Buona Pasqua! Spring has sprung, and Easter is fast approaching. As you may know, this holiday is a very big deal in Italy.
There are many customs and traditions that are followed across Italy during Easter, many of which involve food, which will undoubtedly pique the interests of many reading this!
At Valentina Deli & Kitchen, we are passionate about making authentic Italian cuisine and experiences accessible to everyone. With the looming celebrations drawing ever closer, we thought there was no better time than now to share some ideas and inspiration for you to create a unique and delicious Easter experience this spring, Italian-style!
So grab an espresso and let’s dive into the details.
Valentina Restaurant Spring and Summer Menu
Springtime in Italy is something to marvel at. From March onwards, the ‘al fresco’ dining experience becomes all the rage, and people begin spending more time outdoors. This is also a great opportunity for more people to grow some delicious staple Italian vegetables at home to add some pazazz to their meals. For example, Valentina’s Franchi seed collection allows you to grow springtime staples like broccoli, celery, carrots, leeks, fennel and many more.
From the 3rd of April 2023, Valentina Deli & Kitchen will be adding some exquisite, authentic Italian spring and summer dishes to its menu. Restaurant customers will get the chance to try freshly prepared dishes such as:
- Pizza Salsiccia and Friarielli
- Fiori di Zucca
- Bucatini Cacio e Pepe
- Tortelloni Ricotta e Spinaci
- Filetto di Branzino
Made using the finest fresh ingredients, sourced from reputable Italian producers, come on down to the Valentina restaurants in either East Sheen or Weybridge to see for yourself how marvellous these dishes are. You won’t find a better authentic Italian experience in the UK!
The Italian Aperitivo
If you don’t fancy a full meal, Valentina can host you for aperitivi, where you can enjoy a lovely cocktail or fine Italian wine and some delicious nibbles like olives, cheese, salami, seasonal vegetables, bruschetta, and so on. This time-honoured Italian mealtime tradition adds a little warmth to everyone’s day, bringing them closer to the ‘Italian way’ of life.
Now with the evenings getting warmer and the sun hanging around for a bit longer, it’s a perfect time to enjoy a traditional Italian aperitivo with a wide range of stuzzichini or spuntini, available at both our Weybridge and East Sheen restaurants from Sunday to Thursday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.
So, if you fancy some hors d’oevres with an early afternoon or evening drink, Valentina is the place to be!
Italian Easter Traditions
In Italy, Easter is known as Pasqua, marking the end of a long period of fasting during Lent. After Christmas, Easter is the most important and celebrated holiday in Italy, so it’s fair to say that this occasion is worth enjoying to the fullest. For Italian Catholics, it’s a day to commemorate the women of the sepulchre of Christ, while other Italians, like many practising Christians, celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Historically, Easter was celebrated on the first Sunday after the first post-Spring Equinox full moon. The Holy Week (La Settimana Santa) begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday, culminating with the religious rituals of Easter Triduum and Mass. Many Italian families will attend Mass on the morning of Easter Sunday, before gathering for a huge Easter lunch.
Easter Monday is known as La Pasquetta (translated verbatim as ‘Little Easter’), which is more of an informal community fete after the solemnity and reflective nature of Easter Sunday. Also known as Lunedi dell ‘Angelo (‘Monday of the Angels’), this national holiday sees families flocking to parks, vineyards, beaches and meadows to enjoy a picnic full of Easter leftovers, as well as other delicacies like baked frittata, antipasti, calzone, as well as sweet biscotti and exquisite red wine.
Throughout the Easter period, Italian towns, villages and cities hold a broad range of celebrations, exhibitions and feasts, including Florence’s Scoppio del Carro parade of fireworks and Sicily’s procession of statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
Other Italian traditions at Easter include the game of Uova di Pasqua, which involves the decoration of hard-boiled eggs with intricate and colourful designs. People then compete with one another to see whose egg cracks first.
Popular Italian Easter Dishes
Celebrating Easter in Italy is a momentous occasion, not least due to the enormous range of delicious food you can enjoy with your family and friends. But if you need some inspiration of what to make this year, why not consider the following Italian Easter food ideas, courtesy of the family-run Italian food specialists at Valentina Deli & Kitchen?
- Cheeses and charcuteries - perfect for a La Pasquetta picnic in the spring sunshine.
- Devilled eggs - made with parmesan, spring onion, and salami.
Easter Starters and Side Dishes
- Easter bread - a perfect appetiser to enjoy at breakfast time on Easter Sunday.
- Peas and pancetta - a super easy-to-make side dish that complements any picnic or sit-down meal over the festive period.
- Tomato and onion salad - who doesn’t love a starter of fresh vine tomatoes, red onion, garlic and balsamic vinegar?
- Pecorino – one of Italy’s most loved cheeses, strong, savoury and hard, made from sheep’s milk, often served with fava beans, asparagus and other green vegetables.
Easter Main Dishes
- Asparagus Ricotta Frittata - a perfect addition to a La Pasquetta picnic basket, featuring olive oil, cucumbers, tomatoes, and asparagus, which goes well with focaccia bread.
- Pizza Rustica - a traditional Italian Easter pie stuffed full of delicious cheese and ricotta fillings.
- Calzone - a staple meal enjoyed by many on Good Friday and Easter Monday, which goes well with Caesar salads, ravioli, and Italian red wine.
- Slow cooker ham - boneless ham glazed in brown sugar.
- Salmon Wellington - an elegant dish of salmon wrapped in puff pastry and served with a rich Dijon sauce.
- Tortellini Primavera - a staple vegetable and cheese pasta dish.
Easter Desserts and Sweet Treats
- Chocolate Easter eggs and hot cross buns - because no Easter celebration is complete without these.
- Easter cookies - soft batch-cooked cookies with a crunchy, sweet frosting.
- Lemon Amaretti cookies - delicate, soft and crumbly biscuits with a light frosting.
- Pastries and cakes - Neapolitan Easter cakes like Casatiello or Pastiera Napoletana would be perfect for a post-Easter Sunday feast.
- Colomba – an artisanal, rich and fluffy cake that is to Easter what panettone and pandoro is to Christmas, often served with fresh berries, whipped cream or coated in delicious dark chocolate.
- Limoncello Tiramisu - a must-have lemon-flavoured Italian dessert featuring ladyfinger cookies and mascarpone cheese.
- Rose wine - the Tormaresca Calafuria Negroamaro Rosato is one of our best-sellers.
- White wine - the Villadoria Gavi di Gavi or the Antinori Bramito would complement any meal!
- Red wine - the Bramosia Chianti Classico or the Linteo Primitivo would make a perfect palate cleanser between Easter meals.
Valentina is the place to be this Easter!