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7 of the Strangest Easter Foods Around the World

easter

For most of us, Easter food consists of an exciting combination of chocolates, hot cross buns, and pretty much anything involving eggs.

You might be surprised, however, to discover that what we deem to be Easter culinary staples, are in fact unheard of in some parts of the world.

Sound intriguing? Read on for these interesting (and sometimes very bizarre) Easter foods from around the globe.

1. Chocolate bilbies (rather than bunnies)

Location: Australia

If you spend any given Easter in Australia, you’ll discover that Easter bunnies really aren’t a thing there. Rather, they’re actually disliked because of their tendency to ruin crops and cause much grief to the ecosystem as a whole; the indigenous greater bilby, on the other hand, is good for the environment – and it’s an endangered species, which means efforts to raise awareness for it mean that much more.

Chocolate bilbies can be found across supermarkets in Australia during this time of year, and thanks to the proceedings from their sales (which go towards helping conserve the species), bilby numbers are slowly increasing.

2. Pizza chiena (stuffed pizza)

Location: Italy

easter

You probably won’t be able to tell whether this is pizza or a pie – I’d say it’s a hybrid of both. Its name literally translates to ‘stuffed pizza’ and like the original recipe, it was invented in the historic city of Naples. Traditionally baked and eaten on Good Friday, pizza chiena is basically a hearty savory pie filled with a variety of cheeses and cured meats – yum. In the 17th century, it was concocted as a staple treat to break the long 40-day Lenten fast, which typically involves abstinence from meat, eggs and dairy. 

3. Butter lamb

Location: Poland, parts of Russia & Slovenia

easter food

In Poland, some parts of Russia and Slovenia, it’s a common tradition to have a butter lamb as the main focus of a dinner table at Easter in Catholic households. What exactly is it? Well, it’s simply a huge chunk of butter, moulded and shaped to look like a lamb. Much like eggs, lambs are symbolic of the beginning of spring, but they’re also representative of the sacrifice of the ‘Lamb of God’ – and I’m guessing the butter is a way to celebrate the breaking of the Lenten fast. Often meticulously sculpted, a butter lamb typically features peppercorns for eyes, and is sometimes decorated with a red ‘Alleluia’ flag and a red ribbon, which symbolizes the Blood of Christ.

4. Patsas (tripe soup)

Location: Greece

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Patsas is a traditional Greek soup made with lamb’s stomach, and is ritually eaten at midnight to break the fast and bring in Easter Sunday. It’s also supposedly the perfect cure for a hangover, because of its benefits in helping to coat the stomach and protect it from alcohol.

Though not for everyone, the delicacy is clearly a cult favorite in Greece, and has a history that dates back as far as ancient times, in Sparta. The era’s Melanos Zoumos (black soup) consisted of boiled veal hooves and stomach, and was perfect for warfare due to its caloric density yet light consistency.

5. Janssons frestelse (Jansson’s temptation)

Location: Sweden

easter food

Another savory Easter dish with no chocolate involved, Jansson’s temptation is a traditional Swedish casserole, which typically combines potatoes, onions and pickled sprats, and topped with breadcrumbs and a creamy bechamel sauce.

The name of this dish is said to derive from a number of sources, though the most convincing is probably a 19th century story of a religious fanatic named Erik Jansson, who fervently opposed any worldly pleasures in the name of faith – but when faced with a hearty potato and anchovy casserole, Jansson succumbed to his temptations, bringing an end to his religious ways.

6. Fanesca

Location: Ecuador

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Heading to Latin America, Fanesca is a filling Lenten soup served during Holy Week, which consists of a combination of grains and beans, as well as bacalao – dried salted cod. Though the recipe may slightly differ from household to household, the main components of this soup are usually fava beans, squash, corn, rice, onions, garlic, peas, and milk.

During Easter, fanesca is a dish of very symbolic religious meaning: the use of 12 different types of beans represent the 12 apostles, while the bacalao symbolizes Jesus Christ. It’s believed that the dish might have made its debut appearance in 1882, however, some believe it originated much farther back in time, in Rome, when persecuted Christians – carrying large sacks filled with grains and legumes – snuck into catacombs and cooked the soup in a single enormous pot.

7. Iguanas, turtles & rodents

Location: Colombia

easter food

Now let’s conclude our list here with the strangest of the strangest Easter foods: restaurant dishes of green iguanas, slider turtles and gigantic rodents. Yup, that’s right – Colombians feast on the exotic creatures over the festive period. Since these animals are indigenous to the Latin American nation and active during the springtime, it’s becoming an increasingly common practice to either sell or cook and devour them as part of their traditional Easter banquet.

Another unlikely addition to the Colombian Easter dinner table is the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, which is typically around the same size of a pig!

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Written by Belkis Megraoui
The Online Content Writer of TopUniversities.com, Belkis pitches and publishes articles for students and graduates across the globe and has a zeal for history and a natural flair for the arts and sports. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Communication with Journalism from the University of Hertfordshire and is a native speaker of the Arabic language.

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