Food Traditions of the Easter holidays

In the northern hemisphere, the Easter holidays, apart from the important religious meaning, mark the arrival of spring and the begining of the warm and fertile season. Therefore, ancient heritage, christian rites and cultural traditions play still a strong role in todays Easter celebrations. The holiday of Easter is connected to several food customs, preparing special food and sharing with family and friends.

Buona pascua! In Italy, in particular in the southern parts, impressive church parades mark the holy week. As Good Friday isn’t a bank holiday, celebrations in the family start Friday evening and go till Easter Monday. On Good Friday’s dinner, fish and light dishes are preferred. In Sicily, colourful candied almonds are a typical easter snack during the processions. At our Food Tour Palermo, your Food Hopping guide is happy to show you some of the places where the Easter parades take place.
Children in Italy love their chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday – usually a big, egg shaped chocolate, brightly wrapped in foil and filled with small toys. The big Easter Sunday lunch is often a veritable family feast, for hours and with multiple food courses. Lamb is a favourite, and as the dessert, there is a typical Easter cake called Colomba – Dove. On Easter Monday, called Pasquetta – little Easter – a must-try is the Torta di Pasquetta, a hearty pastry filled with ricotta, spinach and eggs.

Felices pascuas! Spain has a rich tradition of celebrating the Easter week with colourfull religous parades. Especially in Madrid and in Andalucia, traditional Penitence brotherhoods pursue the century-old traditions. At our Food Tour Malaga, we actually visit a special place related to the Easter celebrations all year long!
On Good Friday, according to the catholic rite, no meat is served – so chickpea stew or dishes made of salt cod are very common food. A famous Easter dish are the torrijas, made of white bread, soaked in milk and sugar, than fried. It is similar to French toast. La Mona de Pascua is a sweet bread-like pastry with an egg put in the middle – in the past it was a plain hard-boiled egg, today the Easter bread is often adorned with chocolate eggs and fondant or marzipan. Also in Spain, family and friends love to gather to watch the processions – live or at the television – and feast afterwards to end the lent period and welcome spring.

“Frohe Ostern!” Church processions are still existing in mainly catholic regions of Germany, and are no part of the protestant rite – but all Germans love to decorate their homes for spring and eat colourfull chocolates in Easter-related forms. It is very common to gift chocolate bunnys, creme-filled eggs or chocolate ladybugs to your family, friends and even working collegues. Hard boiled eggs, coloured by the children, are typical Easter food. Our Food Tour Frankfurt samples a particular dish from the Hesse region, typical to eat on Gründonnerstag – green thursday – as the beginning of the long Easter weekend, with bank holiday on Friday and Monday: Grüne Soße, a deliciously fresh, cold herb-dairy-cream. It is quite common to eat fish and no sweets on Good Friday, then to have on Easter Sunday an extensive lunch, or a combined breakfast/lunch in the family called “brunch“. German children love to search for Easter sweets and hard boiled coloured eggs, hidden for them by the Osterhase – Easter rabbit. Easter cakes are typically either of yeast dough shaped as rabbits or in form of a knot with a hole in the middle to fit a hard boiled egg, or a sweet sponge cake, baked in a special lamb-shaped form.

Our Food Hopping Frankfurt, Malaga or Palermo, as well as our other Food Tours, invite you to learn more about the local food-related traditions on a leisurly walk through the heart of the city – during the festive season, or for your holidays. Hungry for more?

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Food-related proverbs to spice up any conversation

When it comes to food, there are countless sayings, often with a literal and a implicit meaning. Our Food Hopping guides love to tell the little tales from the origin of those food-related proverbs.

Here are our 10 personal favourites – did you know them all already before?

10. “In wine, there is truth” – Latin – “In vino veritas” – this ancient term is translated and used in almost every european language, meaning that alcohol reduces personal and social boundaries and brings up true beliefs and reactions. It is often used to emphasize on the beneficial side of drinking wine – and with every Food Hopping tour, we taste true regional wines…

09. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – English – an often cited and widely known proverb, to encourage a positive and active view to lifes up and downs. So life can be sweet with good lemon recipies – like at our Food Hopping tour Sorrento!

08. “Nothing is eaten as hot as it was cooked” – German – “Nichts wird so heiss gegessen wie es gekocht wurde” The german suggestion to calm down and let the things sit a little bit before reacting – often things aren´t that severe at a second look. Served at the right temperature, our german tastings are directly ready to eat.

07. “A lot of smoke and little roast” – Italian – “Tutto fumo senz’arrosto” – when there is a lot of hot air but little (tangible) outcome, the italians see it esentially as much ado about nothing…for our italian tours, we promise a lot of delicious tastings without any smoke!

06. “Spill the beans” – English – To reveal the truth, often in a slightly negative meaning as not everyone like to have it brought to light. Literally, who would prefer to have a pot of beans spilled when they are delicious to eat?

05. “For a big hunger there is no hard bread” – Spanish – “A buen hambre no hay pan duro.” …also in Spain, beggers can´t be choosers. Taking chances and making the best of an opportunity – as taking the opportunity to get to know the culinaric secrets at our spanish Food Hopping tours, where we serve savoury specialities instead of hard bread…

04. “Food is the intermediary of friendship” – French – “Le repas est l’entremetteuse de l’amitié” Well spoken, a good shared meal can build a connection, and the french cooking is famous for activating all senses.

03. “In an old pot you can also make good soup” – Portugese – “No velho pote também faz boa sopa” This saying is on the one hand about the benefits of experience, but also about that it doesn´t always require the latest knicknack to archieve a satisfactory output. Our Food Hopping guide in Portugal counts with a lot of experience – and also knows the latest hot-spots of Lisboa!

02. “Rice is born in water and should die in wine” – Italian – “Il riso nasce nell’acqua e deve morire nel vino” Especially in the Veneto region, rice is grown in water patches, and the most common preparation is the risotto, with wine in the stew and wine to drink with it. It also emphasizes the hopes that a humble beginning can lead to a glamourous ending. Join our Food Hopping tour in Venezia to experience it for yourself…

01. “Everything has an end, only the sausage has two” – German proverb – “Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei”  This means that all good things come to an end, as our list of proverbs. With Food Hopping, we serve a wide sample of local food and drinks to satisfy your appetite, so you’ll get much more between two ends…

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12 Funny food names and their meaning

Did you ever wonder about the curious names of certain food specialities? Some are in honour of an important person, others are named after a place or have a special story around it…Here are 12 well-known foods and the – perhaps surprising – meaning of their names:

1. Granny Smith apples: Named after Maria Ana (Granny) Smith, who grew them first in Australia.

2. Biscuit: coming from the latin’ bis coctus’ – with the meaning of ‘baked two times’, was initially referred to bone-dry hardtack – nowadays it is understood in continental European cuisine as a lightly baked delicacy.

3. Carpaccio: The colour of this thinly-sliced raw beef was similar to the red shades of paint, that Italian renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio used in his work.

4. Headcheese: nothing to do with cheese – it’s a jellied cold cut, initially made of parts like pigs head, feet and belly, in modern version also with game or even with vegetables.

5. Kalter Hund: we all know Hot Dogs – however in Germany, the land of sausages, a ‘cold dog’ describes a cake made of shortbread and chocolate ganache.

6. Morcilla: this could be the name of an evil sorceress in an ancient movie- but it is the traditional Spanish blood sausage, cooked and cured with rice, onions and spices.

7. Pumpernickel: a very dark and solid bread, made of rye – the old German name is probably describing a rough, clumsy person – or a knotted log of wood.

8. Sandwich: Actually, Sir John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, didn´t invite the custom to put meat between two bread slices – but he was famous to offer this casual snack to his high class friends in Britain at social occasions instead of multi-course formal dinners.

9. Tiramisu: ‘pick-me-up’ , the literal translation of this Italian dessert, might refer to such mood-lifting ingredients as cream cheese, sugar and coffee – or the desperate call for help with lifting from the table afterwards.

10. Pizza Margherita: this version of the classic Italian poor man’s snack was developed to honor the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, and the Italian unification by representing the colours of the flag with red tomatos, white mozarella and green basil leaves.

11. Welsh Rarebit: a classy British name for the always delicious grilled cheese toast.

12. Zwetschgenknoedel: this tongue-twister is a prune-filled sweet dumpling, famous in Austria.

Do you also know a funny food name? Please feel free to add to our list! Do you want to try some true authentic specialities just where they come from? Join our

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