“Buona Pasqua” is “Happy Easter” in Italian – and we decided to share with you how is Easter celebrated in Italy. Travelling may be off the cards until for now, but you can bring a bit of the Bel Paese home this spring with these Italian Easter traditions. We spoke to Annalisa from Castello di Radda about how the festival is celebrated in Tuscany, where tradition is always interwoven with good food and great wine.
Like most of Italy, Tuscany is predominantly Catholic — and Easter is one of the most important festivals of the year. People across the region come together to celebrate the resurrection with these unique traditions.
The Blessed Easter eggs
Easter and eggs go hand in hand. In the UK we give each other chocolate eggs, or paint hollow eggs and roll them downhill. In Chianti the tradition is a little different. On Easter Eve, it’s traditional to boil and peel a number of eggs, and then bring them along to midnight mass to be blessed. The eggs are placed in wicker or terracotta baskets and wrapped with hand-embroidered or crochet doilies. During the ceremony they sit on the side altar, dedicated to the Madonna. Each family takes their blessed eggs home to eat the next day. They’re served to mark the beginning of Easter lunch, with everyone at the table reciting a short prayer before devouring their egg.
Traditional Tuscan lunch
After eating the blessed eggs, the true feast can begin. Easter lunch in Tuscany starts with charcuterie — usually salami, ham and finocchiona, a Tuscan salami enriched with fennel. Starters also include liver spread on crostini, and pecorino cheese. Chicken soup comes next, followed by the typical Easter roast.
In Tuscany this is either lamb or pork loin, served with vegetables. Wine is an important part of the meal, too, with Chianti Classico often being the top choice to accompany dinner.
Opening the best bottles in the cellar
Easter is a hugely important religious and gastronomic event in Tuscany, so it’s only right that the best bottles of wine are selected for the Easter feast. Annalisa from Castello di Radda has a lot of wonderful bottles to choose from, such as:
Castello di Radda Vigna il Corno Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 – This exceptional wine is Annalisa’s top pick for Easter lunch. Gran Selezione wines are only made in the very best years. It’s rich and complex, with flavours of cherry, blackberry, smoke, dried fig and chocolate. It won a Gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020.
Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva 2014 – Another masterpiece, this award-winning Riserva wine comes from the estate’s oldest vineyard. It has a rich, deep and smooth flavour profile with lots of dried red cherry, leather, aromatic herbs, vanilla, spice, sweet tobacco and forest floor. It won a Silver medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2019.
Castello di Radda Rosato 2019 – for something a little lighter, this Sangiovese Rosé is the perfect choice. It tastes youthful and fresh. If the sun’s shining it makes the perfect accompaniment to that al-fresco Tuscan salami board. The delicate perfume of raspberry, strawberry and red grapefruit is certainly very springlike, and the perfect way to herald in the warmer months.
Celebrating Easter the Tuscan way
Religion, food and drink are inseparable in Tuscany. This is especially during large festivals like Easter. This is the time of year when families come together, celebrate their faith and enjoy the incredible bounty from the local land. While it might be difficult to convince a British priest to bless your boiled egg, you can still take part in some of these Italian Easter traditions this year – such as drinking an outstanding bottle of Chianti Classico. Buona Pasqua!