Starter Bakery's Colomba di Pasqua

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Celebrate Easter this year with the dove-shaped Italian Easter bread known as Colomba di Pasqua, courtesy of Oakland-based Starter Bakery. The cake-like bread is a close cousin to the better-known Italian holiday loaf pannetone, which is typically served during Christmas.

According to Starter Bakery owner Wood, the Colomba is “hands-down [his] favorite bread to eat and to make.”

The downside: If you’re a clumsy cake cutter (as I am), the dove shape might lead to a bit of confusion as to how best to “carve” up this bird. The upside: This holiday bread is delicious — richer and more moist than any pannetone I’ve ever had, with vibrant citrus and almond flavors and, best of all, a nutty, crackly hazelnut glaze.

The Colomba di Pasqua ($25) will be available in the East Bay at the bakery’s three farmers’ market booths — the Saturday Grand Lake Farmers’ Market and the Sunday markets in Temescal and Montclair — both this weekend and next. Pre-ordering (via email to orders@starterbakery.com before noon on March 25) is recommended.

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