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Gluten- and lactose-free Easter cakes growing in popularity

Bakers say the taste and prices have already reached levels of traditional treats

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17 April 2022 12:49 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Easter is a time for a special treat in Catalonia – the ‘Mona de Pasqua’ traditional cake. The sponge cake is topped with a chocolate figurine, commonly given in Catalonia during the Easter weekend. Bakeries across the territory plan their designs long in advance to appeal to godparents that will gift to children of all ages the Easter cakes. 

The cakes are made with chocolate, almonds, flour, and eggs, but some bakers differentiate between the sponge cake and the chocolate structures that they design well in advance before traditionally being gifted and eaten on Easter Monday.

As appealing as this may be to many, people with intolerances to gluten and dairy will not be able to enjoy the traditional cakes like the rest of the population. 

Listen to our podcast to learn more about the 'Mona de Pasqua' in Catalonia.

However, the pastry industry has gradually responded to the needs of customers and it is increasingly common to find places that offer ‘Monas de Pasqua’ suitable for celiacs and the lactose intolerant

As supply has grown, so has quality. "Before, families used to take a small cake for their godchild with intolerance, but now the whole family eats it without noticing the difference," Antoni Pons, a pastry chef from Celiadictos, told ACN. Celiadictos is a speciality bakery catering for those with gluten intolerances.

The next big challenge, Pons points out, is to have more lactose-free chocolate workshops, to be able to offer more varied figurines, an important creative feature of the Easter cakes.

Since this pastry shop opened in the Corts district of Barcelona ​​eight years ago, they have seen their clientele grow exponentially ahead of Easter. From making only around 20 of the ‘Monas de Pasqua’ cakes in 2014, they have increased production up to 180 this year.

"Year after year, there is a growing demand because there are more and more people with intolerances and allergies," says Pons, who welcomes the growing popularity of businesses offering products for these customers. He says he often finds people coming to his store very "excited" to see Easter cakes suitable for their dietary requirements. “There are people who haven’t been able to find the right product for them for years,” he says.

According to Pons, gluten-free and lactose-free cakes have matched the taste of traditional cakes, but have also come down to the same price range. 

The baker explains that the entire shop works with wheat-free flours, meaning there is no risk of contagion between foods. For this reason, other pastry shops in Barcelona even commission them to make gluten-free and lactose-free ‘Monas de Pasqua’.

As for the chocolate figurines, the only condition on the bakery is to use a certain type of dark chocolate, which doesn’t cause much of an issue either. He admits, however, that the pastry industry, in general, has ventured very little into the world of decoratively crafted Easter figurines suitable for lactose-free eaters.

Easter is a time for a special treat in Catalonia – the ‘Mona de Pasqua’ traditional cake. The sponge cake is topped with a chocolate figurine, commonly given in Catalonia during the Easter weekend. Bakeries across the territory plan their designs long in advance to appeal to godparents that will gift to children of all ages the Easter cakes. 

The cakes are made with chocolate, almonds, flour, and eggs, but some bakers differentiate between the sponge cake and the chocolate structures that they design well in advance before traditionally being gifted and eaten on Easter Monday.

As appealing as this may found to many, people with intolerances to gluten and dairy will not be able to enjoy the traditional cakes like the rest of the population. 

However, the pastry industry has gradually responded to the needs of customers and it is increasingly common to find places that offer ‘Monas de Pasqua’ suitable for celiacs and the lactose intolerant. 

As supply has grown, so has quality. "Before, families used to take a small cake for their godchild with intolerance, but now the whole family eats it without noticing the difference," Antoni Pons, a pastry chef from Celiadictos, told ACN. Celiadictos is a speciality bakery catering for those with gluten intolerances.

The next big challenge, Pons points out, is to have more lactose-free chocolate workshops, to be able to offer more varied figurines, an important creative feature of the Easter cakes.

Since this pastry shop opened in the Corts district of Barcelona ​​eight years ago, they have seen their clientele grow exponentially ahead of Easter. From making only around 20 of the ‘Monas de Pasqua’ cakes in 2014, they have increased production up to 180 this year.

"Year after year, there is a growing demand because there are more and more people with intolerances and allergies," says Pons, who welcomes the growing popularity of businesses offering products for these customers. He says he often finds people coming to his store very "excited" to see Easter cakes suitable for their dietary requirements. “There are people who haven’t been able to find the right product for them for years,” he says.

According to Pons, gluten-free and lactose-free cakes have matched the taste of traditional cakes, but have also come down to the same price range. 

The baker explains that the entire shop works with wheat-free flours, meaning there is no risk of contagion between foods. For this reason, other pastry shops in Barcelona even commission them to make gluten-free and lactose-free ‘Monas de Pasqua’.

As for the chocolate figurines, the only condition on the bakery is to use a certain type of dark chocolate, which doesn’t cause much of an issue either. He admits, however, that the pastry industry, in general, has ventured very little into the world of decoratively crafted Easter figurines suitable for lactose-free eaters. 

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  • A gluten-free 'Mona de Pasqua' Easter cake made by the bakery Celiadictos (by Gemma Sánchez)

  • A gluten-free 'Mona de Pasqua' Easter cake made by the bakery Celiadictos (by Gemma Sánchez)

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