Traditional Easter Foods Around the World
Historically, Easter is a blessed time where families gather to share in a feast. In Christian tradition, the meal breaks the Lenten fast. In Jewish communities, Passover is celebrated around the same time. It is the feast celebrating liberation from Egyptian slavery. Did you know these spring feast traditions date farther back than modern religions? It is no coincidence that these celebrations take place every year around the Vernal Spring Equinox. Scholars believe these spring traditions pre-date Christianity to a time when humans were more connected to the Earth. Well, whatever you feel, Easter has become a favorite day for families to gather for a meal. What are some traditional Easter foods around the world?
United Kingdom: Simnel Cake and Hot Cross Buns
For centuries folks int he UK have snacked on simnel cake on Sundays during Lent, as well as Easter Sunday. It is a topped with marzipan frosting and decorated with12 marzipan balls, representing the 12 apostles. Another tasty treat enjoyed on Easter in the UK is hot cross buns. They are sweet and spiced, usually finished with a glaze drizzle. Currents or raisins dot the top of the bread in the sign of the cross.
A type of a creamy, thick custard made with cottage cheese, cream cheese, eggs, and sometimes Brandy. Pashka is a rich dessert that can either be eaten alone or with bread. The cheesy custard is pressed into a pyramid-shaped mold with the letters XB, which mean “Christ is risen. The mound is decorated with dried fruit and nuts.
Argentina: Tarta Pascualina
Pascua, literally translated, is Spanish for Easter. Therefore, so Tarta Pascualina means “Eastertime Tart.” It is a savory pie filled with ricotta cheese, hard boiled eggs, spinach, artichoke, and parsley. Because it is meat-free, the tart is often eaten throughout Lent on Fridays.
While this bread pudding is commonly eaten throughout all of Mexico, the recipe varies around the country. Many families hand down their coveted versions over many generations. It is usually made from bolillo (similar to baguette) soaked in a mulled simple syrup, infused with cinnamon sticks and cloves and topped with nuts, dried fruits, and sprinkles. The three elements are meant to signify the crucifixion: cloves represent the nails, the bread the body of Christ, and the cinnamon sticks the cross.
France: Leg of Lamb
Traditionally served all over France, “le gigot d’agneau Pascal,” or leg of lamb is a simple dish. Seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, oil, and rosemary and roasted to the preferred temperature. For centuries many religious celebrations featured lamb as the centerpiece of the feast.
White borscht, also referred to as zurek is common during the Easter holiday. The soup made from soured rye flour, sausage, and hard boiled eggs. It is both hearty and filling.
Italy: Colomba di Pasqua
Sweetbreads are a typical holiday food in Italy. For instance, there’s panettone at Christmas, and colomba di pasqua for Easter. The loaf is shaped like a dove, a symbol for peace. The delicious bread is stuffed with candied fruit and then sprinkled with almonds and pearl sugar.
Similar to challah, tsoureki is also a braided sweet bread. The three strands of the braid symbolize the Holy Trinity. The bread is usually served with hardboiled eggs that are dyed red, which symbolize the blood of Christ.
United States: Baked Ham
Many families in the US include a baked ham for their Easter feast. Historically before the invention of the refrigerator, animals were slaughtered in the fall, and their cured meat wasn’t ready to eat until springtime. Therefore it became a tradition to include these meats during the Easter feast.
Join us this year at O’Loughlins for our Easter Brunch. We will have a wide selection for you to sample: some traditional Easter foods and plenty your O’s favorites. It would be our pleasure to take care of you and your loved ones as you celebrate. There is still time to book a reservation!