Easter is Melbourne's second foodie holiday after Christmas and people love to get around the table for a big feast. It's a hectic time for us here at Peter Bouchier with people stocking up for big family gatherings, but Troy Wheeler, the Manager at our Toorak store took some time out to offer some tips and inspiration around what to serve up over the Easter holidays.
What do Aussies typically serve up on Easter Sunday?
Traditionally over the years pork has probably become Aussie's favourite Easter lunch. A lovely rolled pork loin or rolled shoulder roasted up with lots of root vegetables and a nice bread stuffing. That's a pretty popular choice for people, especially on Easter Sunday. Eye fillet, lamb cutlets and roast chickens are also hugely popular items at this time of year.
What sorts of things do you roll the pork with?
We tend to just roll the pork plain because it's hard to get a gauge around people's likes and dislikes but we're very open to rolling them how people want, so if a customer has a stuffing or any type of filling – for example if they want to do a traditional Italian porchetta – or they have their own family recipe for a seasoning we can prep that up and roll it for them so that it's all ready for them to cook with no fuss. It's all about making the food preparation less stressful for people at home – we can do all of that for them in our shops.
Ham is reputedly the most popular meat on the American dinner table over Easter these days – is it a popular choice for Australian families too?
Lamb is often a meat associated with Easter feasting, where does that fit into the mix in Melbourne?
Lamb is a tradition dating back before Easter to Jewish passover. One of the traditions Jewish families have is to roast off a lamb bone and place it in the middle of the table as an offering.
Jewish passovers definitely sees demand for lamb spike, especially lamb cutlets. Easter week we can be doing 1000 cutlets a day. Greek Easter also involves lots of large roasting joints of lamb – shoulders and legs of lamb and whole lambs cooked on the spit. Spit roasting has come back in fashion a bit over the last few years, not just at Easter, with people dabbling with the rotisserie or spit roast.
Tip: If you're going to spit roast a lamb don't baste it for the first hour or so or you might get flare-ups which could result in lamb charcoal grilled a little better than to most people's taste!
How much does the weather forecast determine what Melbournians serve for Easter lunch?
What people serve up at Easter is hugely weather dependent. If it's a nice warm day it's nice to get outside and get on the barbecue. If you want to serve up something a little different to the traditional Easter fare veal season is just starting so some lovely little joints of veal or racks of veal are very, very tasty cooked on the barbecue.
If it's a dreary day and you're going to be inside, a succulent rolled roast beef or a delicious dry aged rib eye of beef are interesting alternatives if you don't want to do the traditional lamb or pork. Serve up beef and you have the advantage of using the left-overs on Easter Monday. Roast beef in a salad is beautiful for lunch.
If we came to your house, what would you personally serve up for Easter lunch?
What I like changes all the time but you can't go past the traditional roasted leg of lamb. Theres nothing more comforting and good to share with people than a big leg of lamb, roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes and all the traditional trimmings. That's comfort food.