If you have your heart set on a traditional colomba — dove-shaped cake — for Easter, now is the time to get your order into giustiamo.com, the online source for all things Italian. This year there's one from Luigi Biasetto, a master baker from Padova. (One of his chocolate desserts won the Coppa del Mondo di Pasticceria, the world cup of pastries, in 1997.)
Pasticceria Biasetto's Christmas panettone was exquisite, the best I've ever tasted. Expensive, yes, but it lasts and lasts. And the ingredients are the very best — fresh organic eggs from Padova chickens (which give the cake an astonishing deep yellow color), acacia honey from the Italian Alps, candied orange peel from Sicily and the famous almonds from Noto, also in Sicily.
Other than the shape, the colomba is almost the same recipe as the panettone ($60 for a 26.4-ounce cake).
Like the panettone, it's not just a one-meal dessert. Have it in the afternoon with tea. Toast it for breakfast. It's best eaten slightly warmed when it sends its marvelous fragrance through the house.
If you want to see the cake close up, watch this YouTube video.
While you're ordering a colomba, you might as well add a couple of bottles of new extra virgin olive oil from Italy. They've got some great ones, including a soft floral one from Il Tratturello in Molise from the October 2013 harvest ($42). Use it as a garnish in bean soups, to drizzle over fresh mozzarella. Or, pour it lavishly on top of thick country toast rubbed with a garlic clove to make bruschetta. That's how I'm eating it practically every night. With oil of this quality, you needn't do more. To order, visit gustiamo.com or call (718) 860-2949.