BY CRAIG MATTSON | PHOTOS BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
Lars Schloemer and Susan Goulet in their bakery
Susan Goulet knows firsthand how food allergies can impact a person’s life.
Her father suffered from Crohn’s disease and her sister experienced multiple food sensitivities from birth, making it difficult for the family to dine out when Goulet was a child. Food-centered gatherings proved challenging too.
Years later, Goulet also developed Crohn’s disease. Always fond of being in the kitchen, she was inspired to create allergen-free food — a subject not well understood when she was growing up. Before the gluten-free craze became a public phenomenon, Goulet had already developed a repertoire of tasty, allergen-free recipes.
“I had to turn around and make things I could still serve to a pretty discerning crowd,” Goulet says.
She served her creations at parties and at Milwaukee Yoga Center, the yoga studio she owns. Goulet’s friends and family told her that her recipes were just as good, if not better, than conventionally made food, and encouraged her to open a bakery.
Supported by friends and family, Goulet and her partner Lars Schloemer did just that, opening Blooming Lotus Gourmet Bakery in July 2015. Schloemer has a background in the food world too. His father owned two bakeries in Cincinnati, and his grandfather owned bakeries in Germany.
At Blooming Lotus, Goulet and Schloemer’s team makes baked goods containing no grains, gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, cane sugar, oils or yeast, all without compromising taste — offering the perfect solution for people with dietary restrictions who might not otherwise have the chance to eat gourmet bakery items. For individuals battling celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes or other food-sensitive conditions, Blooming Lotus offers a broad selection of accessible, truly tasty treats.
Goulet credits this type of diet, in combination with yoga, for being able to ease her Crohn’s disease without medication.
When customers walk into Goulet’s and Schloemer’s bright and friendly Milwaukee store at 2215 E. North Avenue and see intricately decorated cookies and cupcakes topped with thick, mouth-watering chocolate frosting, they are amazed to learn just how healthy these treats truly are. But this bakery is not just for people with dietary restrictions; Goulet and Schloemer aim to make their bakery appealing to everyone.
“Fifty percent of our clientele doesn’t have allergies,” Schloemer says. “[Our bakery] just tastes better, and they feel better eating it.”
In addition to shunning allergens, Blooming Lotus baked goods contain more fiber and two to four times more protein than similar baked goods, and have no fillers. And because the bakery uses coconut palm sugar instead of cane sugar, people don’t feel an energy plummet after eating their products.
The Blooming Lotus menu is often inspired by discussions with the bakery’s devoted customers. After chatting with a vegan patron, Goulet and Schloemer stopped using honey in three items, which made their bakery completely vegan. When they were approached by a rabbi, Blooming Lotus became the only certified kosher bakery in Southeastern Wisconsin.
In fact, Blooming Lotus has created a community centered on great tasting food and healthy living that even visitors from across the country appreciate. They’ve also received inquiries about franchising their business. That sort of customer interaction has made Blooming Lotus Gourmet Bakery a community mainstay. People are welcome to stop by and ask questions. “We offer a consultative approach to serving your bakery needs,” Schloemer explains.
“We’re considering our options,” the duo says.
But this is not just health food; it’s food designed to indulge the palate while nourishing the body.
Among the bakery’s many delicious options, bestsellers include cinnamon rolls, lemon poppy seed muffins, cashew butter cookies, cashew Indulgent Bars, chocolate cupcakes, Hippie Scones and their new nut-free Tiger Rolls. They’re developing additional nut-free options, and make their own ice cream, which they serve with cake
The holidays are a peak time for business. Blooming Lotus will begin taking Thanksgiving orders on Nov. 1; they frequently bake hundreds of pies for that holiday alone. So, whether you’re serving family and friends with diverse dietary needs at the holidays or other special occasions, or just want healthier baked treats throughout the year, you’ll find them — and likeminded friends — at Blooming Lotus Gourmet Bakery.
In Schloemer’s words, “As far as we know, we’re the only bakery on the planet doing this.” MKE