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The Colomba (Italian Easter Cake) Has Landed!

4:04 PM EDT on April 4, 2023

Just like Panettone and Pandoro at Christmas, La Colomba di Pasqua is yet another seasonal Italian cake. In this case, said cake arrives in the shape of a dove (colomba) and symbolizes peace and the rebirth that's associated with spring in general and Easter in particular.

What's particular about Colomba, other than its exclusive seasonality, is that it involves an artisanal process so arduous that even the most dedicated nonnas don't bother to try at home. And why bother when, like its cousins Panettone and Pandoro, Colomba arrives the same time every year, stacked on shelves any place Italian sweets are sold (and even places where they aren't), in gorgeous packaging that is almost too pretty to open.

Emphasis on "almost," as Colomba is a combination of quality cake ingredients that are mixed and left to rise for 30 hours before being shaped into a dove and topped traditionally with pearl sugar and slivered almonds prior to baking. There's usually some chocolate, candied fruit and/or raisins involved, and it's always soft and moist. Here's an example of a gorgeous and delicious Colomba from our friends at Settepani Bakery in Brooklyn (Note: Settepani ships nationwide and also offers Panettone of rotating flavors year round).

La Colomba from Settepani Bakery.

Of course, there are ways to gild the lily, so to speak, and many producers venture beyond the traditional toppings and ingredients, such as this beauty from Giuseppe Giusti, a legendary producer of balsamic vinegar from the Italian gastro-paradise of Modena in the region of Emilia-Romagna, where raisins are soaked in their own aged balsamic vinegar and the top is thoroughly covered with dark chocolate. Look for Giusti's beautiful yellow packaging (pictured below) at your local store or nearest Eataly (which also offers delivery nationwide).

La Colomba from Guiseppe Guisti.

A tribute to the versatility of this cake is that it can be eaten for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or for dessert after any meal. Wherever you get your Colomba this year and however you enjoy it, we at Appetito wish you peace and a Buona Pasqua!

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