It’s about that time of the year again when walking into any UK supermarket means being immediately confronted by a vast variety of Easter eggs and an outrageous amount of hot cross buns. However, whilst we associate Easter with currant buns and chocolate, it is rather different in other countries.
Visit Russia at Easter time and you are sure to be offered Kulich: a tall, sweet bread decorated with white icing and colourful flowers that tends to be eaten before breakfast after being blessed by a priest at the Easter service. If there is any left over, it is served with Paskha, another Russian Easter dish that consists of cheese shaped into a pyramid to symbolise a church – delicious and religious.
Moving slightly west to Finland, you can try Mämmi. It is made from water, rye flour, powdered malt, dark molasses, salt and orange zest and is usually served with cream and sugar; it looks a bit like molten oreos soaking in milk. Apparently, almost half of Finland does not like Mämmi and it has been described as tasting like ‘solid beer’. Perhaps stick to the Creme Eggs.
Greece, on the other hand, has perfected Easter foods. Lamb is the most popular main course, whether it be in the form of a roast leg, meatballs, lamb chops or even the entire animal. Following this, Greeks munch on Koulourakia – sweet, crunchy, buttery biscuits twisted into braids and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Moving over to Ecuador, the most common Easter dish is Fanesca, a thick and hearty soup traditionally made with 12 types of beans and grains to represent the 12 apostles of Jesus. It is then usually topped with salted cod – a Latin American favourite – which represents Jesus himself. It is worth noting that Fanesca is notoriously time consuming and complex to make, so maybe not a recipe for a novice chef.
Take a trip to Australia and feel at home. Whilst their Easter traditions might not include any crazy or complicated recipe, I thought it was amusing that rather than eating chocolate rabbits, it is common to eat Chocolate Bilbies. Bilbies are an endangered marsupial native to Australia, so the idea is that making chocolate versions raises awareness of the species. A lovely thought, but arguably not quite as cute as the Lindt Bunny.
Image: Jarosław Pocztarski