Easter is one of the bigger celebrations we have each year and, with an extended weekend to go with it, who could really complain? Stuffing ourselves with chocolate has now become something of a social norm and, to others around the world, Easter still includes an incredible amount of sweet treats. This is not only the perfect time to seek the hidden sights of Europe’s warming cities but can also bring opportunities to see local parades and festivals that might otherwise be missed.
With some of the best cuisine in the world, France has cemented itself as a must-visit destinations for foodies. As an Easter tradition, the locals in the small town of Haux collect an impressive 4,500 eggs to make one of the world’s largest omelettes. The source of this tradition has been linked to Napoleon and his army. After they travelled through the area, they enjoyed their egg-filled dinners so much that they ordered everybody to grab their eggs and make one giant omelette to eat the next day. The tradition has stuck ever since.
Just wandering the streets of France can give you more than a good taste of what the country is all about. Tarte Tatin takes the top spot for deserts that found in France during the Easter period, prepared with a selection of fruit before being smothered in caramelised butter and sugar. Unlike other dishes, French toast is not a seasonal delight, but during the Easter months many regions and neighbouring countries bring out their own reinvention of this famous snack to be shared throughout the months of Lent.
Much like Halloween, Sweden has adopted a dress-up theme where young children create their own costumes and walk the streets with drawings and paintings hoping to barter for sweets. Dressing up isn’t the only unique activity that Sweden presents, as many Swedes also paint eggs too. After hard boiling your egg, you can create endless patterns and motives to enter local competitions before finally eating them.
Sweden’s cuisine doesn’t change throughout the festive period, but you can still enjoy the wondrous range of chocolate cake and the fan-favourite, buffet-style smorgasbords found in town. The only real change you might notice is the sudden influx of salmon, which derives from a 17th-century tradition.
Before getting too alarmed during this next tradition, the locals have reported no injuries due to throwing pots, but we still recommend staying at a safe distance. On the Holy Saturday before Easter, many Corfiots meet along the city streets in high spirits for the annual pot throwing festival. The festival is kick-started with one of the largest pots filled with water, taking three men to lift it over the balcony edge. Once this has been dropped, carnage ensues with people throwing pots, pans and other earthenware in every direction.
Much like the rest of the year, Greeks will never shy away from food. This is arguably the best time to reignite your passion for various Mediterranean dishes and goodies including koulourakia (a type of butter cookie) and Cretan sweet cheese pastries known as kalitsounia – these are slightly addictive and sold everywhere during the holidays in Greece.
Florence is already one of the top tourist destinations around the world, but once you add in the festive fun, the city erupts into celebration. The most notable tradition is where a colossal, decorated waggon is pulled through the city by white oxen until it reaches the cathedral. After Gloria is sung, the Archbishop sends a dove-shaped rocket into the cart that ignites a large firework display, symbolising the start of the celebrations.
As the most culinary decorated country from around the world, you would expect Italy to have festive feasts to die for. Fortunately, you wouldn’t be wrong. The top Easter pastry, Colomba Di Pasqua is a type of bread that is shaped like a dove and covered with pearl sugar and almonds on top. Finally, Italy’s most popular cake has to be Fugazza Vicentina, a lightly-sweetened bread that’s spiced with vanilla and lemon zest.
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