I’ve long preferred Easter to Christmas. It’s not an opinion I regularly broadcast, as it implies I’m a quasi-Grinch, which is very far from the truth. Christmas is wonderful, filled with all my favourite things: good food, lots of wine and holiday but it also comes with heavy expectations, a lot of tradition to uphold and a tendency to overdo it. Easter, on the other hand, has good food, lots of wine, an extra long weekend and very little pressure surrounding it – what’s not to like? Even in the religious context, Easter is clearly the more impressive. Jesus may have been born at Christmas, but he rose from the dead at Easter and resurrection is worth a celebration in my book. Maybe we can look at Easter 2021 as the resurrection of our social lives, as the slightly eased restrictions we’ll be living in over the period can make up for what we lost in December with a washout Christmas.
As gatherings of six people from two households will be allowed in private and public outdoor spaces, there’s every possibility of replacing the Christmas dinner you missed out on with your nearest and dearest over the Easter holidays instead. Rather than a pre-prescribed menu, Easter allows you to cook whatever you fancy and the seasonal produce makes that choice glorious. That’s where Easter scores points for someone like me who loves to cook: freedom in the kitchen. Yes, lamb might seem a natural choice but no one is going to complain if I decided to marinate a lamb shoulder in Moroccan spices and barbecue it, or switch to in-season crab with asparagus and hollandaise instead. Whereas if there were no turkey on December 25, there would be tears (trust me, it’s been suggested and shot down every year). Remember that as you can only entertain outside, a barbecued meal is quite a nice idea as it’ll allow you to be with your guests in the ‘kitchen’ rather than being alone in the actual kitchen while everyone drinks aperol spritzes outside without you.
Our resident ‘host with the most’ and expert mixologist, Davey Hunter Jones, is going down a different route for his celebrations: ‘Whether it's with family or friends, this Easter I'll be making a case for a celebration breakfast,’ he’s decided. ‘Breakfast is the most under-rated meal in my opinion, often rushed, often boring, but I think it's high time breakfast became the best meal of the day. What better time than Easter to enjoy an amazing soft-boiled egg, piles of asparagus, warm kedgeree, chocolate egg pancakes, and some 'hot-cross bun bucks fizz' and not forgetting plenty of it's namesake.’ A fine idea indeed, and one that could easily be enjoyed on any of the four days that Easter spans over. Start the day with a hearty breakfast as per Davey’s suggestion and then walk or cycle it off somewhere new – remember, travelling outside your local area will be allowed by then – before refuelling once more with some of the delicious picnic deliveries that are cropping up. Ottolenghi has launched 'Ottolenghi in a Bag' for all your needs, while Italian restaurant Bocca di Lupo has a veritable picnic feast and Hackney’s Ombra have a perfect hamper for two. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy a restaurant meal in a new setting.
New settings are the overarching theme for Easter 2021. A chance to refresh, reset, leave lockdown behind and look forward to spring, summer and eventual (hopefully) normal life. Perhaps that can manifest itself in your tablescaping. Speaking to Sophie Elliott and Cloe Bueso, founders of tableware company The Sette are planning to make their celebration feel special in any way they can, which starts with the table. ‘Easter is definitely a more relaxed holiday for us than Christmas,’ they agreed. ‘We feel more comfortable taking more risks with our table, letting loose and having fun. We are going to be mixing and matching different coloured tumblers and coupes down our table - clear, pink, green and blue - as well as layering the table over the top and delicious looking cakes on cake stands - think Alice in Wonderland meets Marie Antoinette from Sofia Coppola's movie!’
What could be better right now than being able to whisk whoever you choose to spend parts of the weekend with away to another world, completely removed from the mundanity of what is currently our everyday lives in exactly the way The Sette girls are planning with their decorations. In their own words, ‘the mission with The Sette is to bring people together around the table and help create lasting memories. Even though this Easter will be different and perhaps smaller than most, we couldn't think of a better time to do this and have a super uplifting tabletop to do it around.’
Gifting at Easter is an altogether nicer affair than Christmas too in many ways, again because there are no expectations so anything you give or receive is simply a lovely surprise. 'I'll be stocking up on a load of Daylesford's eggs,' says Davey 'and some vetiver baskets from RE to make sweet little nests.' Easter eggs, easter hampers, picnic hampers – there's a world of lovely, mostly edible gifts to perk up an Easter in lockdown once again.
Feature Image: Unsplash
This originally appeared on House & Garden UK | Charlotte McCaughan-Hawes