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Easter and Passover Entertaining

by David on June 30, 2009

Spring is a time of miracles, of new beginnings and a celebration of life itself. Easter and Passover are times for reflection, a chance to pause for a moment to count our blessings and recognize the miracles that happen in front of our eyes every day.

Of course we associate Easter with the resurrection, but it is deeply rooted in Anglo-Saxon mythology. It was celebrated long before the birth of Christ by pagans who reveled in the coming of spring and the renewal of life that it brings. Originally Easter was called Pascha, the Hebrew word for Passover. Pascha evolved into Easter, a word which we believe is derived from Eostre, the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and springtime. The date of Easter is determined, like its pagan festival equivalent, by the lunar calendar. Easter is also timed to coincide with the Jewish feast of Passover which celebrates deliverance from slavery and oppression. These holidays come like a breath of spring, marking new beginnings, and for agrarian cultures, like ours, the return of the growing and birthing seasons.

As we come together to celebrate the miracle of life we realize how lucky we are to enjoy such an abundance of wonderful food and wine, and to be able to share them with family and friends. Many of our Passover and Easter food traditions are symbolic, whether the symbol is religious or represents renewal. Eggs are traditional elements of both Passover and Easter celebrations. They symbolize birth and fertility in many cultures as does the rabbit. Of course these days the rabbit usually takes the form of the Easter Bunny who hides chocolate and painted eggs for the children to find, making chocolate a relatively new food tradition. The lamb was adopted from the lamb sacrificed at Jewish Passover and for Christians it came to signify Christ’s death on the cross. The Romans were responsible for making ham a springtime favorite. They buried pork by the sea in the winter to create a salty, cured ham for the spring. American pilgrims carried on the tradition, hand-curing pork in the fall in anticipation of the Easter feast.

There are some who believe that offering colored eggs as a springtime gift goes all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians, but we know for certain that we’ve been coloring eggs since at least the Middle Ages. The bright colors were meant to represent sunlight and the longer days of spring. The German tradition was to paint eggs green and eat them on Maundy Thursday, while in Greek and Slavic cultures eggs were dyed red as a symbol of the blood of Christ. As the centuries have gone by the eggs have become more and more ornate, reaching a pinnacle with the famous jeweled and enameled Faberge eggs made for the Russian czars.

Regardless of religion or culture, throughout the ages, food and wine have brought us together at the table to enjoy each other’s company. Colleen Topper, our proprietor and in-house chef has created some wonderful menus for Passover and Easter that include lots of delicious, traditional foods. Happy spring!

Passover menu

First course
Potato-Leek Matzo Cakes
serve with Goosecross Sauvignon Blanc

Entree
Caramelized Onion Beef Brisket
Baby Carrots and Asparagus
serve with Goosecross Syrah

Dessert
Almond Cake
serve with Goosecross Chenin Blanc

Easter Menu

First course
Asparagus & Orange-Grapefruit Salad
serve with Goosecross Sparkling Rose

Entree
Grilled Marinated Lamb Roast with Pinot Noir & Pomegranate
serve with Goosecross Pinot Noir

Dessert
Lemon Meringue Tartlets
serve with Goosecross Chenin Blanc

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