I started this project four years ago, on a train that went from Paris to Turin, and from Turin to Monticello d’Alba, a small town located in the beautiful region of Piemonte, in Italy.

I did this same journey so many times: with good weather, with bad weather, with the rain, with the snow, with 40° C and more… Oh boy, it was hot!

Each time the train left me on a platform where there was nothing around, no train station, no one to ask for a direction (in case I needed one and at the beginning of this adventure it was often the case…) just me and the highway, I was the only one to walk on foot and to cross it to get to my final destination.

I went there to meet with my chef, the person who chose to believe with me in this project, and not because I had money to offer or a job title to impress him with, but because I had a project that resonated with his values and because I believed in it strongly and passionately.

The day I met him and he said yes, one of the most beautiful days of my life!

When you can’t eat gluten anymore – and I was diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago – you dream of few things and bread was one of them for me: a fluffy, airy, fragrant, natural bread to make toasts or sandwiches again.

I am someone who loves simple things, those big little pleasures that make each present moment special, that enrich my life like stars on a deep, blue sky.

At the time, the money I was making with my job in Paris ended up in this project, and I did it with much joy and determination.

chiara on a train

I started everything from scratch: I came to Paris on my own, with just a suitcase and a room booked on Airbnb, but most of all, with the courage to believe in my dreams, me who didn’t have any as they made me believe that I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t like everybody’s else… If all the suffering that I endured as a child and as an adolescent served to something, it’s that they gave me the strength to stand up on my feet, to be joyful, to smile back at life, to become the woman I am today and to somehow turn it into a…blessing!

I have to tell you that it’s not all the time easy, parts of me still need healing and I keep working on them constantly, but the burning desire to say that I can accomplish my life a little bit more everyday, like everyone’s else, makes me deeply and profoundly happy.

Years passed by quickly and every step we took on this project was made of meetings, exchanges, beautiful encounters, essays, and attempts, starting it all over, moving forward…a man and a woman, my chef and I…I will never ever forget all the moments we spent together until the day he nailed the recipe down, he came out with a bread we all loved and were enthusiasts about!

However, I quickly learned that in life, when you accomplish something, sometimes in order to make the next step, you have to face an even bigger difficulty…and there I was and life seemed saying to me: “And now Chiara, what would you like to do? To stop or to keep going?”

Buddhism that is part of my life and especially my Japanese master, Mr M. Josei Toda, taught me that life is like a mountain, there are prairies, valleys where you can rest but then, in order to get to the summit, you have to keep climbing over and over.

My chef had in the meantime changed his mind: he wasn’t willing to be part of a new brand as he had several TV shows, books to write, and a brand of his own to manage.

During those years I created my blog Baci di Dama Living gluten free where I share places to eat gluten free all around the world, recipes, tips and advice, products reviews, and also projects by other people that I admire and that inspire me in their daily life and accomplishments.

Even if I got discouraged to create it by people around me at the time who didn’t see the interest of yet “another” food blog, inside of me, I knew that it would open new doors in my life…

It’s like that that one day, in Paris, I met my new and beautiful business partner, l’Atelier des Lilas.

chiara and the atelier des lilas in paris
our gluten free bread with figue by atelier des lilas

I wished to interview co-founder Alexandra Chaillat because I loved her project and I wanted to support it via my blog.

That day is still vivid on my mind: we had so much in common, we both have celiac disease and wanted to show that eating gluten free is no bad or tasteless but just a valid alternative to wheat, that can be ‘that’ good!

Today it’s also thanks to Alexandra’s skills and determination that our bread is in production, it’s organic, made with natural sourdough and available in three versions: with poppy seeds, multi-grains, and cinnamon-raisins.

Our biggest client is Grande Epicerie de Paris… a dream that has become true for us and also for the great team of the Atelier des Lilas who puts so much work and effort to make this bread everyday.

Actually baking great tasting artisanal bread means waking up very early in the morning, learn to feel it, to nourish the sourdough properly and constantly because it is alive, bread is actually a living thing, it is sensitive to any change of weather, temperature, the person who bakes it…and it has always something to say about it in its own peculiar way…!

But we love it like that.

A new chapter of my life has started for me and The Atelier des Lilas, a piece of our life story that we are happy and grateful to share with all of you, your feedbacks are so precious, they help us grow and get better in what we do. So let us know if you get the chance to taste it.

A big Baci to each one of you,


pS One special thank you to my dearest girl friends Alexandra, Laura, Amélie and Audrey, who gave me the courage to write and share my story about this project, who take this little girl by the hand on her way to become a fully accomplished woman.

I love each one of you beyond words.

gluten free bread atelier des lilas
our gluten free bread yummy and organic

L’Atelier des Lilas

Pain sans gluten en vente:
7.00 – 20.00
Closed on Monday






  • Avatar Siobhan Conlon says:

    Chiara this was so moving to read your story of determination, perseverance and belief in your bread project despite obstacles you endured. I am delighted that it has finally come to fruition for you. I come from a big family of coeliacs this includes my two grown up daughters. I was diagnosed 7 years ago . It so hard to buy fresh gluten free bread so I created my own recipe of wheaten gluten free bread. Wishing you continued success and happiness
    Siobhan Conlon

    • Avatar bacididama says:

      Dear Siobhan, thank you so much ! your words your support touch me and move me beyond words …! I hope that one day our path will lead us to meet in person 🙂 sending you one big warm hug from Paris!

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