Good Food Blog
Easter feastingPosted at 12:30PM, 06 April 2009 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
The long Easter weekend is a great time for family get-togethers. Tea time favourites such as Hot cross buns and Simnel cake are traditional, but I think something a little different is always welcome. Other countries enjoy their own unique cakes and breads too and at this time of year these are usually available from good delicatessens.
Throughout Greece, Tsoureki, a soft, sweet bread flavoured with ground mastic (an aromatic resin obtained from the evergreen tree Pistacia Lentiscus) is a great favourite. The sweet pastry baklava may also have been created for Easter, with its forty layers of filo pastry (to represent the forty days of Lent) soaked in sweet fragrant syrup, ready to be eaten on Easter Sunday.
In Russia, members of the Orthodox church gather to enjoy Kulich, an ancient festive cake inscribed with the letters 'XB' (the Cyrillic initials of Christos Voskres, meaning 'Christ is risen') and decorated with paper flowers or gold paper crowns and tall thin candles. Paskha (the name actually means Easter), a rich, creamy dessert, is also essential. Made from curd cheese, butter, eggs, cream, spices, candied fruits and liqueur, it's decorated with jewel-coloured candied fruits.
Italy boasts an enormous selection of tempting Easter delicacies
Italy boasts an enormous selection of tempting Easter delicacies, including Colomba Pasquale, a sweet yeast cake baked in the shape of a dove ('colomba' means dove) since 1176, to commemorate the defeat of Barbarossa and bring good tidings. Pastiera (Easter pie) originated in Naples, but is now found all over Italy, and has a delectably rich filling of ricotta cheese, eggs and candied fruits.
Germany and German-speaking countries mark Easter with an assortment of rich sweet breads: some are shaped like a hare and have a coloured egg underneath the tail. Osterkarpfen is shaped like a fish - an early symbol of Christianity; Easter 'nests' of bread are filled with brightly coloured hard-boiled eggs; Swiss Tauben are rich yeast 'doves' containing almonds and currants.
These are just some of my favourites. Do you have a much-loved traditional Easter treat?