Annalisa and the team from Il Monaco have been busy baking Colomba di Pasqua…and they are beautifully wrapped for you. Colomba di Pasqua is a traditional Easter cake similar to panettone and pandoro. It contains candied peel instead of raisins and is baked in the shape of a dove, to represent the Holy Spirit.
My friend Maria has told me of an old legend about this dessert. They say that when the King of Longobards, Alboino, conquered the city of Pavia, he requested that all the gold and treasures of the city should be given to him together with 12 virgins.
The poor girls were sent to the castle to await their fate and they were crying in despair. All, except for one, who asked to be given some honey, flour and dried fruits as she wanted to bake a cake. With these ingredients, she prepared a dough and gave it the shape of a dove and asked the guardians to have it baked.
When she was called to see Alboino, she carried the cake on a tray. The king was surprised and thought that the girl wanted to poison him, so he asked her to taste the cake first. The girl ate a piece and Alboino, seeing that she looked so confident, did the same. He found the cake delicious…possibly he had not been eating cake during his campaign. So, as a reward, he ordered his guards to free the clever girl. Nobody knows what happened to the other girls.
The seige of the City of Pavia ended on the eve of Easter Sunday, hence the link between the cake and Easter celebrations.
The girls at Il Monaco have also been busy making the first gelato of the season…spring must be on the way. …what to eat first!!!
This Sunday, 29th March, at 4.00pm at the Teatro Accademico at La Villa, will be a performance of a Folkloric group from Varenna. The tickets are only €5. Call 3396 167580 for more information.