Spring is finally here in France and we are all looking forward to Easter when we will say “Joyeuses Pâques” to our friends and families.
The Easter weekend is an important time for families to get together, and for children, parents and grandparents to share a hearty meal on Easter Sunday.
On Sunday morning, children will be patiently waiting for permission to go to the garden and find Easter eggs hidden by “Les Cloches“. Adults like to join in too, of course! After all, we do have some of the best chocolate in the world.
There is no Easter Bunny in France!
Cloches is the French word for bells, which are a traditional symbol of Easter; they come in all shapes, sizes and flavours!
From Maundy Thursday onwards, the church bells remain silent to respect the memory of Jesus who died on the cross.
The story says that the bells go on a pilgrimage to Rome and return, dropping treats in the gardens of all the families! The bells ring out joyously again on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection.
A very traditional Easter Sunday meal is quite a copious affair. You can expect to be seated for a couple of hours!
Here’s a typical French menu:
Oeufs Farcis: Stuffed eggs such as mimosa, soft poached, boiled or marinated.
Sometimes stewed, braised but traditionally roasted, the Gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb) is a favourite choice.
The roast is garnished with garlic cloves and sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme for extra flavour and is never overcooked!
Our chef’s tip: Don’t turn the leg of lamb whilst cooking, you’ll lose the juice; cook until the meat is pink or ‘à point‘ and only salt when serving.
Gigot d’agneau is often served with flageolets (kidney beans) and springtime vegetables.
Dessert will almost always be something chocolate based; this could be a three-layered chocolate cake or a nest shape with small candy-coloured eggs.
A strong coffee and a “digestif” rounds off the meal for the adults, while the children enjoy their chocolate.
After all the feasting, there is the Easter Monday bank holiday to look forward to.