Not too late to wish you a happy Easter :)
I love and look forward to celebrations and Easter is one I look forward to. As a Nigerian, I observe that a lot of churches organise retreats to reflect and know the essence of Easter.
Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday and it represents Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Throughout the week, certain days are sacred so as to deeply understand why he came to Earth, died and rose from the dead.
Apart from these, Easter is also a time to celebrate Christ's resurrection and that can be greatly observed by where we come from, our culture and the foods we eat.
In this article, I highlight different foods from 8 countries eaten during Easter celebrations. I would love to know where you are from and how you celebrate Eater.
Let’s dig in.
Otherwise known as Easter pie, it is originally from Liguria. Ingredients used in making torta pasqualina include spinach, chard leaves, and artichoke and are baked with ricotta cheese, vegetables and eggs.
Torta Pasqualina got its name from the Italian word for Easter- PASQUA. It is traced back to the 1500s, chards were better alternatives to artichokes because of how cheap they were.
It is said that the pie should have 33 layers in the crust to celebrate Christ’s stay on Earth. Initials are pressed into the crust at the rim to honour the head of the household.
It is best eaten cold (the day after it has been prepared) and paired with a glass of white wine.
Agnello Cacio e Ovo
This is one of Abruzzo’s tastiest meals and is served at the end of Lent and Easter celebrations. It is made with a combination of pecorino cheese, parsley, salt, veggie stock, eggs, lamb shoulders, white wine, onions and olive oil.
Agnello Cacio e Ovo can be translated as Lamb, Cheese and Eggs.
A leavened savoury bread that originates from Naples and is prepared during the Easter season. The dish derives its name from the Napolitan world – caso.
The basic ingredients are flour, salami, black pepper, lard, cheese, and cracklings. Casatiello is prepared on Good Friday and left to rise overnight, baked the following day and eaten on Holy Saturday and Easter Monday.
It’s prepared by working the dough into the shape of a doughnut, then placed in a mould and left to rise for a long time (typically 12 hours); if made with quick leaven (2 hours is enough). When ready, it's baked traditionally in a wood-fired oven.
This is a soup dish that’s made of soured rye flour and meat (pieces of smoked ham/bacon sausage or boiled pork sausage).
Zurek varies regionally. In Poland, it is served in edible bread that’s made of bread or boiled potatoes. In the Podlaskie region, Zurek is commonly eaten with hard-boiled eggs. Zurek is traditionally eaten during Easter in Poland but it's also popular during other parts of the year.
Also known as Krantz cake, it has been tagged the most popular cake on the west side of Jerusalem. This sweet braided bread (or cake) has its origin in the Jewish communities of Ukraine, Poland and Russia. It's very popular in Israel and is referred to as a yeast cake.
Babka consists of an enriched (laminated)dough and has a variety of fillings such as sweet cheese, cinnamon sugar, Mohn, raisins or chocolate. It’s then braided either as a closed or open plait and is topped with a sugar syrup which keeps it fresh and moist. Sometimes, adding a streusel topping works wonders.
The sweet rich bread is traditionally served on Easter Sunday in Poland and other Central & Eastern European countries.
A Maltese pastry stuffed with a marzipan-like filling (consists of egg whites, caster sugar, almond meal and honey) and is served as an Easter sweet.
Figolla is often shaped like crosses, fish, hearts and symbols that are linked to Christianity (particularly Catholicism). It is also topped with melted chocolate or sugar icing with sprinkles (hundreds and thousands) on top.
This treat has ancient Sicilian roots, the words come from the Sicilian word figulina which means figure. In Malta, these treats are baked during the Holy Week and shared to close family friends and children on Easter Sunday.
Figolli is a great family activity as every family in Malta has their figolla recipe but the basis is always the same- 2 large biscuits with an almond marzipan-like filling. They come in various shapes and are mostly Easter related.
Common shapes are mermaids, lambs, ducks, cars, baskets, eggs, butterflies and guitars.
A traditional Maltese biscuit baked during Lent and is a mixture of orange rind, ground almonds, flour and sugar.
The name Kwarezimal is derived from the Italian word Quaresoma – the 40 days of Lent.
A typical cookie or shortbread is made from Semolina flour. It’s filled with dates but can also be filled with walnuts, figs or dates, pistachios and almonds. They melt in your mouth as soon as you taste them.
Ma’amoul is very popular in the Middle East and comes in the shapes of domed, balls or flattened cookies. Special moulds referred to as tabe are used in decorating.
Quite similar to bread pudding, it’s a traditional Mexican food and is served on Good Friday.
Capirotada is heavily influenced by Moorish cuisine and is made out of toasted bolillo (similar to the French baguette) and is soaked in a mulled syrup that has a mixture of piloncillo (whole cane sugar), cinnamon sticks.
Major ingredients include dates, raisins, pine nuts, pecans, apples, apricots and walnuts. Lots of capirotada recipes don’t include meat due to the traditional association with Lent.
On rare occasions, uncommon ingredients like sprinkles, cilantro, bay leaves, onion, banana and tomatoes are added. Traditionally, the bread represents the Christs’ body, the syrup his blood, the cinnamon sticks which are used to flavour the syrup represents the wood of the cross and the cloves represent the nails.
An Easter bread that’s traditionally eaten in countries like Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
After the Easter service, the kulich would have been placed in a basket and decorated with colourful flowers and blessed by the priests.
The bread is baked in cylindrical, tall tins (think of fruit juice tins). They are decorated with white icing when they cool down. Kulich is eaten between Easter and Pentecost. Dried fruits, citrus peels and fragrant spices are also added to kulich.
A festive dish made in Eastern Orthodox countries and consists of foods that are forbidden during the fast of Great Lent.
The name of the dish comes from Pascha- the Eastern Orthodox celebration of Easter. Paskha is made during the Holy Week and brought to church on Sunday and is blessed after the Paschal Vigil.
The traditional Easter dish is made out of a white substance called quark as it symbolizes the purity of Christ, the Paschal lamb and the joy of the Resurrection.
It is usually a mould form (shaped like a truncated pyramid that symbolises the first Passover in Egypt). Others believe the pyramid is a symbol of the Church, Tomb of Christ and Trinity.
Paskha is served alongside rich Easter pieces of bread. Traditional religious symbols, like the Orthodox 3-bar cross) letters are used in decorating the Paskha.
The bread’s main ingredient is tvorog and additional ingredients – candied fruits, vanilla, spices, eggs, sour cream, butter and raisins are included.
Pronounced stump, it’s a Belgian dish made of mashed/pureed potatoes with additional root vegetables, shallot, herbs, creams and spices.
Stoemp is traditionally served alongside grilled bacon, fried bacon, fried boudin, and fried braadworst. In some homes, it's served with horse tenderloin or entrecote.
It may come to you by surprise to know that Croatians take Easter very serious. This is so, as it is sacred for them to commune with family and fill themselves till they are senseless.
The vrtanji is a savoury bread that bursts with flavour and is prepared by using stock from boiling the Easter ham.
It comes baked with a coloured egg in the centre or decorated with a cross made of white dough.
A traditional Easter sweet roll is eaten to celebrate the end of Lent (the reason being that it contains many eggs). It has the sign of the cross and is carved in with a knife before baking.