In Italy, Easter is a holiday marked by friends and family. Although we traditionally eat Easter lunch with our family members, tradition has relaxed over the last decades to include friends and neighbors.
The Easter lunch feast is usually served mid-day. Everyone brings a dish or two to share but the hosts usually provide the bulk of the meal! There are a few dishes no Italian Easter feast is complete without including lamb, spring vegetables, and an array of sweet pastry treats. Choosing a wine for the Easter meal might seem tricky – is it still cold enough for wintry reds or does the food warrant something lighter? – so we’ve put together a complete guide to every Italian wine you should have on your table this Easter. The holiday is one of celebration, after all!
If you’ve yet to try Lison, you’re missing out on one of the most well-rounded whites available. It’s elegant and velvety with the refined aromas of flowers and stone fruit. It leaves a slight finish of almonds on the back which makes it a perfect pairing choice for seafood and other light fare. Serve chilled Lison with the appetizer course, particularly if it’s artichoke heavy, as Easter appetizers tend to be!
Depending on the guest list, it’s always a good idea to have a palatable red and white on the table. Pinot Grigio is classically Italian and won’t overpower the food it’s paired with. It’s a dry wine with a clean, apply finish, that pairs wonderfully with all kinds of produce. Try it with Easter’s popular asparagus with egg sauce or egg and rice soup.
Red wines don’t get much lighter than Italian Pinot Noir which makes this an excellent choice for Easter’s bounty. Pinot’s bouquet reminds of berries and even hints of vanilla, pairing well with rich meats like lamb or duck, or even with heavier dishes such as arancini.
An alternative (or addition!) to Pinot Noir is Italy’s own Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The wine’s elegant notes of cherries and spices makes it a great counterbalance to heavy, flavor-filled dishes full of cheese, spice, or other flavorings. Easter favorites like lasagna, goat (common in the Abruzzo region), or lamb pie all work wonderfully with this varietal.
Desserts are arguably every Italian’s favorite part of the Easter meal! From sweet Pastiera to traditional Pinza Goriziana cake to dove-shaped Columba bread, Easter is all about the desserts. Moscato is the classic Italian dessert wine featuring notes of nectarine and honey. It’s crisp and fruity, complimenting rich pastries beautifully, and its effervescence is always a refreshing way to end a meal.
For the perfect Italian Easter feast, all you really need is a table full of loved ones and plenty of food! We’d love to see pictures of you and yours celebrating the holiday in your own way. Share them with us at the Candoni DeZan Facebook page!
-Barbara Candoni DeZan