As the motto says, region you visit, tradition you find, and Italy, especially during the holidays, offers a great variety of customs and typical dishes from each region. Speaking of which, in a few days it is Easter, the celebration of “rebirth“, the last “official occasion” for culinary excesses before the fateful “bikini test.”
But despite the approach of “this awaited and feared moment” which is a prelude as a rule, to the start of a strict diet, it is practically impossible to give up the festive delicacies that accompany the whole Easter period, especially the confectionery ones, for example during this holiday the egg both chocolate and hard boiled is a protagonist.
This food (from a hen) with a somewhat strange and at the same time perfect shape, symbolizes life, since a creature (the chick) can be born from it. For this reason, during the Jewish Passover dinner, the egg was the food that would not be divided among the participants because it meant “demolition” of a life.
From a nutritional point of view, the hard-boiled egg weighs an average of 60 grams and provides about 80 kcal. It consists essentially of two fundamental parts: the albumen (white part), contains water, proteins of high biological value (containing all the essential amino acids) and vitamins of the B group; the yolk (yellow part) very rich in fats, especially cholesterol, this is the reason, its consumption should be limited, by recommending moderation (1-2 eggs per week). The egg is also rich in vitamins A, D and E and minerals (potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and zinc).
This unique and precious food, is lacking in carbohydrates, therefore, it is best to accompany it with bread / pasta and fresh vegetables so it becomes a complete dish. During Easter, in many regions of Italy, hard-boiled eggs are widely used for the preparation of characteristic desserts. A typical Easter cake that, for example, is prepared during Holy Week, is a large shortbread biscuit prepared with simple ingredients such as eggs, flour, milk and oil, with variable and imaginative shapes such as a “woven basket”, bunnies etc if usually the most widespread is the dove, symbol of excellence of this day.
Another characteristic and very particular specialty includes, besides the decoration with chocolate eggs and colored food beads, the use of hard-boiled eggs with thick colored shells, in various ways that are set between shortcrust pastry.
This delicious specialty, prepared in the most disparate forms, where art and imagination blend together, is particularly typical of the southern area. In Puglia, for example, it takes the name of Scarcella or scarsella, which means (doughnut) the boiled eggs to be eaten have to be “set free” from the shortcrust pastry, In Calabria the typical dessert made with boiled eggs is called: Piccillato di Pasqua. It is an easy dessert to prepare but requires a long time to rise, this is why it is prepared the day before Easter. It is characterized by the presence of hard-boiled eggs, in odd numbers, which cook together with the cake in variable shapes: a braid, donut, etc.
In Sicily it is called “cuddura (crown) cull’ova“(with eggs). In the past, for example, the most common form was circular, (bag or basket) so it could be hung on the shepard’s arm or hook, or in a heart shape chosen by girls to give to their boyfriends, or even more playful forms like dolls to give to girls.
In Sardinia, the Easter dessert is called “Coccoi cun s’ou” and is a typical bread made of durum wheat semolina, which during Easter takes different forms: dolls, birds, baskets or crosses but the constant is the hard-boiled egg with all its shell inserted in the short pastry. In the past this dessert was given to children instead of the classic Easter egg.
In Abbruzzo, the characteristic cake is called Cavalli e pupe, these deserts of simple shortcrust pastry, were prepared on Thursdays by the grandmothers in the shape of a doll to give to the girls and shaped like little horses to give to the boys. The common feature of horse and doll was the hard-boiled egg on the tummy.
The use at Easter events of the egg, as mentioned previously, symbolizes the rebirth or Resurrection, in the Christian tradition of Easter, and leads us back to the last supper when Christ after breaking the bread distributed it to the apostles. In this case, the breaking of the dessert symbolizes the very gesture of love and solidarity of this mystical moment in the history of Christ.