When you Google “Gluten Free Hotel” many hotels pop up saying they are happy to accommodate gluten free diets, but in our research we haven’t yet found a hotel that is completely gluten free. Whether you have celiac disease, have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, or just choose to stay away from the inflammatory ingredient, the number of people choosing a gluten free diet is on the rise. In turn, the amount of amazing gluten free alternatives (and yummy ones at that) is also growing.
Meet Chef Jeff
Jeffery Horton joined Anamaya almost two years ago, and has made it his mission to constantly improve upon the quality of the meals served, and the availability of organic, farm to table ingredients. His experience in Michelin star restaurants, along with his own businesses, plus his passion for new world cuisine was the perfect combination in a Head Chef to give our guests an unforgettable culinary experience.
Chef Jeff believes in the importance of sustainable practices and using local products and produce. Together with the fantastic kitchen team at Anamaya, they continue to provide our guests with a 100% gluten free, organic, and local menus daily. Before Chef Jeff joined the Anamaya team, the hotel wasn’t 100% gluten free. We were close, but after Jeff’s arrival he insisted that going 100% gluten free would be easier then we thought – and he was right. The morning bread he serves is a favorite among our guests. Even for those who don’t follow a gluten free diet, they love all of the meals we serve and don’t feel they’re missing out.
How We Do It
We source all our non refined, bleached or deodorized national Costa Rican gluten free flour. When it comes to gluten free baking it is important to have a mixture of flours so you get a better texture. If you use just tapioca flour you will have a very sticky outcome.
A great bonus about gluten free baking is that the nutritional value is a lot higher in vitamins & minerals than baking with wheat.
There is a large variety of gluten free flours to choose from, but at Anamaya we use sweet potato, green plantain, rice, tapioca flour (yucca flour), amaranth flour, coffee flour made from the fruit shell (so there is no coffee flavor), coconut flour, chia flour, flaxseed flour, arrow root flour and oat flour. With the oat flour we grind our own rolled oats. Oats have a protein similar to gluten (avenin) which only a few celiacs (1 in 12) will react to, and the protein is a great retainer of moisture. If we have a guest who is celiac than of course we abstain from using it.
When baking with gluten free flour it’s important to have a binding agent! At Anamaya we use flaxseed, chia, and arrowroot.
For an egg substitute we use 1 tbsp of ground flax seed plus 2 tbsp of water and let it sit for a few minutes.
A few months ago Anamaya also made some shifts to go Dairy Free to continue to find the right balance in our food. We do store local and organic unsalted butter, cream cheese, plus goat & buffalo cheese in our fridge for our guests who’d like a little dairy added to their meals. As you can see on the Yucca Pizza above, our guests can add those cheeses to their pizza or salads, or butter to their gluten free bread if desired. However, in all of our recipes we have completely eliminated all dairy.
When it comes to fat in gluten free baking, fat is essential to having moist breads or muffins. We use a virgin coconut oil. Grape seed oil is another great option for baking because it’s neutral in flavor. Any fat can be used but at Anamaya our rule is we only use oils from seeds or fruit – never vegetable oils.
Our aim is to keep all our guests happy regardless of their diet intolerances or allergies. At Anamaya we strive for organic & sustainable food, so for us we serve our guests a gluten & dairy free, whole foods gourmet menu.