Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Easter Goodies

All my favorite holidays are marked by some food item.  For Easter, it's chocolate eggs.  Growing up in China in the 90's meant that there wasn't the atmosphere and the excitement around Easter time.  There weren't aisles miles long of chocolate easter eggs in supermarkets; no giant statues of rabbits and baskets in shopping malls; no special Easter Sunday menus in restaurants.  When I think back to Easter as a child, only vivid memories of chocolate eggs come to mind -- two types of chocolate eggs.
Large chocolate eggs, the size of my little head, wrapped in bright gold foil with a big colorful bow, barely holding its shape after the long journey from Italy to China. Behind the wrap there were thin and fragile broken egg shells that revealed a tiny little plastic toy inside -- unfortunately the size of the egg was not at all representative of the size of the toy.

Then there were the bags of mini Lindt chocolate eggs from my parents' friend, Giovanni Di Pasquale. He'd always come around Easter time. Unlike other family friends whom we'd had to unwillingly entertain by being present at the dinner table and smile and nod along their meaningless adult conversations, the guy was wonderful -- he cooked and gave us chocolate. Every year was the same bag of assorted colorful Lindt chocolate eggs. Colors and chocolate, it was like a small bag of edible rainbow droplets that gave so much more satisfaction than just a sugar high.

I open the bag and try to take one of each color out without pouring all of the eggs out. Then I examined them, carefully deciding which to eat first before putting everything neatly back and saving them for the future gluttony.

With time, grandparents stopped sending chocolate eggs, and the friend started coming around without chocolate eggs. Easter's sole excitement was that it meant a couple of days off school.

Nonetheless, even though my Easters were marked by solely Chocolate eggs as a child, many countries, including my own, celebrate Easter with proper traditional breads and cakes.  In Italy, we obviously have La Colomba Pasquale (Easter dove).  

The dough is similar to that of a panettone, but contains no raisins, topped usually with pearl sugar and almonds, and is shaped into a dove (kind of).  Like panettones, it's usually bought rather than homemade as it's quite a complicated process. But if you fancy making it, there are lots of good recipes out there (like here).  Do tell me if you succeed.

In the UK there are these wonderful Hot Cross Buns.  Soft, light and spongy square breads marked with a cross. Like many other British cakes and breads, it's flavored with dried fruits and spices.   
Here's quite a good recipe of it.  This can be easily made at home.  

Tsoureki is a rich, brioche-like sweet bread eaten at Easter in Greece, but it has its close relatives throughout Eastern Europe.  It's similar to the Armenian choreg, the Bulgarian Kozunak, and the Czech Houska. They all have the similar dough but they're flavored with different ingredients and topped with different nuts.  It's braided and then baked with a pretty colored egg in the middle.  I recommend this recipe.  
Then there's the Dutch Paasbrood.  Sweet bread with candied fruits and stuffed with almond paste, similar to a stollen.

So I hope you do some home baking this Easter, if not you could always go and buy yourself some packaged ones in a store -- either way, make sure you eat some delicious and traditional baked goods this Easter.


  1. have you seen my homemade colomba? it was deliciousssss!

    1. omg i know, I saw, it looked absolutely amazing. I couldn't believe you made it at first!

  2. Maria, this is my favourite! http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/2012/04/portuguese-easter-bread-folar-de-pascoa/ Portuguese Easter Folar

    1. ohhhhh and the blog looks awesome, ok im gonna try out recipes from this blog and make you proud ;)


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