Easter – it’s a tradition around the world and although in Australia, coloured and decorated hard-boiled eggs, chocolate eggs and Bilby’s are the first thing to come to mind, there are many other delicacies that factor into traditional Easter meals from around the world.
The one food in common is lamb. The roast lamb dinner consumed by millions dates back earlier than Easter – derived from the first Passover Seder of the Jewish people.
At Phoenix, we’d like to celebrate our multi-cultural Australian values and the foods & ingredients available in-centre that vary across the globe from country to region.
Polish Easter’s brunch buffet table is plentiful, showcasing the country’s traditional and best dishes. Stuffed eggs similar to deviled eggs (jajka faszerowany), rye meal soup with Polish sausage (zurek) and a white soup (bialy barszcz) made of potatoes, garlic, sour cream, eggs and rye bread is an Easter tradition. Braised red cabbage (czerwona kapusta zasmazana) accompanies the main dish of lamb or roasted turkey.
Speaking of Lamb, what about sweet lamb cake or a yeasty cake made with 15 eggs or (mazurek krolewski) a flat pastry often topped with almond paste, preserves, dried fruits and nuts. Desserts are many for a sweet little Easter.
Symbolic foods of Easter for the Italian community are eggs and lamb and traditional dishes that incorporate both such as (brodetto pasquale), a lamb frittata with asparagus. Italians also love to bake at Easter and so dishes such as (neapolitan casatiello), a meat stuffed bread topped with eggs that are baked into the dough and the (taralli di pasqua) a sweet bread made with whole eggs nestled on top are a favourite. Lamb is almost always the main dish and artichokes are usually served on the side. Desserts include (Easter dove) a sweet, yeast cake shaped as a dove and (neapolitan Easter cake) is a ricotta filled treat flavoured with orange-flower water.
The Greek Orthodox Easter falls on a different day from the traditional Easter holiday but the food traditions should never be discounted – Greeks know how to cook and cook they do.
The Greek Easter feast generally begins after the midnight church service, with the main event held on Easter Sunday. Every Greek family has on their table: lamb, eggs and (tsoureki), an orange and soice scented braided bread with a red egg nestled on top. Cheese pastries (kalitsounia) made with Filo or rolled dough are traditional dishes to feast on while the lamb is cooking. Olives, feta dip, tzatzki and rice stuffed grape leaves (dolmathakia me kima) make delicious snacks. The main course starts with a quintessential Greek soup such as (avgolemono) with orzo and a lemony-egg mixture that tastes quite unique. Lamb is often served with roast potatoes with lemon & oregano, salad, vegetables & bread. For dessert a traditional Filo custard pie (galaktoboureko), butter cookies with sesame seeds are followed by strong Greek coffee or wine.
It seems that every country we have spoken about has its own special Easter bread and ours of course are (hot cross buns) favoured by Aussies. The tradition is derived allegedly from ancient Anglo-Saxons who baked small wheat cakes in honour of the springtime goddess, Eostre. Roast Lamb, roasted vegetables and royal potatoes grace our dinner plates while traditional brown gravy and a fresh mint sauce is a delicious accompaniment to the meat and a nod to our cooler weather.
A sweet (simnel cake) signals the end of Lent and is filled with ingredients such as spices, fruits and marzipan that is forbidden in religious times of fasting.
Of course we end it with chocolate. It’s a chocolate fest with a wide selection of hollow and solid eggs, chocolate mud cakes and mousse.