Greek Easter: It's kind of a big deal
If you smell barbeque and hear the smashing of eggs this Sunday, find an Orthodox Christian friend and say Christos Anesti (and try to get invited along for the meal). Being Greek Orthodox, we have had to wait a short week to celebrate Easter this year here at Cotton and Pearl HQ. This is because we cannot celebrate Easter until after 25 March and Passover. So sometimes we celebrate on the same day as western Christians, and on other years we can wait up to a month.
Easter is a BIG DEAL for Greeks and our preparations start on Good Thursday when we dye our eggs red, blue, yellow and green and start getting the flaounes (Cypriot savoury cheese pies) and tsoureki (Greek Easter bread) ready. We've already told you about tsoureki so today we're talking pies, cheese pies...
Flaouna preparations start with the filling, which consists of special goats and sheep cheese, halloumi, and for us BBCs (British Born Cypriots), a bit of cheddar too. This all needs to be grated and mixed with eggs, yeast, mint and special herbs and spices and has to be left to rise overnight. We all gather at mum's house at the crack of dawn on Good Friday to start making the pies. No matter how early it is, mum will alway have made the dough and made a start without us. We spend the next few hours rolling, seeding, filling, egg washing and baking.
It is a tense time, will they rise, will they split, is the cheese any good? There is an unspoken competition to see who makes the most beautiful and delicious pies. And of course we traditionally fast for lent so we have to wait for our old uncle pig (it's an affectionate term we promise) to come and give us his verdict on whether we have got it right this year. Of course he always comes as we are getting the last trays out of the oven, and they are always good (even if we do say so ourselves).