Buona Pasqua! Today was our family’s first Easter in Italy. In preparation for the holiday, I asked several Italian friends how they celebrate. All of them said they go out to eat with their families – and most of them were also planning to do the same tomorrow (Monday), which is known as “Pasquetta” or “little Easter” and is also a holiday here. Of course, church is also a main event for a lot of people, but not as many as I originally guessed.
As for our family, we started off the day with a hybrid tradition – an Easter Egg Hunt at home with tiny American chocolate eggs and one special Italian Easter Egg per kid. What’s an Italian Easter Egg?
Awesome – that’s what.
The Italians don’t do Easter Egg Hunts. Instead, they buy their loved ones these giant chocolate eggs wrapped in brilliant metallic foil:
The eggs we got our kids weren’t nearly that big, just the standard size of around 10 inches tall. One was Minions-themed, one LOL doll-themed and one KitKat-themed. They were a hit! I’m thinking about going back to the store tomorrow to see if they have any leftovers on sale. Perugina chocolate is my favorite and the grocery store had some of their fondente (dark chocolate) eggs that looked like they really need a good home …
Yesterday, our lovely neighbor brought us a “Colomba” cake in a shiny blue box.
She said it’s the traditional cake of Easter here in Italy, and is served at the end of the Easter meal. Traditional Italian dinners include several courses, specifically: antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni, and this cake comes with the dolci, preferably after the fruit and before the coffee. The Colomba cake box reminded me of the boxed Panettone and Pandoro cakes that are so popular here at Christmas time.
After our Easter Egg Hunt and breakfast, we headed out on a little Easter adventure: exploring the Sasso Pisano Parco delle Fumarole. This place was very unique. Hiking the trails here were like traversing an alien planet. Multicolored rockslides were dotted by long spiraling jets of steams. Sporadic hollows bubbled with scalding mud. In several places, the ground was so hot, I had to carry the dog so he didn’t burn his tiny paws. Everything smelled like Easter eggs that had been left outside too long. It was an Italian Yellowstone – minus the bison. It was wild.
Antipasto: Sliced parmesan cheese drizzled with honey (a local favorite that I’m completely in love with).
Primi: I was planning for a small pasta course here, but we ended up with so much food, I skipped it and went right to secondi. I’m a rebel like that.
Secondi: Chicken Cordon bleu
Contorni: Scalloped potatoes
Dolce – fresh strawberries and the special Colomba cake our neighbor delivered earlier.
To my American tastebuds, the texture was more like bread than cake. Small bits of dried orange were nestled into the flakey loaf and the cake was topped with a crunchy, sugary coating sprinkled with toasted almonds. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the Colomba, but after a few bites with strawberries, I was in love.
Now we have several new Easter traditions to enjoy. I’m already looking forward to next year! Buona Pasqua tutti!