The chocolate chicken.

Christmas in Rome was a big deal. But Pasqua (Easter) was over the top. Beginning in March, the bakeries and chocolate stores began to fill up with Easter confections and baked goods. Even before that, we discovered that there are special baked goods that lead up into Lent. At Carnevale time, the bakeries are filled with frappe, which is a fried dough strip that is flavored with everything from chocolate to pistachio to citrus (we liked the plain powdered sugar ones). Closer to Easter, the chocolate eggs were so enormous that they took up all available shelf space at many of the gelaterias and pastry shops.

Maria's beaded eggs and doily.

The day before Easter, our wonderful housekeeper Maria arrived laden with treats for us and for the children. She comes from Romania, where they have several Easter –related egg traditions. She made us two types of eggs, one kind covered in beading and the other dyed and hand painted. They were our kids’ first Easter eggs, and they were quite a hit! There was also a huge chocolate Easter chicken along with the requisite chocolate mini-eggs. She also brought Seth a Dracula-themed wooden flask from Romania, and a doily that she’d crocheted for me.  She has promised to teach Nell all her handicrafts (egg-dying, crocheting, etc.).

Easter dinner place-egg

We spent Easter itself at the home of our Rome friends Barbie and Andrew, whose son is one of Eli’s local pals. “Dinner” was an 8-hour feast with gorgeous food and outstanding wines. The place cards were made from the artisanal chocolate eggs that are ubiquitous in the city at Easter.

Clearly, a good time was had by all.

We particularly appreciated that the pre-lunch mimosas were made from fresh-squeezed Sicilian blood oranges. I neglected to take photos of the beautiful food before it was devoured. But I did manage to take a few of the detritus after the feast.

Usually at this time of year we are focused on Passover, and I hadn’t been to an Easter event as an adult. It was interesting to notice the similarities, and the differences (if you haven’t seen this snippet from the Daily Show, check it out). We’ll always remember our first Roman Easter as a time of giving, good food, and, yes, lots of chocolate.

– Jenny

Maria's hand painted eggs.