Friday, April 22, 2011

A different Easter: Tradition, food and craft.

Easter is upon us once again and I have been reading a few blogs relating to Easter celebrations and traditions in other countries. That got me thinking about the differences between Easter here and back home in France.

First of all, we do not have the Easter bunny. Instead, we have bells. Yes, I know, it sounds strange but it's not really, once you know the story behind it. From Good Friday until Easter Monday, church bells do not chime in France, in mourning for the passing of Jesus. The story told to children is that the bells have gone on a pilgrimage to Rome and, on their way back from Rome, they are celebrating the resurection by dropping treats for children to find.

Some traditional friture.
I am deliberately saying treats because, although we do get chocolate eggs (Kinder chocolate eggs were my favourite when I was a child), we get all sorts of different chocolates. As a matter of fact, apart from the Kinder eggs, I don't recall getting many eggs as such. I got chocolate hens, chocolate bunnies and something else we call 'friture'. A real 'friture' would be small fish the length of your little finger, deep fried and eaten whole but for Easter, we get chocolate friture. These are small chocolates shaped like fish. My mum and dad brought Easter chocolates over for the girls. They get their chocolates from one of the best chocolatiers in France and they are scrumptious. I have kept them hidden in a cupboard for the past few weeks and today I couldn't help but have a peek and there is a small bag of friture in there. Not sure the Easter bunny is going to leave that out for the girls to find on Sunday! I'm pretty sure the 2 chocolate hens (and other eggs and bunnies) will be enough to keep the girls happy.

Two little chocolate hens for the girls.
We also celebrate Easter with eggs. One of the traditions in my region is to make an Easter omelette. But it's not your usual omelette. It is a sweet omelette. Every year, on Easter Monday, a small village beside mine makes one of the biggest omelette in the world. It is made with 15 000 eggs and cooked in a 400kgs, 4m wide pan before being shared (for free) amongst the villagers and tourists that have come to see this tradition that started in 1973.

French Sweet Easter Omelette:

Ingredients for 4 persons:

- 8 eggs
- 50 grs of caster sugar
- 10 grs of vanilla sugar
- 40 grs of butter
- a pinch of salt
- 7 cl of  rhum (optional)

- In a bowl, break 5 of the eggs.
- Separate the yolks and whites of the last 3 remaining eggs.
- Add the yolks to the bowl, the pinch of salt and beat.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with 10 grs of sugar until soft peaks appear.
- Fold the whites in with the other eggs.
- In a pan, melt the butter.
- Once melted, pour the mixture in.
- Once cooked, sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
- Flambé with the rhum (basically pour the rhum over and set alight. Be careful not to burn yourself! Also, it is safe to give to children as the alcohol gets burnt off in the process).
- Enjoy hot or cold!

Now that's one big pan!
So this week, we started our Easter celebrations in the Foodie household. Marie and myself decorated a few eggs. Some people boil the eggs but I decided to empty them and make an omelette with them instead (I am not a big fan of hard boiled eggs). So we proceeded to make small(ish) holes at the top and bottom of the egg shells with needles. And then the hard work of blowing the egg out began. You have to make sure that the holes are big enough to get the egg out. I find that shaking the egg for a little while before blowing makes it easier. We then washed the eggs before dipping them in food colouring. The longer you leave it in, the deeper the colour. If you want designs on the eggs, you can draw on them with crayons (that way the die doesn't take under the crayon). You can leave the crayon on, or using an eraser, take it off. If you have some glitter glue, you can use that to decorate your eggs. The options are endless, you can glue paper on, put little gems on, whatever you have at hand can be used. So here are the results of our morning of Easter egg decorating.

Why don't you give it a go (either the omelette or the decorating!) and let me know how you got on? In any case, have a wonderful Easter!

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