How do the Umbrians start Easter? Feasting, logicamente: before Mass, a breakfast of a glass of robust red wine, savory cheesebread topped with homemade (if possible) salami or prosciutto or capocollo and hard-boiled eggs drizzled with the family olive oil and perhaps a bit of lemon juice squeezed on top. Sweet cakes with sprinkles on top, also made in the outdoor ovens, might be included, too.
Blessed food, literally: the rural women have taken baskets of all these ingredients to be blessed by their local priest on Holy Saturday afternoon. And nowadays, huge chocolate eggs wrapped in colorful cellophane might be included, too – for children and grandchildren! And as the rural women are all Italians, of course, what beauty in those baskets! Most are topped with embroidered linens that they stitched.
[lcaption]Padre Giuseppe, about to bless the baskets in an Assisi countryside church:[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Every basket, an image of beauty – and enticing goodness:[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Rosanna, Rita, Marino and Chiarina – dear rural friends – after the blessings, bellissimi baskets in hand[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Peppa, too, brings her basket to be blessed[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Orietta with her basket of Easter goodness – and daughter, with her giant egg, ready for a blessing, too[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Peppa with her Easter basket and a little one with her eggs, ready for blessing[/lcaption]
The baking of the Easter cheese breads in the outdoor wood-burning ovens takes place all over the Umbrian countryside the week before Easter. Many farm women bake 10 – 20 or more cheese breads (using as many as 150 eggs! and kilos and kilos of cheeses, giving them as gifts to relatives and friends. Each woman will also bless the breads in their oven to assure a successful baking, making the sign of the Cross with an olive branch from the Palm Sunday Mass: olive branches given out as olive pruning has taken place all over and the branches are abundant.
[lcaption]Farm friend Giuseppa baking her cheese-breads – and blessing them:[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Peppa starting her cheese breads: cutting the cheeses[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Peppa, proud of her cheese breads baked in her wood stove[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Peppa offers a taste of her superb torta di formaggio[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Peppa enjoys her torta di formaggio with daughter-in-law, Monia[/lcaption]
Can there ever be a variation on the traditional Easter breakfast? Well, yes: last year, I did not hard-boil our chicken’s eggs but decided to make a wild asparagus frittata:
This year? Back to tradition:
Click here for more on this Umbria tradition
Read more on the cheese-breads and enjoy a recipe!
Read about stunning Good Friday in Assisi
Read more about Good Friday in Assisi
Click here to read about Easter Monday in Umbria
See how to make a wild asparagus frittata
See how we find the wild asparagus
See how to flip a frittata
[lcaption]…and enjoy other photos of the Easter cheese breads tradition[/lcaption]
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