Easter Holidays & the Egg

Easter Eggs in Glass

The egg is nature's perfect package. It has, during the span of history, represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. It is the universal symbol of Easter celebrations throughout the world and has been dyed, painted, adorned and embellished in the celebration of its special symbolism.

Before the egg became closely entwined with the Christian Easter, it was honored during many rite-of-Spring festivals. The Romans, Chinese, Egyptians and Persians all cherished the egg as a symbol of the universe. From ancient times eggs were dyed, exchanged and shown reverence.

As a sign of resurrection, it has always been present at Easter. So, adapting these symbols and religious meanings, Italians, at the end of the 18th century, developed a tradition of exchanging chocolate eggs, in which a gift has been inserted.

With such ingredients as sugar, whole milk, cocoa butter and cocoa, today's chocolate eggs come in all sizes and styles. We find dark chocolate, milk chocolate or sugar coated (resembling common eggs); while some are sugar-decorated, sold "natural", without a wrapper, others have beautiful, brightly-colored foil wrappers. Chocolate eggs differ also in the "surprise" they contain (for children, boys and girls, adults...), which goes from the most simple to the most refined and precious little objects.

While the ancient beliefs underlying Easter eggs may be long forgotten, the important Italian tradition of giving these oval shaped sweets has become widespread, to the immense delight of people from many diverse cultures and backgrounds, especially the world's children.

"Colomba" Easter Dove Cake

Numerous legends surround the Colomba (Dove) – Easter cake. One tells how, during the Battle of Legnano, just after Easter, the Milanese in combat against Barbarossa witnessed the fight turn in their favor when 3 doves flew from a nearby church. Legend says that ever since, the people of Milan recall this event by eating cakes in the shape of a dove.

Colomba's principal ingredients are flour, butter, egg yolk, sugar, orange peel, almonds and milk. With its soft and delicate texture and a golden crust that bespeaks a high nutritional value, it is a delight for the palate. Try you hand at this Easter cake with this Colomba Recipe Similar to the Panettone eaten at Christmas time, the Colomba gained popularity when a Milanese baking industry started publicizing their “Colomba”, the spring dessert. All around the world, Colomba brings glad tidings, ending the Easter meal in happiness.

AM Mar. 08

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