After having explored the tasty and fluffy world of artisan panettone, today we are dedicating ourselves to doves, to stay on the typical holiday specialties that enliven the convivial banquets on certain days of the year.
Colombe are the dessert that represents a classic of the period that revolves around the Easter holiday, making us rediscover, year after year, that traditional taste of one of the most iconic confectionery products of Italian production.
What is special about it and which are the best artisanal doves of 2023?
Let's try to explore the colorful world of the dove, discovering all its facets, the traits that make it unique and inimitable, the best brands and the most successful productions in our country.
If you can't wait and want to know who wins the 2023 award for the best artisan dove, here you are!
- The characteristics of Easter doves
- Types of Easter doves
- Production of handcrafted doves
- Easter dove online: is it worth it?
- The best brands of handcrafted Easter doves
- Ranking of the best artisan doves 2023
- Colombe Olivieri: unrivaled quality
- Production of handcrafted doves in Italy
- What to look for in the best artisan doves
- In conclusion
The characteristics of Easter doves
If during the Christmas period we can't wait to savor the taste of a slice of panettone, after a few months, near Easter, we find ourselves with a great desire to taste another traditional dessert: the dove. How to recognize it?
Its shape, which recalls the features of a dove, is certainly its typical trait, but it is only at the first taste that the perfumed notes, the perfect leavening and that inebriating flavor with orange and vanilla aromas are enhanced.
Covered with a sugar and almond glaze, it has never lost the original taste that has been handed down for years.
The origins of this confectionary baked product are linked to the religious celebration of Easter. The dove symbolizes peace and is produced in the period in which the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated precisely in reference to some passages of Genesis in which it is said that it was this bird that carried an olive branch after the universal flood, as a sign of surrender hostilities between the world and God, until then very heated.
There are also legends that color the history of this Easter specialty, such as the one starring King Alboin in 572 in Pavia. It is said that the city was under siege for a very long time by the king's troops and, to avoid looting, the inhabitants gave the soldiers a soft cake in the shape of a dove and won their clemency.
Whatever the true story related to its birth, what is certain is that today it represents that dessert we cannot give up on Easter holidays. Our favorites? Of course the handcrafted Easter doves!
Types of Easter doves
Exactly as with panettone, even in the case of the production of Colombe over the years, pastry chefs have let themselves be inspired by their creativity in the kitchen and have developed alternative recipes to the classic one, enriching the dough with various types of fillings.
And so today we can enjoy doves of all kinds:
- Chocolate Variegate
- With pistachio cream
- With lemon cream
- With chocolate chips
- Filled with mascarpone
- With ricotta cream
- With and without candied fruit
Again, it's hard to resist not trying them all! But, once again we find ourselves preferring the traditional version, with its simple, genuine and unique taste, which the major producers who make this dessert in an artisanal way know how to prepare with skill.
Production of handcrafted doves
In industrial mass production, the dove does not lose its quality or taste, but there are nonetheless significant characteristics that make the artisanal ones superior. Here are the strengths of an elite production:
- Very fresh product
- No artificial colors or flavors
- No preservatives
- Uniform glaze without cracks
- Intense scent
- Greater digestibility
- Leavening for a minimum of 24 hours
- No chemical yeast but only sourdough
The dough, leavening, processing and cooking are followed step by step by the pastry master who minimizes any unexpected errors, to ensure that the product is as perfect as tradition dictates.
Easter dove online: is it worth it?
And here we are, therefore, with the first question that perplexes consumers looking for the best quality Easter dove: where to buy it? Surely going to the pastry shop you are guaranteed to choose a dessert made by hand and distributed for a select few, unlike the doves sold in the supermarket which are found on large pallets and are reserved for a large number of people.
But today there is also another very interesting purchasing opportunity: the online experience. The most accredited retailers in the artisan sector, successful brands and even some of the best-known pastry shops offer the possibility to purchase their specialties by going to the reference website, taking care of shipping the Colomba directly home.
It is an excellent solution for those who want to taste the quality of one of the best brands on the artisan market which, however, does not have production premises in the city. Once upon a time we had to be satisfied, but today thanks to the channels on the web we no longer have to give up indulging the most gluttonous temptations, especially at Easter!
The best brands of handcrafted Easter doves
If you're curious to find out which are the best handcrafted doves of 2023, you're in the right place. We are about to discover the updated top ten, through which you can carefully choose your Easter cake before the anniversary arrives.
Here are the first three positions of this special classification:
Here are the best handcrafted brands in order:
- Terminus Creamery
- San Domenico of Imola
- Brisa oven
- Igino Massari
- Christian Marasco
The most popular chefs, even those popular on TV such as Alessandro Borghese, have dabbled in artisanal production with excellent results. Each one adds his own touch and makes the product unique, while respecting the traditional recipe which in some cases is made even richer by elements that guarantee its originality.
Ranking of the best artisan doves 2023
As a leader in the artisan confectionery production, Olivieri 1882 is again in first place, this time not only for the panettone but also for the quality and taste of the Easter cakes. And every year it surpasses itself with its innovations to improve the product, such as when it decided to add the whole candied fruit together with the finely chopped one. The result is an even tastier dough, as well as being really very soft. Even the almond glaze is superb, even more crunchy, giving that contrast that makes it a must in its sector. Olivieri satisfies everyone and also prepares his specialty in seven other versions, all of which can also be purchased online free shipping!. You can also use the discount code DORG10 to get the 10% discount!
Slow leavening and rigorously prepared with live sourdough: this is how Follador's Colomba cakes are born, a guarantee in artisanal production. The experience of the brand and the creative art of the pastry chefs have allowed him to be daring with initiatives that even distort the typical shape of the Easter cake. Thus was born the egg, which recalls the shape of the egg which remains a symbol of Easter especially for the little ones. But that doesn't mean that classic doves become a secondary product! Indeed, in addition to the classic version, you can also taste the chocolate and pistachio versions.
Excellent in the classic version, original in the tiramisu version: the Colomba from Cremeria Capolinea retains all the typical traits of the original recipe in terms of taste and soft dough, with a rich filling of orange candied fruit. And it also has other interesting variations, such as the hazelnut dough with orange blossom scent.
Colombe Vergani, a well-known Milanese artisan company, are very rich in flavors to offer specialties that are always in step with the times and without detracting from tradition. The classic Colomba recipe is made with soft wheat flour and other top-quality ingredients, while the gourmet versions feature options with pistachio and chocolate, three chocolates, chocolate and ginger.
San Domenico of Imola
The strength of the San Domenico di Imola brand is precisely the raw materials. The pastry chefs use only the highest quality ingredients to make a dough that rises for 20 hours. The heady aromas are reminiscent of Mediterranean scents, from bergamot to mandarin, from lemons to orange. And those who want to try new flavors must absolutely try the variant with strawberry and chocolate, with wild strawberries and dark chocolate.
The Bolognese tradition can count on the artisan production of Forno Brisa, an excellence in the sector that guarantees high quality products thanks to the exclusive use of ingredients carefully chosen in the local supply chains: oranges from Rosarno, candied fruit from Trento, lemons from Salerno. And a point in its favor is also given by the fact that it produces vegan Easter cakes, so as not to preclude anyone from tasting its preparations.
Typical of the creative flair of the Igino Massari production, the Easter colomba is revisited every year to always be unique and special. The latest news? The addition of Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar for an even more intense flavor and full of citrus notes. Even in leavening Igino Massari exceeds the standards, letting the dough rise for at least 62 hours.
Expert in the production of sourdough, Cristian Marasco has entered the world of artisan cakes to become a point of reference among the major brands in the sector. And it is precisely the yeast that makes the difference in this production that uses only selected and rigorously quality ingredients.
Excellent producer of panettone and colomba, Dolcemascolo was also awarded as best emerging pastry chef 2021 by Gambero Rosso and this recognition has encouraged his work, always full of attention to produce superior quality desserts. It collaborates with local farms for the choice of raw materials and has recently also introduced the Colomba with a chocolate and raspberry flavor, also excellent for children.
In Milan, the manufacturer of artisanal products Peck also stands out, making Easter cakes obtained after a good 72 hours of leavening. In addition to Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar, it also uses the taste of a syrup which makes the flavor even more intense. Glazed with almonds and sprinkles, this specialty is enriched with candied oranges and can also be purchased in the three-chocolate variant.
Colombe Olivieri: unrivaled quality
Why is Olivieri also first in the production of the Colomba as well as the artisan panettone? The answer lies in his way of working and making his doughs, full of attention and processed with carefully selected raw materials, long leavening and that crunchy glaze that recalls the flavors of pastry.
Did you know that Olivieri doves were awarded the title of best artisan dove according to Gambero Rosso in 2019? It is a merit that does not come by chance, but is the result of experience, passion and the desire to create excellent products without compromise.
Olivieri also stands out for his social commitment, as well as culinary. In fact, it has decided to donate part of the proceeds from the online sale of doves to the children of Ukraine, to make its contribution to an important cause by exploiting the goodness of its products.
And then, the classic version goes perfectly with the limited edition flavors in the gianduja, lemon and vanilla, peach and tonka, raspberry and mint, strawberry and lemon options, which will be the main attraction of this Easter 2023.
And of course you can also choose the sour cherry, three chocolates or pear and chocolate versions, always in great demand by loyal customers of the brand.
Production of handcrafted doves in Italy
In the Italian confectionery tradition, the Colomba represents an excellence, appreciated even beyond the borders. And even if its origins want it to come from Milan, today there are many pastry chefs throughout the area who have passionately established themselves in the sector and have given their personal touch to this Easter cake.
And we want to retrace the most famous stages where the best artisan doves are made, visiting the cities that have distinguished themselves for the production, dough, leavening and processing of the typical Easter confectionery product.
We start from Milan, where it all started, to get to Vicenza, move to Turin and finally conclude our journey in Rome.
Ready to go in search of taste in the Italian provinces linked to the artisan Colomba?
Artisan Easter dove Milan
In Milan, making doves is a tradition. For this reason it is very easy to find pastry shops that make artisan products and to be conquered by each of them. In fact, the processing and cooking steps remain unchanged, but each one reinvents new flavors so as not to give up the originality and creativity that makes them special.
Where to buy an artisan dove in Milan? Here we certainly find the quality and guarantee of Igino Massari, considered one of the best pastry chefs in the city. And then there's Peck, which with its varied versions has already conquered not only the Milanese but also all the Italians who have tried its productions in the classic version or enriched with chocolate.
Handcrafted Easter dove Vicenza
In Vicenza the undisputed dominion of Olivieri 1882 reigns and its artisan dove which Gambero Rosso defines as "beauty queen among doves". And if you're not nearby, don't worry: the brand has an online sales channel that allows you to ship its products practically anywhere, even if you are abroad.
In the wake of Olivieri's success, other local pastry shops have also given their personal contribution to the local production of doves made according to tradition, and walking through the city you can taste unique specialties to bring to the table for Easter days.
Handcrafted Easter dove Turin
And here we are in Turin, where the dove is the symbol of local pastry, which satisfies even the most demanding palates with its innovative flavors that accompany the classic version. The skill of the local pastry chefs and the choice of fillings are the perfect combination to give rise to truly delicious products that take advantage not only of chocolate, but also of fruit, such as pears which are increasingly combined with other ingredients of the confectionery tradition.
Have you ever bought in a Turin pastry shop? Even the elegant packaging will win you over and make you look great at the home of friends who will appreciate the aesthetics and love the taste and soft dough of a very fresh dove.
Handmade Easter dove Rome
Even in Rome, however, the artisanal doves are famous for their taste and the quality of the ingredients. As an international hub, always crowded with tourists, the capital of Italy can only please everyone with the production of its doves. And so you can find productions with organic flours, with ingredients that do not have animal origin to accommodate vegan choices, and other variations that can also be savored by those suffering from particular food intolerances or allergies.
The local pastry chefs are careful to respect the traditional recipe with sourdough but they are also daring with original variations, sold in the best-known ancient confectionery shops in the center or in the surroundings of the city.
What to look for in the best artisan doves
In summary, what should you look for in a truly handcrafted dove? Here are 5 essential elements:
- Presence of aromas. From vanilla to butter, the aromatic scent of the dove is a characteristic note from the moment it comes out of the package.
- Leavening. This phase is essential for the success of the final product. For this reason it must not last less than 24 hours and must release a soft, compact but not dry dough.
- Icing. Almond flour, sugar and whole almonds make the Colomba one of a kind. And the icing should always be crunchy!
- Form. In addition to the usual shape that recalls the features of the dove, the handcrafted product does not go in search of a particular color that highlights its quality. Indeed, it depends a lot on the quantity of eggs used, on the butter and even on the flours.
- candies. Typical element of the classic recipe, they can be orange, citron, lemon and must not be excessive enough to overwhelm the aromatic flavor of the rest of the ingredients.
The price also affects the handicraft production. After all, quality comes at a price and if you want to look for the top of the range you must be aware that it will cost you more than the classic dove taken at the supermarket. What affects the price? The workmanship, the first choice ingredients and even the icing! Perhaps not everyone knows that the weight, and therefore the price per kilo, can be influenced by the percentage of almonds used.
And we have reached the end of this journey which has made us rediscover the ancient tradition linked to the production of the Easter dove, which returns every year with its classic version or with original flavors and variations.
It is, therefore, a confectionery product that is good in practically every version, provided that it is well leavened and that the dough is made without the use of chemical yeasts which alter its quality and flavour. The result must be soft enough and, obviously, freshness is an undisputed fact when it comes to artisanal productions.
As for the panettone, the same principle of preservatives applies here too: it is absolutely forbidden to use them! The result is a product to be consumed certainly in a short time, but much more genuine and natural.
Even if Easter is still a few months away, starting to get an idea of the dove to buy among the top quality artisanal ones is important so as not to find yourself unprepared. Unfortunately, they are not mass-produced, and if you think about it too late, you might not even be able to find your favorite strain available. So watch out for your trusted brands and online channels that ship them directly to your home, so you'll be the first to make your purchase when the processing and sales of the dove begin.
The best artisan doves that we have described are all also available online and therefore you can monitor production even remotely, perhaps inquiring first about news, promotions or delivery times.
The most popular dessert in the Easter period cannot be missing from your laid tables: why not choose to treat yourself to only the best of the range? Now it's up to you to decide which of these Italian specialties will delight your palate.
Ah, and if you're interested in seeing the review on Olivieri's dove, we'll talk about it in this article.