The celebration of Easter in Slovakia brings out some of the culture's most distinctive dishes. Holiday meals draw upon Slovakian culture, incorporating hearty meats, cheeses, eggs, bread and sweet desserts. Three of the most familiar at Easter are paska, a kind of bread; hrudka, or "Easter cheese" that's really made of eggs; and fanky, or "Easter bowties."
Good Bread Brings Good Luck
Paska, the Easter bread, often looks and tastes more like a round white cake topped with fruit. Its name comes from the Greek word pascha, which refers to Jesus Christ's resurrection, the Christian meaning of the holiday. Paska has become part of a religious ritual in Slovakia. The bread typically is baked on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday mornings and then blessed in the Church along with ham, eggs, cheese, sausages and other foods eaten for the holiday breakfast. Success with baking Paska, such as large loaves that turn out well, also symbolizes good luck for Slovaks.
'Easter Cheese' Made of Eggs
Another traditional Easter food for Slovaks is hrudka, or "Easter cheese" that goes by many names: cirek, sirets, sirok, or sirecz. Basically, hrudka is a ball of scrambled eggs that has been cooked with milk in a double boiler until the mixture curdles. The mass is strained in a cheesecloth to remove the liquid until it resembles a spreadable custard. The cheesecloth is tied to shape the mass into a ball and refrigerated overnight to set. Hrudka is served on Easter Sunday morning with paska and ham, sausage and beet horseradish.
Sweet Bowties for Dessert
Slovaks consider Easter Sunday a day for celebrating family and life's bounty, so sweet desserts are also a must. Slovakian nut roll isn't strictly for Easter, but it often appears on holiday tables along with sisky, or Slovakian doughnuts, and a dessert called fanky, or Easter bowties. Fanky is said to taste like the funnel cakes sold at state fairs in the United States. For fanky, the dough is shaped into bowties, fried in hot oil and dusted with powdered sugar.
Lamb Symbolizes Spring
Slovak Easter meals often include a lamb dish called baránok, meaning "young ram." Families that couldn't afford lamb would make other foods in the shape of a young ram as another springtime symbol for the Easter holiday.
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