Easter Feasting

Easter Feasting

What should not be missing from the table during Easter

Easter Feasting
Two opposites meet at Easter – the strictness of Lent and rich abundance. Lent is observed until the beginning of Easter, but then the exact opposite happens! The Easter period is traditionally celebrated with dozens of different meals. An interesting thing is that each region has its own traditional meals, which are often quite distinctive. However, some meals are common in almost all areas of the Czech Republic.
When looking at Czech Easter from a gastronomical point of view, you will find many rules and regional customs that determine what should not be missing from the table during Easter. Let us start with Holy Wednesday, the last Wednesday before Easter. On this day, sweet “Judas” buns are baked. Butter and honey are spread on the yeast buns shaped like rope, from which the traitorous Judas hung himself. The sweet Easter buns are served for breakfast on Green Thursday. The name of the day suggests we should eat something green. If you are not a fan of spinach, you can have a salad or cooked broccoli, while the biggest infidels will at least have a shot of green peppermint liqueur.

Good Friday is the day Jesus Christ was crucified, and all Christians thereby observe frugality in both eating and drinking. Lent basically lasts until the Resurrection celebration, which takes place at midnight on Saturday. If you do not observe Lent, you can at least have some fish on your menu to honour the long-gone traditions. Carp is traditional in the Czech Republic, sold from vats before Easter, just like before Christmas. Trout is also popular. If you are not particularly fond of fish, you can go for a simple vegetarian meal. 

Holy Saturday is the busiest day. Sweet Easter bread, as well as sweet lamb sponge cakes are baked. However, these should only be baked if no lamb roast is served on Easter Day, as this sweet symbol was a substitute for meat in poor families. The Easter lamb sponge cake is basically a sweet cake that symbolised Christ’s sacrifice. When baked, it is gently removed from the baking tin, raisins are inserted as eyes, and the warm cake is sprinkled with vanilla sugar, or covered with chocolate icing. A decorative ribbon with a bell is tied around its neck. The sweet Easter bread is made of sweet yeast dough that tastes similar to Christmas bread.

On Holy Saturday, after mass, people would also eat Easter stuffing made of bread, eggs, smoked meat and young nettles. The stuffing is still made to this day in many different versions. You can also try to make it with the recipe below.

However, Easter Sunday is the most important holiday for Christians, and dining and an abundance of food correspond with that. A boiled egg, the symbol of a new life, is served as a starter. The Easter table should also include some young meat, such as roasted lamb or goat. If you do not like lamb, you can have veal, or a young chicken with stuffing.

Easter Monday is the day of whipping when men go around with their whip to make sure that women stay young. They are rewarded with coloured and painted eggs. And do you know why eggs are painted at Easter? One legend says that eggs used to be hard-boiled to be preserved, as they could not be consumed during the forty days of the Lent. However, one had to be able to tell the raw eggs from the boiled ones, so they started painting them. Until the beginning of the 20th century, eggs were only painted red… Red is the colour of love.

Easter stuffing

800 g smoked meat
8 bread rolls or 1 white bread loaf
8 eggs
250 ml milk
salt and pepper
a few handfuls of herbs to your liking – young nettles, parsley, chives,...
lard and breadcrumbs for preparing the baking pan
How to make it:
1. Boil the smoked meat in water and let it cool. Then, cut it into cubes.
2. Cut up the bread rolls or white bread, and put them in a larger bowl. Whisk the egg yolks with milk, season with salt and pepper, and a few pinches of grated nutmeg. Pour over the bread and let it soak. Add the chopped meat. Chop the herbs, add them to the bowl, and mix it all together. In the end, add whipped egg whites.
3. Grease the baking pan or tin with lard, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and pour the dough. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 35-40 minutes, until browned.