Passions & Places

Pizza di Pasqua

Pizza di Pasqua

Sweet air of the Marches in spring often echoes with shy bleating of just weaned lambs. Their mothers can now give to shepherds precious candid milk that will soon be transformed in shapes of delicious cheese, tasted at each point of ripening, in every occasion.

Exactly that rich sheep cheese, obtained from the first milking is used to prepare the so-called Pizza di Pasqua (Easter Pizza), the aspect of which reminds of typical Italian Christmas cake ("panettone"). It is not by chance that this pizza occupies a place of honour in the gastronomic tradition of the Marches.

The result is a morbid round odorous and tasteful bellied pizza, ideal to satisfy epicurean appetite at one bite. Accompanied with a slice of local salami and watered with Verdicchio, it gives a rarely equilibrated union of tastes.

As it usually happens to dishes deriving from remote rural traditions, even Pizza di Pasqua exists in numerous versions and recipes, always in reference with definite areas of the territory of the Marches. (Today, the connoisseurs qualify it a masterpiece of gastronomy.)

In the area of Pesaro, for example, it is known and appreciated under the name of “crescia brusca”, while in Jesi, according to tradition, it is served during the sumptuous dinner that follows Easter Mass.

The ingredients are more or less the same (flour, eggs, oil, lard, milk, yeast, salt, pepper and as much sheep cheese as you like, either ripened and grated or fresh in cubes). Each housewife, of course, enriches Pizza di Pasqua with her own personal secret (handed over from generation to generation), in order to distinguish it from the others, with equally unique fragrance and flavour.

In occasion of a recent White Truffle of Acqualagna Fair, in an attempt to renew an old tradition, this thick and soft pizza has been flavoured, obviously, with truffle, and has thus been added strong and sharp flavour.

If in several villages folk celebrations dedicated to crescia di Pasqua take place (as the one in Colbordolo), a sweet version of this pizza was invented in other villages. The same dough has been enriched with sultana and candied fruits instead of sheep cheese.

Pizza with cheese, however, the one that belongs to the peasant tradition, remains always official Pizza di Pasqua. Those who could taste this speciality of the Marches will certainly never forget intense fragrance spreading from it while cutting its soft golden crumb. 

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