What happens in the kitchens of the Val Pusteria at Easter?

Talking about traditions is one of our favorite activities, because it allows us to travel with the mind and better understand the places and people who live there. The most curious traditions fall frequently during the holidays and begin, especially in Italy, from the family table and recipes that are handed down from generation to generation. So at this time of the year we asked ourselves: what do you eat in Val Pusteria at Easter?

On the day that marks the end of Lent, Holy Saturday, Christians bring baskets of typical Easter food to the churches of the Pusteria Valley: Easter bread, ham, eggs and horseradish. The gesture is used to bless the food that will be eaten on Easter Sunday. Easter bread, in particular, is a bread with a crunchy crust and soft inside with an aniseed taste that is eaten only and exclusively at this time of year: it is stuffed with cooked ham, flavored speck, hard-boiled eggs, and, on the finish, a touch of horseradish is added, which gives the whole a particular note.

On Palm Sunday, which falls on April 5 in 2020, the olive and willow branches adorned with colored ribbons are brought to the church. These too, called "Palmbesen" will be blessed and brought to the house where they will be kept all year round. On the same Sunday, the "Palmesel", the "donkey of the palms" will be elected in the family: a special prize awarded to the member who will get up later to have breakfast.

On Easter Sunday, however, the table is laden with some typical products and others made with seasonal vegetables. A dish that never fails on the tables of the Val Pusteria are the Easter meatballs, prepared with minced lamb, rosemary, shallot and parsley, and wrapped in a pork net. They are cooked or in the sauce for a long time, or fried in boiling oil.

Among the seasonal vegetables are the white Zambana asparagus, which fill the Easter tables with ham patties, risotto with asparagus, or are combined with eggs and speck.

For the sweet tooth, in addition to the inevitable chocolate eggs, the tables of the Val Pusteria at Easter never lack the Easter crown: a mixture of flour, milk, eggs, sugar, butter, fresh cream and lemon juice, which is garnished with boiled eggs.