Easter in Italy - Some regional specialities

Easter in Italy has a very strong religious and Christian tradition; with many church processions being held across Italy. I remember being in Sorrento one year over Easter, and was charmed by the silent and solemn procession taken place on Thursday and Friday nights; with all the alleys being lightened by candles. On Easter Sunday, the large Easter Lunch or Dinner plus plenty of large Easter Eggs - the bigger the better as some lovely presents were hidden in those "Surprise Eggs". Here a few typical regional dishes which are served over the festive Easter season. Enjoy! Buona Pasqua!

Lamb - Agnello

Its connection with the Easter holiday is already described in the Bible, particularly in the story of the liberation of the Jews from Egyptian slavery. Before traveling to the Promised Land, each Jewish family had to sacrifice a lamb. For Christianity, the lamb represents the son of Jesus Christ, ready to sacrifice himself for the redemption of humanity's sins. It is prepared in different ways depending on regional traditions. Roman lamb is given an even more exquisite flavor by the addition of anchovies at the end of cooking.  And accompanied with a side dish of baked potatoes or the classic chicory salad.

La Crescia  - Salty Cheese Cake from Umbria

A large soft leavened Cake typical of central Italy, in particular Umbria, Marche and Tuscany, based on parmesan, pecorino and other local cheeses. The dough swells during the leavining process: the dialect term crescia - in fact - refers to the large growth of the dough during leavening and cooking in the oven. It is a typical peasant specialty, according to the legend born in the medieval monasteries, in particular in that of Santa Maria Maddalena of Serra de' Conti, in the province of Ancona.

Coralline - Umbrian Sausages

One of the best known and most widespread sausages in all of Umbria, composed of three parts: lean meat such as shoulder and finely ground ham trimmings, plus a part of diced fat. The name derives from the gentle coral gut, i.e. the first section of the pig's colon, the element that contains the salami and which allows the meat mixture to be preserved naturally for a long time without altering its organoleptic qualities. Characteristic of this salami is the distance between the rather large cubes of fat, distributed so that they never touch each other. It is usually eaten together with La Crescia or prepared as a ragout with vegetables.

Casatiello Salty Pastry - Campania

Casatiello - originally from Campania but now widespread throughout the Peninsula, casatiello is a typical rustic cake of Neapolitan cuisine. A sort of savory donut filled with cheese and cured meats, cooked in the oven with whole eggs in shell on the surface.

Torta Pasqualina - Easter Cake from Liguria

Typical of all of Liguria, but in particular of the Genoa area, the Pasqualina cake is made with eggs, cheese, chard, ricotta, spinach and various wild herbs, all enclosed in a thin pastry shell. Popular legend has it that in the past housewives used to overlap 33 layers of puff pastry, a number chosen to pay homage to the age of Christ.

La Colomba

La Colomba - typical leavened pastry product from the Lombardia region of Italy made from wheat flour, sugar, eggs, candied citrus peel, yeast and salt, a symbol of peace and salvation. Over time, many versions of the colomba were born, enriched with chocolate, creams, jams and dried fruit, but all sharing the same singular shape and basic dough.

Fiadoni - Pastry from the Abruzzo Region

In Central Italy - in particular Abruzzo, Molise and Marche - fiadoni are prepared, rustic thin pastry filled with medium-aged sheep's cheese and baked in the oven. There is also a sweet version, although less popular than the savory one.

Bussolai - Biscuits from Burano

Bussolai are typical biscuits from Burano, in Veneto, made with flour, egg, butter and sugar, traditionally linked to the Easter holidays, although they are now produced all year round. Crumbly and fragrant, they are usually accompanied with fortified wines or enjoyed with zabaglione or hot chocolate.

La Ciaramicola - Umbrian Easter Cake

La Ciaramicola - its origins can be found on the tables of Perugia and throughout Umbria. It is a donut with an extravagant pink look, the color given to it by the alchermes put in the dough. It is traditionally covered in white icing and embellished with a festive sprinkling of colored sprinkles. It is thought that the depressions in the cake recall the ups and downs of the Perugian neighborhoods. This cake owes its intense color and fantastic aroma to the presence of Alchermes, the classic liqueur used to prepare trifle.

Pardulas - Sardinian Easter Pastry

Pardulas (or casadinas) are typical Sardinian desserts composed of a base of 'pinched' dough and a filling of ricotta and lemon or orange and saffron flavouring, which gives the typical yellow colour.

They have very ancient origins and most likely owe their name to their square shape they once had, when the pasta was sealed with four pinches on the edge to close the filling. They are accompanied with the island's typical liqueurs, such as myrtle and there is also a savory version with goat's cheese and mint.

Cassata - Sicily

Cassata occupies a place of honor among the typical desserts of all Sicily and was created to celebrate Easter after the fasting of Lent.

It is a dessert in which all of the cultures that have inhabited Sicily come together: in fact, the name derives from the Arabic word 'Quas'at' which means "large and round bowl" then, during the Norman era, the nuns from the Martorana monastery they added the typical green marzipan border; the Spaniards were responsible for the use of sponge cake and chocolate and candied fruit was introduced in the Baroque period. Cassata is a very elaborate dessert, especially in the sumptuous decoration that covers it: the base of soft sponge cake is filled with a delicious ricotta cream enriched with candied fruit and chocolate chips. The outer edge is made of green almond paste and the surface is covered with a thick sugar icing and a rich decoration of candied fruit.


Write a comment

Comments: 0