a full 8 years since the actual birth of our original flavours Gingerbread & Eggnog Spice. We have SLOWLY come a LONG way both in look, taste and motivation. In 2016 / 17 we saw a surge in the demand of these mixes and TONS of amazing feedback. We know we have a unique and delicious product and it seems the timing is finally right. BOOM time!
"It's just pancake mix....why is it so expensive?" Ok - we get it....we hear that a lot and we know it is a pancake mix but wait until you try it - it is no ordinary mix! We stand 500% behind our products and we are happy to explain and be transparent about it all. Here goes:
- We are a small business so first of all we are not ever going to get the benefit of bulk purchasing like a mass produced product. That goes for our packaging too.
- We focus on hand whisked, small batches using the two feet and a heart beat machine - us!
- We use a REALLY great organic, natural dried flavouring source plus beautiful spices and other ingredient additions where required. They are all costly, but super great quality. Ultimately that is what makes us such a unique product - at a cost!
- We have to rent a commercial kitchen at an hourly rate to do ALL our hand whisking and packaging with our two feet and a heartbeat machine!
- We handle all the marketing, all the website design & technical stuff, all the communications, sales, all the ingredient shopping, you name it...we do it! A lot of time and labour goes into this!
- Our focus was never to compete on a grocery store shelf next to Auntie J's pancake mixes. Our goal was always a more upscale, delectable, unique mix perfect for gifting. We want to be in the grocery store specialty | local section or boutique merchants or in the hands of seasoned gifting companies and sweet markets.
We are unapologetically Canadian deliciousness whipped up just west of Calgary, Alberta in a wee community kitchen we share with the girl guides of Canada!
Aside from top secret ingredients!?
Unbleached flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and then all the specialness that makes the taste buds dance! We occasionally use nut products depending on the flavour we are looking to create and then we have our dried flavour compounds and coordinating spices. The flavour compounds are sugar free, natural and organic and they pack a lot of punch!
We do make our mixes in a shared community, commercial kitchen so we cannot guarantee allergen free or nut free. We do make our mixes dairy free and egg powder free on purpose.
We started that way - being a "just add water" mix, but learned that people want a choice and this way we can allow all our vegan / vegetarian / dairy allergen consumers the choice to add their own appropriate egg and milk replacement.
Same with the oil. Our mixes work with melted butter, melted margarine, vegetable oil, saffron oil, sunflower oil and we have in our own home used grapeseed oil because we were out of butter! We have not tested it with coconut oil or other oils just yet!
GLUTEN FREE? While we don't have that product quite ready for the big world just yet, it is something we are playing with and can do custom orders on. Again, we are not using an allergen free kitchen which means that as much as we sanitize and clean, there is still no control over what the other renters are using before we are in there. All we can assure you of is that we are super diligent to the best we can be. If we are doing any gluten free orders - they are done first, packed and sealed before we start on our regular mixes.
NUTS!? Yes we are! And yes we use them! Again, we try to be a diligent as possible and respect our process to help reduce cross contamination. All mixes that use nuts and nut products are done on a completely different schedule as those without nuts. If ever done on the same day, we always do the nut free flavours first and pack them away before processing our next batches.
Who is behind Lannie Rae Gourmet? We are a husband and wife team, Trevor and Alannah Jensen. We endeavour to not let this get out of control and be a fabulous team and business! We love to cook, mostly love to eat and we love to share. We are very proud of our mixes and constantly dreaming up new combination of flavours.
We have two children who also help with the business. A son, 14 and a daughter, 11 are active entrepreneurs themselves and as a family we work together to make this all work. More to come on us....