Easter is a special time for gathering together with family and friends. We asked Claude Cicchiello, Managing Director of La Casa Del Formaggio, South Australian specialty cheese makers about what Easter means to his family...
What is the atmosphere like at La Casa at Easter time?
Easter time is a busy period for La Casa Del Formaggio as it is a very important holiday in the Italian culture. Our family always has a big gathering on Easter where we celebrate the holiday and eat lots (of course!). Our Factory Outlet Shop is jam-packed with customers during this time of year getting the freshest cheese possible in the lead up to Easter, which is traditionally a big cooking holiday.
Which cheeses are traditionally associated with Easter?
There are two very traditional dishes that our family has always enjoyed at Easter and they are Pizza Piena (or also known as Pizza Rustica or Torta di Pasqua) and Ricotta Rice Cake (Torta di Riso).
Pizza Piena is a savoury, cheesy quiche style dish with lots of Italian meat folded through (cacciatore, prosciutto, ham, etc) and a pastry crust. This is the main dish served on Easter Sunday and it uses our Fresh Pecorino Style Cheese or our Homestyle Fresh Cheese. If either of these cheeses are leftover, they are also a great table cheeses to be served with crackers. http://lacasa.com.au/recipes/pizza-piena/
Ricotta Rice Cake is a simple cheese cake that is made with cooked Arborio rice, eggs, sugar and Traditional Ricotta. Our family does its own variation with Strega liqueur and lemon zest. http://lacasa.com.au/recipes/ricotta-rice-cake/
Which cheeses/products do you make especially for Easter and where can customers buy them?
Our Homestyle Fresh Cheese is a cheese that we make all year round, but it sells best around Easter when Italians are making their traditional dishes. Our Bocconcini and Ricotta are also very popular sellers during the Easter period, and both are available nationally at Woolworths (and you can find our Bocconcini nationally at Coles and at Independents). Another favourite product at Easter time is our Vanilla Bean Double Cream, which is a great complement to all of the Easter chocolate baked desserts.
What is your favourite Easter Recipe?
The Pizza Piena is a favourite because it is only made during this time of year. Once you start eating it, it is very hard to stop!!
What’s your best tip for Easter entertaining?
Always be prepared with lots of food! And do not leave guests hungry waiting for the meal – a big antipasto platter with meats, cheeses, crackers and marinated vegetables will have everyone nibbling until the meal is served.