Easter around the world

By
Sarah Gamboni
Added
10 March, 2016

Top chefs and food personalities share Easter specialties from around the world.

ITALY

Easter Monday lamb

Luca Lorusso’s  Easter Monday lamb

“Lamb is closely associated with Easter in Italy and spring produces the tastiest lamb in the area. It was always a luxury to eat meat at home, so therefore meat was mainly consumed to celebrate festivals and at those times when it was in season and most affordable. Eggs are a feature in this dish as they symbolise Easter, rebirth and spring. Once added to the lamb, the eggs help to create a rich creamy sauce, which adds extra flavour and texture to the meat.”

Margaret Fulton’s torta pasqualina

“This savoury pie from Italy was originally made with 33 sheets of pastry, one for each year of Our Lord’s life. As the pastry had to be made by hand, it could take the cook all morning just to mix and roll it. Today, we use less pastry in line with a lighter approach to food, and packaged filo makes the job even easier.”

GREECE

Tsoureki

Pam Talimanidis' tsoureki

"In Greek villages the making of tsoureki is still a special tradition reserved for the Thursday before Easter. Tsoureki is a rich, buttery brioche flavoured with masticha and mahlep and after the strict vegan diet that many people observe during Lent, it is greatly anticipated as celebration food. Waiting until after the Easter Mass is finished before indulging can often be almost too much to bear – especially when the tsoureki is fresh out of the oven, and still warm and fragrant. I always make my tsoureki on Easter Saturday so it is still very fresh on Easter Sunday. And I have been known to sneak in a taste before the appointed time, justifying my weakness by saying that the cook needs to know that a dish is successful before offering it to others."

Paskalina avga

Paskalina avga, Tess Mallos

"Dyeing eggs is a ritual in every Greek and Cypriot Greek Orthodox household on the day before Good Friday. This is performed without great attention to detail by many cooks, and the eggs can end up cracked, rendering them useless for the ritual game on Easter Sunday morning of who can crack whose eggs, a game children delight in. Also, uneven dyeing frequently occurs with the usual method of boiling the eggs in the dye bath, so I suggest hard-boiling them first, then giving them a brief boil in the dye."

CYPRUS

Flaounes

Flaounes – Easter Cheese piece by Tess Mallos

"These pleasant cheese pies are prepared in enormous quantities to be eaten on Easter Sunday morning. The recipe given to me by a good Cypriot cook began with 6 pounds cheddam, 3 pounds haloumi cheese and 3 or 4 dozen eggs. You can imagine the proportions of the rest of the recipe! She has a large family, and would certainly need some helpers to prepare the pies. I have scaled the recipe down considerably.

"Cypriot cooks abroad find that ‘cheddam’ cheese — a combination of cheddar and edam cheeses — is a good substitute for the cheese used in Cyprus. Should this not be available, try the Greek kasseri cheese, or use a mild-flavoured cheddar combined with edam. The flavouring of the cheese mixture also varies. Some cooks use the easily available dried mint, others insist on fresh mint, and others still substitute sultanas for the mint. I prefer the mint flavour."

BRAZIL

Salt cod salad

Salt Cod salad

"Bacalhau (dried salt cod) was introduced to Brazil by the Portuguese, who have been using this preserving technique for centuries, and it has become an essential ingredient of Brazilian cuisine. Bacalhoada is cherished throughout the country and is usually prepared for special occasions, especially at Easter time when the large Catholic population replace the traditional meat in their diet with fish."

* Paskalina avga photo: istockphoto.com


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