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 Italian Easter is like in his home town of Abruzzo.
“Easter is a big deal in Abruzzo. Celebrations begin the week before, on Palm Sunday, and we fill the days with processions where everyone takes part, following these with 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. We think it is similar to a Christmas Panettone , 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 which my mother made filled with homemade grape jam.
Chocolate eggs are popular, however 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.”
Indeed, we think abbacchio sounds delicious – try lamb this Easter with one of our delicious Italian recipes…