Global Easter Feasts: A Celebration of Culinary Diversity

Featured & Cover Global Easter Feasts A Celebration of Culinary Diversity

While honey-glazed ham, garlic mashed potatoes, and fluffy dinner rolls may dominate American Easter tables, diverse traditions around the world offer a plethora of culinary delights to mark the occasion. Judy Witts Francini, the mind behind the Italian food blog Divina Cucina, shares insights into the rich Easter feasting traditions in Italy, where the celebration is a feast for the senses.

“Italians go all out,” says Francini, highlighting the elaborate spread that graces her Easter lunch table. Starting with an array of antipasti, she then presents a savory tart named torta pasqualina for the first course, symbolizing the 33 years of Christ’s life with its 33 layers of phyllo dough. The main course includes roast lamb, fried artichokes, peas with pancetta, and roasted potatoes, followed by chocolate eggs filled with surprises and a dove-shaped cake called colomba for dessert.

While Italy’s Easter feast is a grand affair, other countries also embrace the “more is more” philosophy when it comes to Easter meals, with distinct dishes that capture the essence of their culinary heritage. Here are five standout Easter dishes from around the globe:

Italy: Pizza rustica

Italy’s pizza rustica, or pizzagaina, offers a savory twist on the beloved circular classic. Stuffed with a delectable mixture of meat and cheese, encased in a flaky crust, and originating from Naples, pizza rustica reflects the diverse regional variations of Italian cuisine. Rossella Rago, author and host of “Cooking with Nonna,” emphasizes the importance of using lard in the pastry dough for an authentic taste experience. The filling, which can vary widely, typically includes ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, soppressata, prosciutto, and eggs, each cook adding their unique touch to the recipe.

Mexico: Capirotada

In Mexico, Easter brings the delightful indulgence of capirotada, a dessert reminiscent of bread pudding. Mely Martinez, creator of Mexico in My Kitchen, describes capirotada as a fusion of salty, sweet, soft, crunchy, and spicy flavors, creating an explosion of taste. Typically made with bread soaked in syrup made from piloncillo, cinnamon, and cloves, layered with cotija cheese, roasted peanuts, and raisins, and topped with bananas and sprinkles, capirotada is a beloved Easter treat with a rich history.

Poland: Żurek

In Poland, Easter celebrations feature żurek, a creamy and smoky fermented soup made from rye flour starter. Anna Hurning, creator of Polish Your Kitchen, explains that żurek’s tangy flavor is achieved through the fermentation process, which infuses the soup with its distinctive character. Served with boiled egg and sausage, and garnished with spicy horseradish, żurek holds a special place as a national treasure in Polish cuisine.

Singapore: Beef murtabak

Singapore’s culinary landscape, a melting pot of diverse cultures, is exemplified by dishes like beef murtabak. Chef Damian D’Silva, of Rempapa in Singapore, underscores the importance of preserving heritage cuisine in the face of cultural evolution. Beef murtabak, an egg crepe enfolding seasoned ground beef, reflects Singapore’s multicultural heritage through its aromatic spices and flavors.

Nigeria: Jollof rice

In Nigeria, Easter celebrations are synonymous with the aromatic and flavorful jollof rice. Lola Osinkolu, from Chef Lola’s Kitchen, describes jollof rice as a spicy and delicious dish, akin to the West African staple jambalaya. Her recipe, passed down from her mother, incorporates a secret step of roasting bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic, imparting a smoky taste that elevates the dish to new heights.

These Easter dishes from around the world offer a glimpse into the diverse culinary traditions that enrich the celebration of this joyous occasion. Whether it’s the savory delights of Italy, the sweet indulgence of Mexico, the tangy flavors of Poland, the aromatic spices of Singapore, or the flavorful abundance of Nigeria, Easter feasts unite communities in a celebration of culture, heritage, and gastronomy.

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