Bakeries are making a Chilean holiday classic available to all

Gluten free and vegan versions of the beloved Pan de Pascua available now in Santiago mean everyone can have a taste of the holidays.

Pan de Pascua, a seasonal staple across Chile, combines deliciously sweet bread with everyone’s favorite nuts, berries, and dried fruits. Although it can be found in every bakery and pyramids of it stand tall in grocery stores the length of the country, not everyone has been able to enjoy this Christmas classic — until now.

Several bakeries and stores have taken it upon themselves to create variations of Pan de Pascua so that individuals with specific dietary needs, specifically vegan and gluten free, can slice into this holiday treat.

The Dulcelia gluten-free bakery in Santiago has replaced the typical wheat flour in its recipe with a mixture of corn starch, tapioca starch, and rice flour, made especially by its bakers. This change makes the Christmas bread safe for people with celiac disease who can’t process gluten and others who choose to avoid this protein. What’s more, the pan de Pascua at Dulcelia is also made for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant.

“Before I made Pan de Pascua without milk for people who are intolerant to lactose, and another version without sugar for diabetics, but it was complicated to make so many types. Now I make one that doesn’t have any of the ingredients and works for everyone equally,” explained bakery owner Beatriz Canales. “The milk is replaced with water, the sugar with natural sweeteners, and the eggs we just leave out.”

Gluten free pan de Pascua is also available at the organic supermarket  La Chakra and at VOP, a café near El Golf.

“There is an awareness of the need for healthy ingredients, beyond just the requirements of those who can’t eat gluten,” Chef and owner of VOP, Alejandra García told La Tercera.

Vegans and others looking for organic, healthier treats have a bunch of options this season. Vegan café Bhakti and the Soju restaurant in downtown Santiago both offer milk and egg free pan de Pascua.

Gourendo, a Hare Krishna bakery, makes its pan de Pascua a little differently. In addition to replacing the milk and eggs, it also uses substitutes for the traditional dried fruits. In order to avoid using ingredients with artificial flavoring or coloring, the bread is baked with sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, and raisins.

So this year, no matter how you prefer your pan de Pascua, everyone can enjoy this tasty holiday treat!