Passover and Easter: Different celebrations, each centers around food and family

Passover and Easter: Different celebrations, each centers around food and family

Beautiful blossoms are a sure sign of spring.

For Christian and Jewish families, this week marks one of the most widely-observed times of the religious year.  When it comes to food, it’s also among the most festive.   We Sigonas know more about Christian foods and traditions – especially the Sicilian customs.  But two things are common to both feasts:  food and family.

At Easter, as with most holidays, all the Sigonas – four generations strong – get together at Mom & Dad Sigona’s home in Morgan Hill.  We have an Easter egg hunt for the kids, followed by a big meal.  We feel so blessed to have great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and kids all around the same table!  The menu usually includes ham and leg of lamb – and if we’re lucky, we’ll have pie that my grandfather makes from the apples and ollalieberries he still grows on the farm.

In addition to the meal, we have lots of chocolate and lots of flowers around – all signs of celebration, new life, and springtime.  So we’re bringing into the store extras of both so you might enjoy them at your Easter table.  Of course, we’ll have lots of traditional Easter lilies on hand.  And look for our Asiatic lilies or large tulips ($7.99 a bunch), hydrangea ($3.99 a stem), and alstroemeria ($2.99 a bunch).

If you are a fan of excellent chocolate, you already know we have one of the best selections around.  But you still might want a little extra something for Easter morning.  For you, we have milk chocolate bunnies (of course), plus several exquisite chocolate collections:  15-piece petite eggs in an assortment of chocolate, our 4-piece suite of Easter chocolates, a farm animal chocolate collection, and finally, our 9-piece spring chocolate collection, complete with a spring-themed gift box.

Dried fruit comes into focus on two very important traditional foods:  the Italian Panettone cake for Easter, and Haroset for Passover.  More on the Panettone in a moment.

Sigona’s dried fruit and nuts offer you many choices for Haroset.
Before the main course at a family Passover, the family – along with friends and others who join them — re-tell the story of liberation from slavery in Egypt.  Special foods help tell the story.  One of these is Haroset, a mixture of fruit and nuts.  It symbolizes the mortar the Hebrew slaves were forced to make to build in ancient Egypt.  Christian readers will note that Jesus would have likely eaten Haroset with His apostles at the last supper.

When most American Jews sit down to their family seder, the haroset is a mixture of cinnamon, apples, nuts, and wine.  But in fact, there are about as many recipes as there are Jewish ethnicities!  For example, Sephardic Jews -those who come from Spanish, Arabic, or Mediterranean lands – will often favor ingredients popular in their own countries:  dates or figs, pomegranates or pine nuts, or even coconut!

Whichever dried fruits your family uses to make its Haroset, we have the best the earth has to offer.  Whether it’s apricots and dried cranberries, or dates and Mission figs, we have them, plus more than 150 types of dried fruit and nuts.  This week, our jumbo organic California Thompson raisins are on sale – along with pecans, almonds, and cashews.

Back to our Easter and our Italian food traditions.  Have you tried Panettone, the traditional Italian Easter sweet bread?  You can make it at home (there are many good recipes available), or you can pick it up here in the store.  And in the unlikely event that there’s any left, you can use it to make a delicious Panettone bread pudding for Easter Monday.  Check out the recipe on this page.

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