The first gluten free bakery in Hong Kong
I am very proud and honoured to be involved in this project- even in a small way. As one of their Ambassadors I have been providing support as a Naturopath and Nutritional therapist. The founder Ifat is a friend from school and has been on such a huge health journey the last few years. She is so passionate about all that she has learnt that she wanted to throw all that passion into helping others find health and strength. Being gluten free has helped her and her family. Being a gluten free family by choice ourselves I am thrilled such a great place has opened.
Gluten free products are hit and miss health wise. Wheat flour replaced by potato or rice flour does not equal nutritious- in fact some of the gluten free breads I have seen are far worse than some packaged wheat bread. It is Ifat’s goal to not just be gluten-free but for all of the products they sell to be densely packed with nutrition. This is where where I came in. She has sent me loads of questions “What’s better- a or b?”; “What are the ingredients that I really can’t compromise on”; “Can you have a look at my menu and help me convince my chef this is the way to go?”
The Chef they have is extremely talented. He has developed his products from scratch and has been on a huge learning journey himself (he tells me he has been given a library’s worth of books from Ifat!). Anyone who has tasted the bread, blueberry muffins and brownies will testify to his success. I have had the pleasure of teaching him and their, very friendly and professional, restaurant manager Kefir in support of their menu development. They have a limited menu for now- but what they have up their sleeves is very exciting. Think pizza, non-potato fries (I can t wait to try the avocado fries!) and burgers.
Sourcing quality ingredients in Hong Kong was always going to be a struggle. Gluten free living is on the rise here as more and more people are recognising how good they feel without it in their lives (see 5 ways to reduce Gluten and Gluten friend or foe). Many are noticing how their kids are responding with better attention levels, energy levels, better sleep and digestive issues are lessened. Mood adjustments are very obvious after a child has been gluten free for at least 3 weeks. Having somewhere that all the family can enjoy and feel free to eat everything is a very rare and refreshing experience.
Ifat has sought to source as much local produce as possible. Trying to balance between locally produced, nutrient dense and organic is tough. Especially grass-fed beef and organic vegetables beyond salad and chinese greens. Many experts have recently discussed the issue of food miles and the impact on the environment and Ifat has really done her research. To keep prices at an affordable level for all, some compromises have been made but you can rest assured that everything chosen has been done so with health and nutrition at the top of the agenda. Working with company’s like Eat Fresh (see how I use their products) and Happy Cow has helped her to get the best on offer.
I myself do not buy/eat 100% organic (it is really really hard to both source and afford it all here). I will wash non-organic fruit and vegetables using my Kombucha fruit and veggie wash (find the recipe in Culture Your Life; Kefir and Kombcha for daily nourishment). I also ensure that I balance potential issue with non-organic produce with cultured products to support my liver, digestive and immune system. The balance of health has so many factors and you cannot live in a bubble! The 80/20 ratio is one I live by- 80% of the time I am mindful of what I am feeding my body mind and spirit so that the other 20% looks after itself. This grounds me and allows me some freedom to eat out- however I do not worry about the produce from the Choice Co-operative as I know at its heart there is a woman doing a whole lot of balancing to ensure that they are providing the best of whats on offer. They are also catering for those choosing paleo and primal diets as well as being dairy free (although there is milk for coffee if you want it) – almond, hazelnut and oat milk is on offer. There is also the cool option of choosing what fruit you would like to be made into juice, which is a nice touch. They are also providing weekend all day brunch and vegan raw ice-cream from Happy Cow.
I hope that the local and expat population alike will venture down to enjoy their fare. The Children’s playground is also very very cool! Comfy beanbags (at least I agree they exist!) are there for parents to relax while watching their kids and there are also cool windows in the wall between the restaurant and playroom so parents of older children can chill out and enjoy their food whilst still keeping an eye out!
Comfy, delicious, nutritious, fun for kids and food everyone can eat- Go check it out!
Personally I haven’t had toast for breakfast for years! Thanks for giving it back to me! (yes I spread my butter like cheese!!!)
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