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.

Celebrations

“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

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.

Foodie Treats

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…

Slow Roasted Lamb Shank