As Easter is always a great time to travel and enjoy the beginning of spring somewhere away from home, I decided to celebrate easter in Italy this year. Skipping the religious part of the holiday, I focused on food, family and… food. We (my boyfriend and pretty constant travel companion and I) arrived at our families’ place in North Italy thursday morning. Everybody was already in full work-and-preparation-mood for the the big lunch on sunday. After all there were more than 20 mouths to feed and bellies to fill. The mothers, grandmothers and daughters discussed who should bring which dish. They all have their specialties. One would bring the first, one the second starter. Another one brought one of the main courses, while several others took on the responsibility to prepare dessert… Friday was used to make sure who was coming with what kind of food and saturday to buy all ingredients needed and start cooking and baking what could already be cooked and baked. My very talented – and as I found out that afternoon patient – friend was making cupcakes for dessert and I tried to help her as well as my (lack of) patience allowed me to. Birds… We wanted to make little birds to put on top of the cupcakes. So we started forming little cubes of sugar and chocolate, searched the house for something that could be used as eyes and tried desperately to carve wings and beaks out of sugar paste in all kinds of colors. After about an hour and a half we looked at our work and… it didn’t look good. So we decided to move ingredients, half finished birds and ideas to the grandmother’s house to make roses with her pasta-maker instead of birds without wings. While my flowers turned out weirder and weirder as time and patience passed, my friend made one pretty rose after the other and saved the easter-cupcakes…

Cupcakes-in-the-making1

Sunday came fast, the night was short (literally) and it was time for the big family-easter-lunch. Everyone gathered around a long table, children played full of excitement in anticipation of the gigantic amount of chocolate waiting for them and even the sun decided to show its face in those rather unusually rainy days of spring – and on top of that came a whole lot of food. It started with bread and grissinis with homemade salami and the famous prosciutto of this region. Followed by fresh, fried vegetables and an enormous plate of pasticcio (lasagne, as we call it) and crêpes filled with mushrooms and cheese. I think you can imagine my face when I found out that all this food was just the starter. The main course consisted of tender lamb meat and potatoes with rosemary… Then came cheese & olives and red wine had been present from the very beginning, of course. The dessert-dish was warm creme with a bowl made of biscuit and filled with strawberries. All that followed by chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, two other cakes “fatto in casa”, bitters and a strong espresso to top it off.

Essenneu

(Italian accent): “It was a grrrreat success!”

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