I am a vegetarian, but every sommelier should know how to choose the right wine for any food, regardless of personal taste. So I’d like to talk about the tradition of eating lamb at Easter (Pasqua in Italian), a custom that has religious roots.
The lamb, as a symbol of purity, is often mentioned in the Bible. During the Christian mass, the ‘Lamb of God’ is commemorated as a sign of Jesus Christ whose blood, in the Christian tradition, offers salvation to the world. Even in Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper the diners are eating lamb.
However, the origin of the tradition actually has Jewish roots. In Judaism, Lamb remains a symbol of Passover – a ritual in remembrance of God’s promise to spare the firstborn of the Israelites if the heads of the families living in slavery in Egypt marked the doors of their houses with lamb’s blood.
Eating lamb for Easter is a widespread tradition and it can be difficult to find a vegetarian alternative. So I suggest two delicious menus, with paired wines – one traditional and one vegetarian.
TRADITIONAL EASTER MENU
– mixed cold cuts and cheeses,
– fresh pasta with lamb sauce,
– baked lamb with potatoes
THE WINE FOR THE TRADITIONAL MENU
– aperitif: given the mix of flavours and saltiness, I recommend a PROSECCO, a light, fresh wine that will balance all the flavours in the dish.
– main dishes: my suggestion for stewed and baked meats is a classic Chianti, a wine analysed in this link https://easyitalian.cooking/2021/02/01/chianti-or-chianti-classico/. and that needs no introduction!
VEGETARIAN EASTER MENU
-Roman-style artichokes and fried artichokes
– artichoke lasagna
– Pasqualina pie and baked potatoes
THE WINE FOR THE VEGETARIAN MENU
This whole menu can be accompanied by one wine, which is fresh but quite complex. I recommend FIANO DI AVELLINO, a white wine from Campania with a moderate flavor, acid enough to balance the particular flavor of the artichokes, but with a complex and not too intense aroma that goes well with eggs and potatoes.
THE DESSERT (for both menus)
– Easter Colomba 🐣
– Neapolitan pastiera
– chocolate egg ( with a surprise as a must!)
THE WINE FOR THE DESSERT
As a time of celebration, it calls for an original wine but one which has no strong aroma so it can accompany all three desserts in a balanced way. My proposal is a MOSCATO D’ASTI, a sweet Piedmontese wine, slightly sparkling, quite aromatic, but balanced and delicate.