Each year in the weeks leading up to Easter, colourful paper parcels line the shelves of our shops. These beautifully-wrapped packages hold one of the most popular Italian Easter treats: Colomba Pasquale. In the shape of a dove, this speciality is made using the same method of baking as Panettone. It is a unique Italian recipe that requires time - which is quite the opposite of a lot of Italian cooking! In fact, our Colomba from Dogliani is naturally leavened, a process which takes 30 hours.
A number of legends exist around the origins of the cake. Whatever the actual reason for its creation, today it is typically enjoyed during Spring and especially around the Easter period. Cake has traditionally been a food of connecting people, enjoyed during celebrations, religious festivals, weddings and funerals, and Colomba takes its special place during this season of connecting over a season of resurrection and rebirth. The shape of the dove encompasses ideas peace and a new start, and this is also symbolised in the use of specific ingredients that differentiate Colomba from similar cakes, such as Panettone. The Colomba typically does not include raisins but instead almonds and orange peel - celebrating the time of year almond and orange trees are blossoming in Italy, and the hope of crops to follow.
To enjoy the delicious lightness of this cake there is no set time of the day - have it for Breakfast topped with compote or jam, or for elevenses with coffee, or at teatime with sweetened cream alongside. But a slice is really delightful with a glass of chilled Prosecco or Moscato d'Asti to round off the day.