Easter week in the kitchen

Artichokes "alla giudia" are a traditional Italian dish with Judaic origins

It is nice — and unsurprising — to know that in this period of reflection and prayer, Italians have never quite forgotten about their kitchens. And so, we learn that the  first Easter chocolate eggs were created in Turin in the 18th century: and it couldn’t be any different, when  you think this elegant city is one of Italy’s chocolate capitals (Perugia and Modica being the other two). 

Just a handful of kilometers south, in Genoa, quaresimali have been made with water, sugar and almond paste since before the 18th century, throughout Lent and for Easter. As it often happens for traditional sweet concoctions, it was local nuns who invented them. 

In the  South, in Calabria, many make the campanari, traditional Easter cookies with butter, eggs, milk, lemon and vanilla. In their middle, a full egg — shell in place! — is usually baked. Campanari, mind, are a good treat also for Pasquetta, Italy’s true beginning of Spring, when we love sharing picnics and barbecues with family and friends. 

And it isn’t a real Pasquetta without a torta di Pasqua,  a savory pie filled with a variety of vegetables, eggs and cheese. The original one, Liguria’s torta Pasqualina, has fresh  cheese similar to ricotta, chards, nutmeg, parmesan and eggs, held into a delicate pastry shell. 

Early Spring, when usually Easter falls, is also an important spiritual moment for followers of Judaism, as Passover is celebrated. Italy has  been home to the  most ancient Jewish community in Europe for something like 2000 years: no wonder, then, that Italian Jews have developed their own dishes for this important celebration. Just look up carciofi alla giudia (deliciously deep fried artichokes) or spinaci con pinoli e passerine (spinach with pine nuts and raisins) to see what we mean. 

But the queen of the Italian Easter table its her, Her Majesty the cassata. It may be  more typical in Sicily than everywhere else, but its sweet soul made of almonds, ricotta and candied fruit, and its beautiful jewel-like colors, are just like you would expect something Italian to be: beautiful, delicate, tempting and delicious. 

 

And, for goodness’ sake, forget diets this Sunday: celebrate Easter, celebrate Spring, celebrate your family, celebrate the magnificent food of Italy.

 

Wear your comfy pants, and Happy Easter to you all!

Receive More Stories Like This In Your Inbox

SPONSORED

Recommended

Italian inventions: the utilitarian table fork, once a “scandalous” innovation

In most western households, forks are a basic part of a table setting — unless you’re all eating is soup. The relationship Italians have with the...
Temple of Neptune. Paestum archaeological site in Italy— Photo by Dogstock

Cilento: Ancient, artisanal and authentic

Compared to the Amalfi Coast, its bustling neighbor in the province of Salerno, Cilento might seem like land that time forgot. Long stretches of its...

The heart and soul of Naples: history and poetry of the Quartieri Spagnoli

“Napule è mille culure, Napule è mille paure, Napule è a voce d’ ‘e creature che saglie chiano chianu e tu saje ca nun si sulo:” Naples is a thousand...
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (Milan 1495-1496) is one of the world's most famous paintings

A Visit to Leonardo’s Last Supper

T he Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is undoubtedly one of the most iconic, most famous works of art of all times. As such, it has always attracted...
View of the promenade in the downtown of Alghero, Sardinia. Photo by AlKan32

Alghero, a small Barcelona in Italy

Barcellonetta, an Italian term meaning small and pretty Barcelona, is the nickname for the city of Alghero, on the Northern coast of Sardinia dating...

Weekly in Italian

Attualità

Recent Issues