Bread in Chile, Vegan or Covered in Lard?
The elusive Chilean lard bread myth, in the words of our good friends over at mythbusters, is it confirmed, plausible, or busted?
Busted. More or less. Though read below to get the full scoop.
Chileans are oddly, overtly and confidently proud of their bread. They think it is the most delicious bread in all of South America, and way tastier than ours in the US. I slightly understand this notion, they do buy their bread fresh at least once a day, sometimes twice a day. Not only that, but they eat a lot of bread. Breakfast is bread. Sometimes lunch, particularly if it is soup, will be accompanied by bread. And dinner, or “once” (pronounced like the spanish 11, not like once upon a time) as the chilenos call it, is what else but bread.
Chileans have quite a few types of bread at their disposal. We have got:
1. Halluya-the most common round type.
2. Pan Amasado
3. Pan de Molde
4. Marraqueta aka Pan Batido o Pan Frances
5. Pan Integral (Whole wheat bread)
Now this list is not excuslive, but these are the breads I saw the most in my six months there.
The real question now, is confirmed, busted or plausible. The answer depends on the bread.
1. Pan Halluya-Not Vegan, but definitely vegetarian friendly.
I have not seen a single pan halluya without milk in it. Leche descremada always reads out on the ingredient label.
This bread is definitely the trickiest. Pan Amasado essentially means homemade bread, thus, the recipe ultimately depends on the family. I know my host family and my school, when asked, did not put anything in their pan amasado outside of flour, yeast, and water, but it depends.
Unfortunately, the only way to know on this one is to ask. Typically they used to use lard and margarine, but I think that is beginning to change as Chile becomes more health conscious. Ask if the bread contains, mantequilla, leche, huevos, o manteca o grasa de cerdo.
Essentially the sliced, bagged bread we have at home. Chile has got all different kinds, ranging from the whitest of wonderbread, to whole grain mixes. Read the nicely printed labels and check for the no go words: leche, huevos, manteca o grasa de cerdo, leche, leche descremada, etc. A lot of these breads are vegan! Just be sure to read the label a bit!
This is about the closest you will get to a French bread. It is almost as cheap as halluya, and Ive never seen it not vegan. Simple ingredients, good price, and deliciously crunchy. This is a great fall back and reliable vegan bread choice!
As Chileans attempt to get healthier, they are increasingly turning to pan integral from their bread sections. It looks a lot like marraqueta, but is made with more whole grains. I have never seen it not vegan.
Ultimately, there are breads you can eat in Chile as a vegan or vegetarian, its not pure lard! My real advice is to read the labels and check em out. In the bread sections in the grocery store, they actually print out the ingredients when you get it weighed, so if youre particularly nervous, weigh your bread, then read the label. This trick can help you learn which breads in your local store are vegan or not.
Good luck and buen provecho!