Easter in Abruzzo
For weeks now I’ve been telling friends in Rome that I was looking forward to coming to Abruzzo for Easter so I could feast on arrosticini (flame cooked lamb skewers) among other treats.
At this very moment, I can’t wait to get back to Rome to detox!
I arrived in town on Thursday night – I have been staying in Pratola Peligna but my parents were actually born in nearby Prezza. Both towns are in the L’Aquila province about 150km from Rome.
Soon commenced what has led to the food coma I’m currently suffering.
From homemade pasta to arrosticini to pork, fresh ricotta, salumi and cheeses. Pizza to pizzelle (traditional abruzzese waffle style biscuits) and chocolate and more. You name it, we ate it this weekend!
On Saturday it was great spending some time in my ancestral home town, Prezza. After another epic lunch (and before an epic dinner!), I went to the cemetery to pay my respects to my paternal grandparents and then hung out with some relatives at one of the local bars.
Now, while the food as always is an integral (and most enjoyable) part of these occasions, what I surprisingly enjoyed most were the religious processions and seeing the small towns come alive with people (heading out of a long winter and with the current economic climate this has not been a given of late).
For instance this morning I witnessed the famous “Madonna che Scappa” – the Virgin Mary who runs. In essence, the procession feature a life size Madonna dressed in black in mourning of the death of her son.
Upon realising he has risen from the dead, she sheds her veil and runs. At this point, doves are released into the sky and cannons fire. A huge crowd filled the main piazza in town and the energy was just electric.
Here’s a short clip:
Following the procession, the town centre cleared pretty quickly with everyone headed home to enjoy the traditional Easter Sunday lunch.
Ours commenced with traditional Abruzzo-style brodo (chicken or beef broth) served with straciatella (beaten egg and Parmesan) and small meatballs. Then it was homemade lasagne, then ravioloni (jumbo ravioli) filled with spinach and ricotta.
Main course followed with agnello alla brace (lamb chops cooked on the flame). Oh and some homemade biscuits (and a little Easter egg) to finish.
Fast forward a few hours later and we did it all again for dinner!!
Tomorrow is Pasquetta (Easter Monday) and traditionally people head to parks or into the mountains for a scampagnata (a picnic) but it looks like the forecast rain is going to have us at home… And eating… Again!
Thankfully it’s back to Rome tomorrow night – but after what has been a relaxing albeit food-in-excess Easter weekend.
Times like this also make me miss my family and friends back home.. But a couple of Skype sessions, FaceTime and Viber calls later had my spirits right back up! Despite how happy you are or whatever is going on in your life, living so far away from your family is never fun.. but gosh it makes the time you spend together all that more precious!
On that note… Happy Easter – Buona Pasqua – and peace and love to you all wherever you are in the world!
Signing off from Abruzzo
(but back in Trastevere tomorrow)