When I heard the April theme for #ItalianFWT was Easter (Pasqua in Italian), I had momentary delusions of grandeur of baking my own Colomba, the traditional Easter bread/cake that’s shaped like a dove. But I quickly came to my senses, as baking is not my forte and I generally lack the time and patience for such an endeavor. Thankfully, a fortuitous trip to my local Italian store, Carlino’s, brought me face to face with a freshly baked Colomba instead. For the low price of just $12.99, fruity, cakey goodness arrived without hassle or strife.

Though the history of Colomba di Pasqua – or Colomba Pasquale, literally “Easter Dove” – like so many other traditional Italian dishes, is disputed, it’s not hard to deduce that the dove shape (which, let’s be honest, this just barely resembles) represents peace. Also without dispute is the fact that Milanese baker Angelo Motta – best known for industrializing the production of Panettone in the 1920s – is responsible for the widespread enjoyment of Colomba.

Other than the obvious difference in shape and lack of raisins, Colomba’s yeast dough is similar to Panettone. For a layman, the flavor profile – candied citrus, mostly – and texture are virtually identical, though levels of sweetness can vary. For an added burst of flavor, the Easter Dove is traditionally topped with almonds and pearl sugar crystals.

Colomba’s arrival at table typically signals the end of Easter lunch — where it can be enjoyed straight up, or perhaps with some berries, whipped cream or chocolate. If there’s a knock on this treat (and Panettone), it’s that the insides dry out easily and can often seem stale. That’s why, for me, the best way to eat either is some butter and a few minutes on the griddle, or even as French Toast, if the particular loaf isn’t too sweet.

I know what I’ll be eating Easter Morning…


This post was featured in the Italian Food, Wine & Travel group’s April theme, Easter in Italy. Here are the other posts: