Why Italy’s casatiello is theone true king of Easter

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Why Italy’s casatiello is theone true king of Easter

  April sees southern Italy burst into parades and religious festivities, but attheir heart is always food and, in particular, one unique,meaty bread.
  Asking Italians not to fill up on bread is a tricky task. Over 350 varieties originated here, and its south is particularly fruitful. From the heavy altamura loaf of Puglia (said to last up to two weeks) to the twice baked frese rusks of Calabria and the paper like flatbreads of Sardinia,it doesn’t lack for local specialities. But none beats the casatiello for sheer grandeur.
  There’sa reason why visitors only see casatielli at Easter. It’s often made with three types of cheese as well as salami, pancetta and prosciutto, and topped with whole eggs baked into it. As Katie Parla, author of the cookbook Food of the Italian South, explains “South Italy’s tables are renowned for their decadent holiday meals, but nothing rivals the multi day feast of Easter. For South dwellers, especially Neapolitans, the casatiellois the iconic savoury bread for this holiday.”
  Certainly, travellers to Naples in late April can find it in most bakeries, ready to be devoured, symbolically, on Easter morning (21 April). Its crown shape and inlaid eggs mark the circle of life and the Resurrection or spring, if you’re not especially devout.
  This is always a special time to visit Italy, as the south comes alive with parades. From Abruzzo’s ‘Dashing Madonna’ where an effigy of the Holy Mother is rushed to her son across the centre of Sulmona, to Holy Wednesday in Puglia’s Francavilla Fontana, also known as ‘the day of the piatti (dishes)’, when children  parade canapes in exchange for cents. 
  Easter Sunday also clashes with another big date: the anniversary of  Rome’s founding by legendary twins Romulus and Remus. Fireworks and gladiator shows light up the capital and Colosseum. But no matter where you are, food plays a huge role here. So, if you can’t make it, just bake your own casatiello at home.

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