Tomorrow is Easter, and an Italian Easter simply isn’t complete without the classic dove-shaped Colomba cake.
Originally from the Lombardy Region, this hearty cake is loved throughout the peninsula.
It came into existence, according to official record, during the first decade of the twentieth century, when, in Milan, a well-known panettone maker invented a product that made it possible to reuse Christmas machinery and ingredients once again, a few months later. Thus the Colomba was born, a sort of “recycled Christmas cake”, with a shape recalling the Christian tradition of Easter, and an almond glaze on top.
In a very short time, also thanks to the manufacturer’s famously popular panettone, the idea of the Colomba spread quickly among consumers, and become what we all know today as the must-have dessert for Easter Sunday.
On the market, there are now various types of Colomba, but the classic preparation involves the use of just a few simple ingredients.
In 2005, an Italian decree jointly issued by the Ministry of Productive Activities and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry identified the ingredients that should never be missing from the basic dough used to make Colomba: wheat flour, sugar, category A hen’s eggs, with no less than 4% yolk, butter obtained directly and exclusively from cow’s milk cream, and with a contribution of butyric fat in quantities of no less than 16%, candied citrus peel in quantities of no less than 15%, natural sourdough yeast, and salt.
As for the top glazing, the decree specifies “a decoration consisting of sugar grains and at least 2% almonds”.
In short, it’s packed with taste, and, if we want, becomes even more a guilty pleasure in the numerous varieties available on the market, often adapted to local and regional traditions.
Thus, in addition to the classic cake, you can find Colombas with nuts and chocolate, exotic fruit, limoncello lemon liqueur, olives, pistachios, custard, yoghurt and even extra virgin olive oil!
But whatever your favourite, there is one thing that unites all the Colombas of all Italy, namely their typical shape of a dove, the quintessential Easter symbol of hope, salvation and the Holy Spirit.
But it is not only religion that enriches this traditional spring dessert with positive meaning. Indeed, many cultures of the world consider the dove as a symbol of peace and prosperity. Therefore, whatever variety of Colomba you choose this Easter, may it be a good auspice for all!
Our most genuine wishes!