Pasqua: Chocolate Eggs, Pastiera and Newborn Hope for All

Easter should always be sun, new blossoms and church bells.

The large Perugina chocolate eggs waiting in the wings, resplendent in their colorful wrapping. Growing up in Italy, they were the highlight of the holiday for us kids.   Those ‘amazing’ surprises inside (trinkets) would gift us a few IMG_3107hours of happiness, no matter how trivial.

On Easter day, my father would carefully unwrap the largest egg, precisely cut off the top, remove the sorpresa, and hand us each a good-sized chunk of the delectable cioccolato fondente. Then he meticulously re-wrapped the egg and stored it away. Period. The rest of the egg would be handed out a little bit each day, at the end of the pranzo. No chocolate overdose for us, that was for sure. Just enough to (barely) satisfy our cravings, and to look forward to the next serving. A reasonable method of controlling calories and greed. And, yes, it worked.

Easter should be new white shoes, pink, straw-yellow or light green dresses, with just a pastel cardigan over them.

A plate of home-made tortelloni, lavish chubby dough bundles, stuffed with Swiss chard and ricotta, served in a melted butter sauce, abundantly sprinkled with parmigiano reggiano, an explosion of gustatory ecstasy.  A butter-tender capretto slowly roasted with rosemary and garlic, on a bed of brown-crusted potatoes.

And, to end our feast, a large golden Pastiera, redolent of orange blossom water, cinnamon, vanilla, dIMG_3123eliciously heavy with ricotta cream, candied orange and wheat berries. Creamy as a dream, the exotic flavors insinuating into our very souls. Memories that cannot ever be erased, too strong and poignant to disappear into the loss that is time.

Easter should be an almond and coarse sugar-encrusted yeast colomba to wake up to. The aroma of fresh coffee emanating from the trusty moka.   The sun seeping through the blinds, the sky clear and ridente.

Walking to church in our new clothes, smiling to the crowd.

Welcome back, Jesus, please take care of our fragile world.

Happy Easter to all, Buona Pasqua, my dear readers!

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