Easter – The Feast after Lent

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Easter – The Feast after Lent

Every year, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring. At one time, this “movable feast” was the culmination of six weeks of Lent, ending upon this day to make way for a richness of food and drink. Among the traditional Easter dishes that still appear upon the table for this day are the “lamb cake”, the “Judas rope”, sweet Easter bread (mazanec) or Easter stuffing. 

“Baked Lamb” as an Edible Decoration

One of the favourite foods inseparably linked to a Czech Easter is the lamb. Not as roasted lamb, but a cake baked in its shape. Using a special mould only employed at this time, the dough of eggs, flour, sugar and whipped egg-whites assumes the form of a reclining lamb. On the table, the lamb, often with a colourful ribbon around its neck, forms an attractive as well as tasty decoration.
The “Judas rope” – sweet egg bread in a twisted coil – is intended to recall the rope with which Judas Iscariot hanged himself after his betrayal of Jesus. A similar baked Easter treat is the special sweet Easter bread known as “mazanec”.

Easter Stuffing as a Prefiguring of Spring 

The traditional Easter stuffing (nádivka) has a variety of names in differing dialects – and equally as many compositions. Its base is white bread – cubes of sliced buns or baguettes, eggs, milk, and above all fresh green herbs, most often young nettles to symbolise the approaching spring. Additional ingredients could include bacon, sliced ham, or wild mushrooms. 
In savoury Easter dishes, the colour green is foremost. In addition to the popular young nettles, it can include cooked spinach, or soup with herbs. Spinach and eggs are also part of Easter meatloaf, using ground pork shoulder and smoked pork belly. Another dish once popular was “pučálka” – fresh green peas with salt and pepper, or occasionally in sweet form with raisins.
An authentic Easter feast may be enjoyed in April at Hospoda Kyčerka in Velké Karlovice, one of the Czech Specials certified restaurants. Here you can enjoy, for example, roast lamb with mashed potatoes, sided with a slice of delicate Easter stuffing. 

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