Back in the day I would whip out dozens of these, no problem. But yesterday I realized that I’m sadly out of shape when it comes to decorating cookies as these took forever to do. A good thing Easter only comes once a year – Buona Pasqua!
Great weather, great food, and a healthy dose of fresh air did us all a lot of good for the long holiday weekend. We headed out to the province of Vicenza which sits halfway between Verona and Venice in the Veneto region. The agriturismo (italian farmstay) that stayed at was situated not far from Marostica where this photo was taken. If you haven’t already guessed, it is Piazza degli Scacchi, known all over the world for the human chess game in September on even years. Marostica is also famous for its cherries and the spring season is the best time to visit to see cherry and other fruit trees in bloom.
We switched to daylight savings time on Sunday morning so it was nice to wake up “late” on Easter. Currently the forecast is rain – right on cue for the month of April showers. Hiking and food posts coming up. And this is Hugo greeting us a good morning at the agriturismo.
In our home the traditional Easter lunch has always come and gone without too much fuss, but lucky for us this year, my father-in-law’s caregiver added a special touch to Sunday’s meal. Rosie hails from Romania and it was inevitable that she would include some of her country’s traditions, like these deep red (such a symbolic color, no?) hard-boiled eggs. The egg wraps aren’t anything like I’ve used back in the states but in any case, coloring eggs isn’t an italian custom so it was a delight to admire these all sitting prettily on a plate.
It might be said that too many cooks spoil the broth but our collaborative efforts didn’t give much credence to the old saying. It takes a little planning is all! We did the first course while Rosie took care of the rest, and I’m happy to say that we spared the sacrificial lamb this year. We will eat that lamb when it gets big and fat!
Spring’s first asparagus are beginning to appear in markets which is always a welcome sign. MotH prepared a creamy risotto while I poached eggs and popped open a jar of lumpfish caviar. We are spoiled, no?
Rosie prepared mici (seasoned meat rolls) and sarmale (meat and rice-stuffed cabbage rolls). It amazes me at how many ways there are on stuffing cabbage leaves. Her husband told us that sarmale is even better with an added dollop of thick cream on top, which is precisely what he did while I looked on with big, greedy eyeballs.
Now here I’ve rattled off what we all prepared, but before sitting down to our italo-romanian table, Rosie showed us an Easter game played in her homeland. While one person smacks a hard-boiled egg end-to-end with another player’s egg, he must say Hristos a înviat! (Christ is risen!). The other player then replies Adevarat a înviat! (Truly He is Risen!). The loser is the one whose egg gets cracked, and the winner goes on to challenge another person. I wish we had this game while growing up. I made a quick video (with subs) in which my father-in-law does not get the pronunciation quite right as he was anxious to get on with the main feast!