Italy may be a small country, but as any foodie knows, it’s packed with a rich diversity in cuisine — especially when it comes to the holidays; from north to the south, every region has its own classic menu for festivities. And Easter is no exception.
One of our favourite Easter treats in Florence (apart from a chocolate egg with a surprise inside!) is a slice of a soft cake called colomba, or dove cake. The dove is a symbol of peace and purity, and acts as messenger of good news (we could also say that in the form of a colomba, it also marks the end of the seemingly never-ending Italian Easter lunch!).
A classic colomba has candy orange zests in the dough, and icing sugar with almonds along the crust. (By the way, it also marries wonderfully with a glass of Vin Santo, a sweet wine from Tuscany.)
But instead of going sweet, we’ve decided to offer you a savoury recipe for this Easter season: the torta pasqualina. This is an ancient dish that’s a must-eat in springtime, and filled with plenty of symbolism for locals: the green spinach represents the rebirth of nature after a cold winter, and the fresh sheep’s cheese and hen’s eggs are available thanks to the arrival of sunshine over the flocks of sheep and chicken. In other words, the torta is a hymn to spring, to bright colours, and to new light — back in ancient times (when farms really were organic), chickens would start laying eggs in the spring after a long winter, when the sunlight is stronger and lasts longer.
Hungry for spring yet? Here’s how to make a super-yummy torta pasqualina, the authentic Tuscan way.