Apart from the fact that it’s not egg-shaped OR made of chocolate, Italy’s Easter Dove is also famous for being one of very few foods that every nonna will buy from a shop, rather than make herself.
But where did the Easter Dove originate?
Some say it symbolises the triumph of Lombardy over the Holy Roman Empire in 1176 when two doves mysteriously appeared on the battlefield. Others say the dove was first baked by a young girl for King Albion of the Lombard tribe who was demanding money from her hometown of Pavia. In this version, the King loved the dove so much that he released the girl and forgot about his quarrel with Pavia. Another legend says that the Dove can be attributed to San Colombano, an Irish monk who founded many monasteries throughout Europe. San Colombano had given up eating meat for Lent, but he was so embarrassed when he was invited to a meaty lunch by Queen Theolinda that he took a bite of meat despite his Lenten fast – and it promptly turned into white bread doves. Fast forward to current times where a Milanese confectioner had the bright idea of resurrecting the dove as a new dessert for Easter. Needless to say, the recipe is sacrosanct and unless it complies exactly with Ministerial regulations, it can only be called an Easter Cake and not the much more lucrative Easter Dove…
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In the meantime, Happy Easter from the whole team!