Liguria celebrates Easter with delicious dishes that come to life thanks to century-old recipes.
The protagonist: torta pasqualina
The main symbol of the region’s cuisine on this special occasion is the torta pasqualina, a savory pie that can be traced back to the 16th century. Once upon a time, this dish was traditionally prepared with up to 33 layers of thinly rolled pastry, representing the 33 years of Christ’s life. The volume of the pie was such that families would prepare the pie at home, and then had to bake it in the oven of a proper bakery! With time, the number of layers has decreased – after all, this is a very laborious and time-consuming recipe. Nevertheless, the torta pasqualina remains a delicious and striking dish. It is usually enjoyed on Easter Sunday for lunch, and even on the typical family excursions & picnics that take place outdoors on Easter Monday. It can be served or cold, it is equally tasty! Here’s a video recipe by YellowSaffron.
More Easter food delights
Like in most parts of Italy, typical Easter food in Liguria includes roast lamb. This tradition dates back to the Old Testament, and was passed down from the Jewish to the Christian religion, where the lamb became the symbol of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice made to save humanity. It is usually served with potatoes and artichokes.
Another meat-based dish that is very popular in the region, especially in and around the capital Genoa, is the cima alla genovese. The ingredients? Veal meat stuffed with more meat, eggs, cheese, vegetables.. and even more items, depending on the cook.
If you love rich flavors, don’t miss the lattughe ripiene in brodo, or stuffed lettuce in broth. The lettuce usually wraps a variety of ingredients such as veal or beef meat, mushrooms, ricotta, parmesan and eggs. Vegetarian options are also available.
Finally, it is time for what many children and grownups eagerly expect from Easter food … the desserts! The cavagnetti are traditional small pastry that embraces a hard-boiled egg with the shell. Those who follow the ancient tradition still paint the eggshell in red, to represent life and love. And then there are the biscotti quaresimali, almond cookies shaped like small donuts and decorated with glaze and small colorful pralines.
Cin cin! Combine the right wines
Virgilio Pronzati, a journalist specialized in enogastronomy, has a series of recommendations on how to combine the best local Ligurian wines with these traditional Easter food delicacies.
The torta pasqualina matches with young white wines like Golfo del Tigullio Vermentino. For the stuffed lettuce in broth and the cima alla genovese, you’ll appreciate light-red wines like Riviera Ligure di Ponente Rossese and Golfo del Tigullio Ciliegiolo. The roast lamb pairs greatly with a fine red wine like the Dolceacqua. And to complete this eno-gastronomic journey, enjoy the desserts with the aromatic white Golfo del Tigullio Moscato.
Are you planning an Easter vacation in this beautiful region? Perhaps with a panoramic sea-view room? Grand Hotel Portovenere is located in the historic center of Portovenere near the Cinque Terre, and overlooks the charming harbor and the traditional colorful buildings. Check out the Grand Easter package including a 2-night stay and the delicious Easter lunch at Palmaria Restaurant.
Main image above: Easter cake by mammaluci.com