Colomba di Pasqua: the traditional Italian Easter cake

The Easter colomba is one of the traditional Italian Easter cakes

Today we are going to discover some Italian cakes that are prepared for religious holidays such as Easter. One of the most well-known and appreciated all over the world is the Easter colomba. This is a symbol of peace and hope for Christians. Italian Traditions will guide you on the discovery of this typical cake explaining what it consists of. We will also tell you the legends about its origin. Finally, we will reveal how the current recipe of this holiday symbol came about.

One of the Italian Easter cakes par excellence: What is the colomba, or dove?

The colomba is among the most typical Italian Easter cakes that is consumed by Italians during the holidays. The recipe varies according to different regions. Just like the panettone is in Italy the symbol of Christmas the colomba is the symbol of Easter. In Fact, its presence is a must during these festive occasions. The most widespread type appreciated by the Italians is still the artisan one today. In fact there are many pastry shops throughout Italy that prepare this cake following the traditional recipe.


The different types of colomba, the Italian Easter Cake


Today you can find many different versions of Italian cakes and this is the case also of the Easter colomba. The most common ones are those that are prepared following the traditional recipe that involves the use of leavened sweet dough. This is then enriched with orange peel and covered with a glaze of almonds and sugar. The softness and the dough are similar to those of the panettone. The main difference is the shape. Other versions include the use of a white icing or a milk chocolate icing. There is also a version without the candied peel.

The legend about the origins of the Easter colomba

Around the origins of the colomba there are many tales, more or less accredited. One of these tells about the episode of the Siege of Pavia in the 6th century by Alboino. The Lombard King is supposed to have been offered this cake to persuade him to desist from the siege. Another story referring to the Easter colomba recalls the battle of Legnano in 1176. The story relates that on this occasion three doves rested on the insignia of the Longobards. This was interpreted as a sign of good omen for the final victory and it is from here that one of the most beloved Italian Easter cakes in the world originated.

The Motta colomba and the modern recipe


The most recent story of the Easter colomba can be traced back to the city of Milan and especially to Angelo Motta. The invention of the panettone in the first post-war period is owed to him. In order to use the ingredients and machinery even in the spring period in the early 1930s, an old recipe was taken up and the tradition of the Easter colomba started as we know it today. It was once decorated with candied fruits and covered with an almond glaze. Since then it has become the symbol of this religious feast.

The Italian gastronomic tradition presents many recipes that are linked to particular festivities. The traditional colomba is a must on the tables of the Italians during the Easter holidays. This cake presents recipes that vary depending on the region in which it is prepared. If you want to discover other typical Italian products we suggest you to read this article too. Now that you know all about the Easter dove you just have to taste it, if you still haven’t done so.

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