Easter is of huge cultural significance in Italy, with weeks of preparations culminating traditionally in elaborate nationwide celebrations that take place throughout Easter weekend; outside of COVID, of course! So it may not surprise you that Italian families also take the opportunity to mark the occasion with suitably fantastic feasts.
If you’re looking for a little Italian culinary inspiration to add some flair to your Easter weekend plans, look no further; we’re diving into our Nonna’s recipe book and choosing our favourite Easter food to feast on, all with a chilled NIO Cocktail in hand. Join us as we spend Easter weekend exploring our Italian roots through Easter food favourites, day-by-day and plate-by-plate.
Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” - Christmas is for your family, Easter is for whomever you choose! - Italian proverb
A Tradition with a TwistGood Friday is considered the most solemn day of the Easter festivities, so much so that traditionally Italian families would fast on this day - although in recent years many families opt for fish based meals instead. If you’re looking for a pre-dinner cocktail to enjoy alongside white fish, the crisp botanical notes and zesty finish of our Gimlet makes a perfect accompaniment. If you really want to impress, top off your Gimlet with a fresh lime peel to add a touch of colour and a beautifully light citrus perfume to your drink.
Upgrade Your Coffee Break
The Colomba di Pasqua is a staple of Italian Easter weekends, and it’s easy to see why. Similar to a Christmas Panettone, the Colomba di Pasqua is an elaborate sweet loaf, baked in the shape of a dove to symbolise hope and renewal, and studded with pearl sugar, candied peel and dried fruits. This can be enjoyed as an afternoon snack, for dessert - even for breakfast - but the true match for this festive treat is our Espresso Martini, a decadent choice to complement the rich buttery textures of the Colomba.
A Sweet Springtime Celebration
On Easter Sunday a more celebratory atmosphere can be found in the kitchen. The word “sumptuous” springs to mind when we think of the Pastiera Napoletana, a firm favourite among Italians on Easter Sunday, and a dessert that takes nearly 3 days to prepare. Buttery shortcrust pastry is filled with ricotta cheese flavoured with orange blossom water, vanilla, and decorated with candied citrus peels to evoke the flavours of Italian springtime. We can think of no better pairing for such a delicately flavoured dessert than our Gin Proved. Boasting lightly floral and subtle marzipan aromas from the Parfait Amour Liqueur and complimented by a bright citrus finish.
A Short Drink for a Long Weekend
After the ceremonies that take place over Easter weekend, La Pasquetta - which literally translates to Little Easter - is a breath of fresh air and typically an ideal excuse to take to the countryside or the coast with friends. Here the sentiment of “Easter for whomever you choose” comes into its own, and a very leisurely lunch is a highlight of the day. Lamb, an ever popular choice at Easter from its connotations of new beginnings, is slow cooked with juniper berries and fresh herbs for a traditional celebration. Another popular choice among Italians before such an indulgence is the humble Negroni, whose balanced bittersweet flavours and botanical aroma make a near-perfect match with roast lamb.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
If your idea of Easter isn’t complete without copious amounts of chocolate, then you’ll be relieved to hear you’re in good company with the Italians. In recent years chocolate eggs have become hugely popular as Easter gifts; and not just for children, either! With painstakingly elaborate designs and sometimes smaller treats or trinkets inside, dark chocolate eggs or truffles with gianduja hazelnut fillings are an essential element of the Easter indulgences. For a thoroughly grown-up pairing, savour your chocolate of choice with our warming Brown Gold cocktail - rich vanilla spice from Bulleit Bourbon meets a smooth coffee liqueur, or for dark chocolate lovers opt for our Majani Chocolate Cocktail Box - a perfect way to close our long weekend in Italy.