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8 Easter food ideas from around the world

There’s so much more to Easter than just chocolate eggs and bunnies. Here, we pay homage to the annual celebration with a look at eight traditional foods from around the globe.

hot cross buns
Origin: UK

Hot cross buns

Probably the most well-known Easter dish of all time – traditionally eaten in countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and America – the hot cross bun is a lightly spiced, sweet bun that typically contains currants or raisins. A distinct feature is the marked cross on top, commonly believed to signify the crucifixion of Jesus. While hot cross buns were once reserved for Good Friday alone, we’re now able to get them at any time of the year. Check out our three Easter recipes, one of which is a  baked pudding recipe that features hot cross buns!

simnel cake easter
Origin: UK

Simnel cake

This dessert, popular in the UK and Ireland, is a light fruit cake filled with two layers – one in the middle and one on top – of almond paste or marzipan. Usually, eleven or twelve marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, signifying the apostles. Turn to page 156 of our print mag for a great Simnel Cake recipe!

greek easter bread
Origin: Greece


Traditionally served to break the Lenten fast, this braided, sweet, egg-enriched bread – also eaten in Hungary and Czech Republic, among other countries – can come in savoury versions, too. Taste and texture-wise, it’s similar to brioche, panettone and challah bread: think soft and fluffy, yet slightly chewy.

gubana easter bread
Origin: Italy


Apart from Easter, this traditional, round Italian bread is also made for Christmas and weddings. A cross between brioche and cake, gubana can be filled with nuts, raisins, chocolate and brandy.

kulich russia easter
Origin: Russia


Eaten only between Easter Sunday and Pentecost (49 days after Easter), kulich, which is baked in tall, cylindrical tins, is decorated with white icing and colourful sprinkles or flowers; it has a similar recipe to the Italian panettone, and is blessed by the priest before consumption. Kulich is commonly consumed in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Georgia.

fanesca easter
Origin: Ecuador


Typically served only during the Holy Week (one week before Easter), this rice soup consists of fig-leaf gourd, pumpkin and 12 kinds of beans and grains. The ingredients and preparation method can vary regionally, and from one family to another, but it’s often garnished with hard-boiled eggs, fried plantains and herbs.

Capirotada easter bread
Origin: Mexico


Usually eaten on Good Friday, this bread pudding-style dish comprises toasted bolillo (a baguette-like bread) soaked in a mulled syrup made of clove, cinnamon sticks and whole cane sugar. Nuts, seed, dried fruits and aged cheese are often added, too.

pickled fish recipe
Origin: South Africa

Cape Malay pickled fish

While there are varying tales on the origins of the recipe, pickled fish has been around since the Cape Colony. After it’s cooked, the fish is often left in the fridge for at least 24 hours, then served with salads, and hot cross buns or crusty breads during Easter season.

By: Anthia Chng

This story first appeared in the April 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

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