Chocolate is usually the first food that springs to mind when Easter is mentioned, but we’re here to broaden those horizons with ten traditional Easter foods from around the world! While each country puts their own spin on a tasty treat, what they all have in common is family coming together to share in this special time of year.
Come Easter and Semana Santa – holy week, or the week leading up to Good Friday – the Easter treats come out in full force in Spain. One such treat is the Spanish version of French toast, torrijas – slightly stale bread is soaked overnight in a milk, sugar and spices mix, then dipped in egg and fried to golden perfection. To spice it up a little, some torrijas are soaked in wine, syrup or honey. The final touch is always a liberal dusting of cinnamon sugar.
History has it that semlor buns were eaten on Shrove Tuesday as the last festive sweet treat before Lent. Nowadays, these delicious buns are enjoyed throughout Sweden every Tuesday between Shrove Tuesday and Easter! Picture a soft, pillowy dough laced with touches of cardamom and generously filled with almond paste and whipped cream…it’s no wonder that the Swedish look forward to this Easter treat!
There is a long-standing story behind why ham is the centrepiece of many American’s Easter Sunday dinner. It all started in the days when refrigeration wasn’t around, when animals were traditionally slaughtered in autumn and cured to make it last. The curing process took so long that the first hams weren’t ready until Easter – and here we are, today, with ham served with some form of a potato dish, greens and fresh bread rolls.
Potatoes are one of the biggest staple foods in Lithuania so it makes sense for cepelinai (potato dumplings) to make an appearance at Easter. A filling dish, cepelinai are traditionally filled with meat or cheese and served with a gravy atop these tasty morsels. Their nickname is zeppelins due to their similar shape to the old airships!
Not too dissimilar to their regular cuisine, Greeks will celebrate Easter with a number of savoury and sweet dishes. With a touch of both of these elements, you can’t look past trying a koulourakia – a traditional butter cookie with sesame seeds. Usually twisted or braided before being baked, Greeks will enjoy one with a strong cup of coffee or even a Greek wine!
Since Easter is often associated with spring (in the Northern Hemisphere), and therefore new life, a leg of lamb roasted to perfection can seal the (Easter) deal. Although many countries will dig into this roast meal as well, it’s a staple for every French family come Easter.
Italian immigrants brought the recipe for torta pascualina (Easter-time tart) to Argentina in the sixteenth century; and now it’s a traditional Easter meal. Of course, being Easter, there is an egg-focus to this spinach and ricotta pie – with a liberal amount of eggs cracked in before it’s baked so that each slice has a generous portion.
In Poland, an Easter brunch is a favourite amongst the locals. They love to cook up a feast and serve it buffet-style, with faszerowany jajka (stuffed eggs) included every year. As quite possibly the most moreish devilled-style eggs you will ever try, these beauties are stuffed with ham, cheese, mustard and sour cream, then quickly grilled with breadcrumbs.
A classic Easter dessert in England is the simnel cake. Baked with spices, fruit and marzipan, it traditionally signals the end of Lent as these ingredients are forbidden during the fast. Although it sounds similar to a Christmas fruit cake, a simnel cake is much less boozy. The top of the cake features eleven marzipan balls, one for each of Jesus’ disciples (excluding the treacherous Judas).
Likened to a hot cross bun and the Christmas-time panettone, the Italians love to bake colomba di pasqua. Its name translates to ‘Easter dove’ which matches its form to symbolise the dove that flew back to Noah with an olive branch. The traditional version features candied peel, sugar and almonds, however new-age versions include chocolate chips, and even fudge! You won’t be able to miss this creation, adorning Italian bakery shelves around this time every year.
The Globus family of brands wishes everyone a delicious Easter, wherever you are in the world!