Tradition and good food: Easter culinary vacations in Italy
Italian cooking has always been a symbol of high quality and excellence all around the world. Food is a huge part of Italy identity, one of the strongest reason of national prestige, surely the one dearest to every italian heart. It’s not a coincidence that the one thing Italians, studying or working abroad, desire the most is to taste again “mum’s cooking”.
So let’s see all the tasty specialities you’ll find in every italian dining table during this Easter holiday.
1.Veneto: the “Fugassa”
In the region of Veneto we find a classic Easter dessert, the “focaccia”, better know as “Fugassa”. It’s a variation of the traditional “Colomba” (kind like a big bun) with the same bittersweet taste of citrus-fruits and the same soft pastry. Tradition says that it was created by a local baker who decided to enrich his bread mixture with eggs, sugar and butter. Then, he gave it as Easter gift to all his customers. From that moment on, the “Fugassa” is the ultimate Easter dessert on every dining table of Veneto.
2.Trentino Alto Adige: the “Corona Pasquale”
Keeping up with desserts, we find the “Corona Pasquale” (“Easter crown”), a baked speciality of the region of Trentino. The mixture is very simple, all traditional ingredients – butter, flour, eggs, milk, sugar, lemon zest. However, it’s the shape the real surprise: long strips of pastry braided one on the top of the others until they make a braided crown, with boiled, colored eggs on top as Easter themed decoration.
3.Lombardia: the “Colomba”
The region of Lombardia is the birthplace of the “Colomba”, the italian version of a focaccia bread, which has been the queen of every Easter menu since the 30s, when it was first created. It was the “Motta” company, leader in the italian confectionery industry, that created this sweet symbol of Easter, known all around the world. The initial goal was to recycle ingredients and equipments used previously during Christmas; the final result was a soft and tasty focaccia bread topped with sugar and almonds. The shape instead comes from religious tradition: the dove (from which the italian name “colomba”) is the animal symbol of peace and Jesus’ resurrection.
4.Liguria: the “Torta Pasqualina”
Turning to the salty part of the meal, in the region of Liguria we find a special version of the classic potpie, the “Torta Pasqualina”. An ever-present dish in every part of Liguria, especially in the city of Genova, the “Torta Pasqualina” mixes layers of puffy pastry with a rich filling of spinach, eggs and ricotta cheese. Once women used to overlap 33 layers of puffy pastry as a symbolic gesture, seeing that 33 was Jesus’ age when he died – and then resurrected.
5.Emilia Romagna: the “Tardura”
The traditional soup of Emilia Romagna is a soft and warm first course, made with breadcrumbs, Parmisan cheese and eggs, all mixed in with beef bouillon. The final result is a thick soup that has been served at Easter since old times.
6.Marche: the “Ciambella strozzosa”
An unusual and fun name (it means “chocking doughnut”) for this traditional pastry of Marche, a soft doughnut made with ancient recipe, passed trough generations of women. Poor ingredients and fast preparation make this sweet dessert the perfect tasty option for your Easter meal, better if topped with chocolate or cream.
7.Umbria: the “cheese pizza”
Umbria salty speciality, the “Pizza al formaggio” (cheese pizza) is traditionally served on Easter morning. Along with salami, chocolate, cheese and a fresh drink, it’s the perfect breakfast to start your day. A slighty different version of this special pizza is the “Torta di Pasqua” of Marche.
8.Lazio: the “Pizza Ricresciuta” and the “abbacchio alla romana”
Another version of the cheese pizza is the “Pizza ricresciuta”, served once again on Easter morning with salami and eggs. However, the real protagonist of the Easter meal in Lazio is the “abbacchio alla romana”. The “abbacchio” is the italian name for lamb meat, which is slowly cooked overnight and served the following day with smashed anchovies. You won’t find a better meat dish in Rome!
9.Abruzzo: the “Capra alla neretese”
Another meat dish, but this time we’re in Abruzzo and we’re talking about goat meat. The meat is cooked until amber-coloured, then it is served with fresh tomato soup, onions and fried peppers. The result is a breathtaking balance of fantastic tastes.
10.Campania: the “Casatiello”
The “Casatiello”, a special type of rustic potpie, is a must of Easter meal in the city of Naples. Salami, Pecorino cheese and ricotta are the stuffing of this dish of old origin. The coolest thing? The decoration, made by eggs – with the eggshell still on – laid on top and framed by pastry strings in a cross-like shape. You have to take a bite!
11.Puglia: the “taralli di Pasqua”
Puglia is the birthplace of the “taralli”, a special kind of italian pastry with olive oil, which becomes even a sweet dessert during the Easter holidays. Flour, eggs and water are mixed together with skilful talent and then topped with icing and sugar. These sweet “tarralli” are really the perfect dessert to go along with your favourite flavoured coffee.
12.Sicilia: the Easter lamb
Don’t be fooled by its name! In the region of Sicily the “Easter lamb” isn’t a meat dish, but surprisingly it’s a sweet, filling dessert! Two different type of pastry, one with pistachios and one with almonds, are mixed together and shaped in a tiny, pretty lamb. The first recipe of this particular sweet seems to arrive directly from the 80s!