We love to celebrate Italian traditions, and Easter is a big one for us. We asked our friend Aldo Zilli to share with us what Easter is like in his home town of Abruzzo, Italy.

“Easter is a big deal in Abruzzo. Celebrations begin the week before, on Palm Sunday, and the days are filled with processions where everyone takes part, followed by a vigil at the church on Saturday evening.

Easter Sunday is a day for family with everyone getting together to share a meal and swap sweet treats. The main course would be lamb, which in Abruzzo meant abbacchio; a young milk-fed lamb which has very light pink meat and a delicate flavour. We would marinade the chops with rosemary and garlic, and then grill them. This is served with seasonal spring vegetables, artichokes and baby greens.

There were always a lot of cakes and cookies for dessert, like the traditional Colomba; a cake shaped like a dove which heralds the arrival of spring. It is similar to the Panettone that we have at Christmas, except it is filled with all different dried fruits, not just raisins, and topped with pearl sugar and barley. My favourite when I was younger was the sweet ravioli my mother made which was filled with homemade grape jam.

Chocolate eggs are popular, but children are traditionally given a large cookie shaped like a woman for a girl and a horse for a boy. Easter Monday, or Pasquetta, is spent with friends, getting out into the countryside and enjoying a picnic.”

We think abbacchio sounds delicious – try lamb this Easter with one of our delicious Italian recipes…

Slow Roasted Lamb Shank