For people of the Greek Orthodox faith, olive oil is restricted during the season leading up to Easter. During Holy Week, called Megali Evdomada (Big Week) in Greece, olive oil is not allowed to be consumed at all—a huge sacrifice for a country where each person enjoys an average of 26 liters of olive oil a year (by comparison, Americans consume about 1.1 liters annually).
The Lenten Fast is broken after the midnight Easter service. Easter is perhaps the greatest time for foods, feasting and celebration, which includes an abundance of olive oil. Greek Orthodox Easter doesn’t often fall on the same day Roman Catholic and Protestant Easter, but whatever day you’re celebrating, it’s always a great idea to serve Mediterranean-inspired delicacies, which usually begin and end with copious, highest quality olive oil—Gaea! Here are some tips:
- Bake Tsoureki, fluffy, addictive Greek Easter Sweet Bread, with olive oil and scented with orange and vanilla. We love this recipe. Where it calls for olive oil, use Sitia D.O.P.—the aromatic, medium bodied flavor will complement the subtly sweet loaf.
- Make marbleized Easter eggs. They’re gorgeous and plenty of fun to make. And olive oil is your secret weapon here.
- Roasted veggies are a welcome addition to any Easter table. These roasted red peppers are a delicious, colorful menu addition, especially with the bright flavors of Gaea Fresh, where approximately 2,300 early harvest Koroneiki variety olives are pressed into each bottle.
- Roasted lamb makes a stunning centerpiece for your Easter feast. For tons of savory flavor, rub a lamb roast with lemon, oregano, salt and pepper, place garlic cloves around the roast, and drizzle with a generous pour of Kalamata D.O.P. olive oil. The fresh, green Koroneiki olives deliver a unique pepper and almond flavor that’s a great foil to lamb.