Traditional Italian Easter Fare

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With a large Roman Catholic population, Easter is naturally one of the most important holidays in Italy.

The two most prominent foods seen at Easter time in Italy are lamb, which represents life, and eggs, which symbolize rebirth, the two dominate themes of Easter. If eggs aren’t part of the Easter meal, chocolate Easter eggs are given out as gifts. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get eggs with the Easter meal and chocolate Easter eggs!

More recently, the Colomba, which symbolizes the peace dove, has become an Easter staple as well. This is a cake baked with candied peel instead of raisins and topped with almonds and pearl sugar. It can be time-consuming to make, as it requires the dough to both ferment and rise very slowly for the best results. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see this item bought at a store, even in Italy!

There are several other Easter favorites seen at meal time, although some depend on the region of Italy you happen to be in. On Easter Monday, fresh beans are served with pecorino cheese as a snack in the southern part of the country. Salami is sometimes served with boiled eggs as an appetizer. It represents the fortunes of farmers.

There are also several other desserts served at this time. Pastiera napolitana is a cake made with a shortcrust filled with ricotta cheese, eggs, and cooked wheat berries. The whole thing is then flavored with orange flower water. Casatiello is a cake stuffed with cheese, pancetta, salami, and whole eggs. Pizza di Pasqua is a salt cake usually seen in central Italy. Torta Pasqualina is a salt pie made with 33 phyllo layers to represent the number of years Jesus was alive. Finally, Scarcella is a cake seen in southern Italy made of shortcrust and decorated like one would an Easter egg.

Planning to serve any of these with your Easter meal? Doris Italian Market & Bakery has all the ingredients you need, even those hard-to-find ones! Come and shop today!

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