“The cake that tastes like spring.” This is how Colomba (dove) was presented to Italians in 1930, when one of the biggest panettone makers – Motta – decided to use the same machineries, techniques and more or less the same ingredients to make another cake, the dove-shaped colomba (peace symbol) for Easter, the most important Catholic feast.
You can find many different industrial colombe for as little as 4 euros in supermarkets, but if you want something better for this relatively recent traditional Italian Easter cake, here are some tips.
These are our preferred artisanal colombe in Rome.
1. Volpetti. Made with an 80 year-old mother yeast from the Pescara province.
2. Romeo. By Iginio Massari, one of the best bakers in the country, a leavening guru from Brescia.
3. Panella. Our favorite bakery in town. Traditional recipe.
4. Said. The best chocolate shop-bar in Rome. Milk chocolate or plain chocolate covered and decorated.
5. Casa Bleve. By Bisco, in the Asti province. One of the best in Italy. Three options: classic, with orange and chocolate or with pistacchio cream.
6. Bonci. The best pizza and bread maker in town has a fantastic apricot colomba for Easter.
7. Roscioli. One of the top bakery and pastry shops in the Eternal City. Traditional version.
8. Cristalli di Zucchero. Another “must” for foodies with a sweet tooth. Classic recipe.
9. Gianfornaio. The biggest and most expensive of Rome: 5 kilograms, 115 euros!
10. Gentilini. Historical Roman cookie-maker, produces a cheap colomba, which is half artisanal and half industrial, with a beautiful wrapping paper which makes it perfect for a gift.