The Ultimate Guide to Hosting an Unforgettable Easter Brunch

Traditional Easter brunch

Easter is a time of renewal, rebirth, and celebration. Gathering with loved ones for a special Easter brunch is a cherished tradition, and adding unique bakery delights can truly elevate the experience. From the décor to the menu, every detail contributes to creating lasting memories.

Here’s your ultimate guide to hosting an Easter brunch that will enchant your guests and tantalize their taste buds!

Planning Your Easter Brunch

Creating the perfect atmosphere is essential for any Easter celebration. Consider decorating your surroundings with fresh spring flowers and pastel-colored ornaments to achieve this. When sending out invitations, get creative and choose between digital e-vites with Easter motifs or handmade paper invitations that reflect the joy and warmth of the occasion.

Crafting the Perfect Brunch Menu

Starters and Appetizers

Start your meal with light appetizers like fresh fruit salads or mini quiches. Serve them with crunchy, almond-rich biscotti for added sophistication and a satisfying crunch. 

Main Dishes

For main dishes, think outside the traditional brunch box. Elevate your Easter brunch with a sweet potica breakfast strata, blending traditional potica with creamy custard and fresh berries. This make-ahead dish combines the nutty sweetness of potica with the richness of custard, finished with a golden-brown crust. For a festive and indulgent centerpiece, serve it warm, dusted with powdered sugar!

Side Dishes

Side dishes should complement your mains; consider a vibrant wild rice salad brimming with spring vegetables to add color and texture to your spread.


Desserts are a great way to impress your guests. Consider offering a variety of sweet pastries alongside a fruit cake that has the perfect balance of sweetness and a hint of liquor. You could even set up a DIY dessert bar, where guests can add their own toppings, such as sauces and sprinkles, giving them a personalized experience.


No brunch is complete without a selection of beverages. Create Easter-themed cocktails and mocktails, along with a coffee and tea station. Biscotti makes the perfect companion to a well-brewed cup of coffee or a soothing tea, offering a delightful end to the meal.

Adding Personal Touches

Personalize your brunch with DIY Easter egg decorating stations and personalized place settings. These thoughtful details not only add to the festive atmosphere but also make each guest feel special.

Entertainment and Activities

Set the mood for your Easter gathering with spring-inspired tunes and interactive games. Arrange your space to accommodate both dining and activities for a lively and inclusive environment.

As you plan your unforgettable Easter brunch, consider the unique and authentic offerings from the Italian Bakery of Virginia in Minnesota. With our commitment to quality and authenticity, our world-famous potica, biscotti, fruit cake, and other delectable pastries can bring a touch of tradition and exceptional taste to your Easter celebration.

All our goods can be shipped directly to your door for your convenience! Please fill out our contact form online or call (218)741-7218 with any questions regarding the ordering process.

How Italian Culture Approaches Baking

Freshly baked dough and ingredients layed out on table

Nestled amidst cobblestone streets, rolling vineyards, and art-rich cities, Italy’s baking tradition stands as a testament to its rich heritage. For Italians, food brings families together and plays a central role in their daily lives. In towns and cities, Italian kitchens are bustling with activity as grandparents meticulously share their cherished recipes with the younger generation. These recipes are not just mere mixtures, but they hold within them memories, cultural values, and the warmth of family gatherings.

Tradition and Family

Throughout the entire country, the family is highly valued. Recipes are not only preserved, but they are also celebrated, improved, and modified with each new generation. Every delicacy, whether a basic cookie or a complex cake, represents a personal connection to the past, signifying love, nurturing, and solidarity.

Regional Varieties

Italy’s diverse landscape influences its culinary palate, from the snowy peaks of the Alps to the sun-kissed shores of Sicily. Each region’s unique culture, ingredients, and historical influences contribute to the rich tapestry of Italian baked goods.

Key Ingredients

When it comes to Italian baking, three key ingredients stand out: olive oil, almonds, and citrus fruits. These ingredients are prized for their purity, freshness, and quality, which all contribute to the authentic and delicious flavors of Italian cuisine. Thanks to the emphasis on quality ingredients, every bite of Italian baked goods will surely delight your taste buds!

Signature Italian Bakes

Italian baking is a symphony of flavors and techniques, celebrated worldwide for standout stars like potica. This rolled bread, showcasing intricate swirls and layers filled with nuts, honey, and spices, embodies the harmony of Eastern European influences.

Then there’s the iconic biscotti, an elongated ‘twice-baked’ cookie, coming in flavors from almond to chocolate, perfectly complementing a cup of espresso.

Lastly, the festive fruitcake, or “panettone,” is a Christmas staple, with its light, airy texture and rich mix of candied fruits and raisins, symbolizing Italian celebrations and family gatherings.

Experience Authentic Italian Baking

For those seeking a true taste of Italy’s baking heritage, Italian Bakery of Virginia in Minnesota is dedicated to crafting the most delectable Italian baked goods, blending tradition with innovation. We specialize in potica, taking no shortcuts in our baking process to ensure an authentic taste while offering several other Italian baked goods and wild rice.

Order online or stop by in-store to try our handcrafted Italian desserts today!

Unique Ideas For Your Next Brunch

A group of friends enjoying a brunch buffet

Who doesn’t love a good brunch? Hosting a brunch is a great way to celebrate an event or spend time with those important to us. One of the most important aspects of brunch is the menu- after all, it is the star of the show!

It can be stressful to think of what to serve, especially if you’re trying to avoid repeating the well-known brunch dishes. We’re here to help with some unique and utterly delicious brunch ideas! Whether your next brunch is for one person or one hundred people (we can’t say we recommend that!), these ideas are sure to be a hit.

Have Sweet and Savory Options

Having sweet and savory options makes for a diverse plate and ensures everyone is happy. However, not everyone wants pancakes or parfaits! For sweet options, we always recommend our potica and fruit cake. Not only are they fantastic on their own, but they’re great topped with butter or whipped cream- or even transformed into our fruit cake French toast!

For savory options, we recommend leaning more into the ‘lunch’ aspect of brunch. Rather than overloading on potatoes, try using wild rice as a side! The nutty and earthy flavors make it a perfect base for many recipes like mushroom risotto or breakfast fried rice!

Have a Coffee Bar

Rather than getting up to pour everyone coffee, make a designated coffee area. After you set up any coffee or espresso machines, set out any mugs, milk, syrups, sugar, and anything that you know your guests will love. To take it a step further, include biscotti! The crunchy treat goes hand-in-hand with coffee and espresso alike. Plus- who doesn’t love a treat with their drink?

Make Gift Bags

A great way to ensure a memorable brunch is to make small goodie bags that people can grab on their way out. Especially if you order from a historical and unique bakery; after all, everyone deserves to experience all that the Italian Bakery of Virginia has to offer more than once! Everyone is sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness and thoroughly enjoy each delight.

If you’re now excitedly planning your next brunch, you’re in luck. At the Italian Bakery of Virginia, we ship all of our goods to you! To place your order for any of our handmade products, visit us online or call us at 218-741-7218!

All About Potica!

Two slices of fresh potica on a clear plate

Potica (Pronounced: poh-teet-sah) is a sweet, nutty bread with a unique, meticulous way of being prepared.

Potica used to be reserved for special occasions due to its intensive recipe. However, at the Italian Bakery of Virginia, we have been perfecting our craft with our authentic traditional recipe since 1965.

Unfortunately, many people do not know of this wonderful treat, or have yet to try it! For the curious who want to know more, below are the two most common questions, besides “where can I buy some?”!

How Is It Made?

Due to the fact that potica has to be hand-rolled, pulled and stretched, using a rolling machine is not an option. After rolling, the dough covers a large kitchen table, where it is ready for the special mix of fillings- and at the Italian Bakery of Virginia, ours contains no preservatives.

It is then shaped and baked!

What Does It Taste Like?

Potica is a wonderfully nutty bread! The filling is made with ground walnuts (we also have a walnut-raisin variety!), butter, brown sugar, vanilla and all natural spices.  This sweet and nutty filling combined with the soft dough is sure to please everyone!

Here at the Italian Bakery of Virginia, our recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, and you can truly taste the love and care put into each loaf!

There are several ways to enjoy potica; buttered, topped with ice cream, straight out of the oven…the list goes on!

We truly believe that every person should experience the warm, comforting delight of authentic potica at least once in their life! And at the Italian Bakery of Virginia, we ship all of our goods to you! To order your very own potica, or to view our other products, visit us online or call us at 218-741-7218!

Ways to Enjoy Leftover Fruit Cake

Fruitcake on a wooden plate.

Often, fruit cake is thought of as a winter only treat! While it may be known for that due to popular culture, it is a treat that can be enjoyed all year long. It also can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways! Below are three recipes that can be made with your leftover fruit cake!

Fruit Cake Bread Pudding

Cube up your fruit cake and place it in a casserole dish. In a separate bowl, whisk together: two eggs, a good splash of milk, a punch of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Pour that mixture over your fruit cake and bake in a 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown)!

This is best served warm, and for some added decadence, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream!

Fruit Cake French Toast

Need something fun for your next brunch? Look no further! Slice your fruit cake and allow it to dry out a bit for a few hours. Then, combine beaten eggs and milk with some cinnamon in a shallow dish.  Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat, and dip each slice (both sides!) of your fruit cake in the mixture, and place into your pan. Cook until golden brown and serve with your favorite French toast toppings!

Fruit Cake Pops

Cake pops are a perfect sweet treat, without the mess of a slice of cake! Crumble your fruit cake into a bowl, and mix an equal part of vanilla frosting in. For some extra flavor, you can add some cinnamon, or nutmeg! When well combined, scoop 1-inch balls with a spoon or ice cream scoop and roll until they are smooth. Put a cake pop stick (you can also use lollipop sticks, or skewers, but just be careful and or remove the skewers after). Melt chocolate wafers, we recommend vanilla, and dip your cake balls in. Place your cake pops to the side, and once the chocolate has set, enjoy!

Tip: we recommend poking holes in an old egg carton to hold your cake pops upright while the chocolate sets.

Whichever option you go with, it’s a great way to utilize any leftover fruit cake! Whichever recipe you try, a high-quality fruit cake is key. At the Italian Bakery of Virginia, we ship all of our goods to you! To order and view our products, visit us online or call us at 218-741-7218!

3 Recipes Using Wild Rice

Wild Rice in a Wooden Bowl

Wild rice is a beautiful grain. It has a more nutty, earthy flavor than regular white rice and is longer. While it works great as a simple side dish, it can also be the star of the show! Below are three recipes to get you started with wild rice!

Wild Rice Salad

This is a beautifully simple dish, and it can even be served cold! Cook your rice as normal, and then dress it with olive oil, lemon, and chopped basil. That’s it! Serve it with some chicken and parmesan cheese for a delicious meal!

Wild Rice Soup

This is a very forgiving recipe- meaning you can make it with whatever suits you or whatever you have on hand! Bonus: It only uses one pot, making it the perfect quick meal. In your pot, cook ground pork, onion, and garlic. Then add in uncooked wild rice, water, broth, seasoning, and tomato paste. Stir, cover, and cook for a few hours. At the end, add in spinach!

This can also be done in a slow cooker!

Wild Rice Pilaf

This is another one that can be made with just about everything! Cook your rice per usual, then in another skillet, melt butter. Then begin cooking any veggies you have or would like; some top choices are: onion, carrot, garlic, and brussels sprouts. Once vegetables and rice are done, mix! Season per taste, and you have delicious pilaf!

No matter what you choose, it will be delicious! Picking a high-quality wild rice blend is key in having these recipes, or any you choose, turn out well! At the Italian Bakery of Virginia, we ship all of our goods, including wild rice, to you! To order and view our products, visit us online or call us at 218-741-7218!

The Italian History of Biscotti

Who doesn’t love a crisp, crunchy biscotti? Commonly enjoyed with coffee or another hot beverage by those all over the world, biscotti is widely available in a variety of tasty flavors. Here at Italian Bakery of Virginia, we like to stick to the classics. Using old family recipes and only the finest ingredients, our experienced bakers handmake each batch of biscotti to perfection.

But where did the idea of biscotti come from? A tasty treat that’s signature dry, crunchy texture comes from a twice-baked cooking process—who was the first to attempt this and why?

The history of biscotti and the Roman Legions

Italian Biscotti

Much like the origins of fruitcake, biscotti was first created to be a long-shelf-life food for Roman Legions to carry during lengthy battles. Because biscotti was intentionally rock-hard in texture, there was no risk of it becoming stale or inedible, and the original almond flavoring gave much needed nutrients to the soldiers. While almond is still a popular flavor option for today’s variation, we think it’s safe to say biscotti has come a long way since the Roman age. Over time, the rock-hard treat has evolved into less of a means to an end and more to an after-dinner indulgence.

Biscotti After the Fall of Roman Empire

After the fall of Rome and the country’s repeated invasions, Italians endured what is commonly referred to as “the Dark Ages,” throughout which they did their best to simply survive. As such, there wasn’t much culinary growth until the Italian Renaissance. It was then that Tuscan bakers took the age-old biscotti and transformed it into something that could be enjoyed rather than tolerated. This was much like the biscotti we enjoy today, though Tuscans preferred to dunk their biscotti in a local sweet wine known as Vin Santo rather than a cup of cappuccino.

Biscotti vs. Cantucci di Prato

What’s the difference between biscotti and cantucci? Ultimately, nothing but a name. As the birthplace of biscotti (as we have come to know and enjoy it), Tuscany and the small city of Prato within it (where almond groves are abundant—hence the traditional almond flavor) refer to this twice-baked cookie as cantucci. To Italians, the word biscotti is just a generic term for any type of crunchy cookie. At the end of the day however, if a Prato native strolled into the Italian Bakery of Virginia, they would point to our display of biscotti and ask for a cantucci. No difference.

No matter what you call it, what your flavor preference may be, or whether you enjoy it with a cup of coffee or a glass of Vin Santo, one thing is for certain. Biscotti is a delicious treat that has withstood the test of time. Stop into the Italian Bakery of Virginia and pick up one in every flavor today!

Fruit Cake: Where Did it Come from and Why is it a Holiday Tradition?

There’s no doubt about it—fruit cake is a staple of the holiday season. While it has spent centuries being the butt of countless jokes and often gets a bad rap, we here at Italian Bakery of Virginia still love it – and so do millions of people around the world. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall on, chances are you’re likely to find fruit cake adorning the dessert table of at least one holiday party this year.

So, what’s the history behind this love-it-or-hate it dessert and how did it become a holiday staple? Let’s take a closer look.

The origins of fruit cake

Christmas Fruit Cake

Let’s start from the beginning. Fruit cake dates all the way back to ancient Rome, when mashed barley, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and pine nuts were combined to make a dessert called satura. Valued for its long shelf life, Roman soldiers often brought the treat with them to battle. Later in the Middle Ages, spices, honey, and dried fruit were added, aiding in its growing popularity amongst crusaders. Over time, ingredients from European colonies were added, including sugar, candied fruit from the Middle East, various spices, and liquor, giving us a version of the treat that is most similar to the fruit cake we see today.

A brief ban

Because of the introduction of candied fruit, and of course, the abundant use of sugar for preservation, fruit cake became such a “sinfully rich” treat that it was briefly banned in Europe in the early 1700s. Fortunately, the ban was later lifted and fruit cake became a popular treat during celebrations throughout Europe and a must-have addition to a proper Victorian tea spread.

Synonymous with the holiday season

It is believed that one of the main reasons why fruit cake became associated with the holidays was that during the 18th and 19th century the cost of the ingredients was too expensive for most households to afford. Considered an indulgence, fruit cake was thus reserved for special occasions and holidays. As time went on, others began to credit Truman Capote’s 1956 short story, “A Christmas Memory,” which became most interesting when the older woman in the narrative looked out her window and exclaimed that it was “fruit cake weather.”

Ordering Fruit Cake from Italian Bakery of Virginia

Regardless of whether fruit cake is a must-have addition to your own annual holiday spread or you’re simply curious about this seasonal commodity, Italian Bakery of Virginia ships fruit cake all over the world. Our delicious Italian fruit cake blends candied fruits, crunchy nuts, and a hint of liquor to create a homemade holiday treat the whole family will enjoy. Order online today to have one delivered straight to your home!

Fall is Upon Us: Celebrate with Italian Bakery of Virginia

Italian Bakery of Virginia Apple NestsThe leaves are starting to change and the temperatures are starting to drop which can only mean one thing: fall is upon us. Fall is one of the best seasons to enjoy homemade baked goods and Italian Bakery does not disappoint.

The Italian Bakery offers a variety of seasonal specialties through the autumn months all of which offer the familiar tastes of fall.

Here are a few of our favorites!

Pumpkin Doughnuts

A twist on the original sugared doughnut, this sweet snack goes well with a cup of coffee, or even better, with a group of friends. Bring a batch of them to your next fall picnic or seasonal party today!

Pumpkin Cake and Carrot Cake

These are two of our all-time favorite cakes: a pumpkin cake and carrot cake, finished with cream cheese. The cream cheese frosting gives the cake a sweet, delectable taste, that anyone can enjoy on these seasonal favorites.

Apple Nests

And what would fall be without the sweet taste of fresh, seasonal apples? Our apple nests are pastries that are layered with an irresistible cinnamon and apple swirl, perfect for any occasion.

Apple Strudel

Our apple strudel has a flaky dough that covers sugared apple slices in a combination that has been delighting customers for generations. At the Italian Bakery, we offer a “take and bake” version of this timeless classic, which allows you to take the strudel home frozen and bake it at your own convenience, filling your home with sweet scents of fall. It’s perfect for a last-minute dessert idea if you’re unexpectedly invited somewhere. Please keep in mind that these must be ordered in advance if you’re hoping to have an apple strudel on hand.

All Italian Bakery’s pastries are made by scratch with the freshest ingredients. Today, our customers keep coming back for a taste of our world-famous potica, our Italian fruit cake, our crisp, crunchy biscotti, and a variety of other delectable pastries including our fall favorites.

History of Potica Bread

History of Potica BreadPotica is a traditional Slovenian cake, typically served on special occasions and holidays.

Potica has been pleasing people and taste buds for centuries, serving as a main dessert dish in many celebrations.

The dough for potica takes quite some time to prepare but after it has risen, it is typically filled with either sweet or savory fillings. Common fillings include walnut, tarragon, honey and even bacon. It is created by flattening the dough, adding the ingredients, and then wrapping the dough and shaping it into a loaf. The process gives potica delicious layers that resemble a marbled cake.

Here at Italian Bakery of Virginia, our traditional potica bread is the heart of our bakery. Back in 1965, we received a traditional Slovenian family recipe for potica, and it has since become one of our most requested and best-selling cakes. We’ve added in some spices over the years to create a truly unique blended delicacy that our customers keep coming back for.

We begin the process of making potica with all-natural and fresh ingredients. Baking potica each day is a time-consuming project, as it requires the careful hands of a proficient baker. The dough is carefully hand-rolled, pulled and stretched to create a traditional potica consistency. We then add in crunchy walnuts, creamy butter, brown sugar, vanilla and a variety of other spices. The potica is then baked and sliced for serving.

Our most popular flavors are walnut and walnut-raisin. Both of these flavors honor the classic recipe of this bread, with a touch of sweetness. When potica first originated in Slovenia, the ingredients often told the story of the family baking it. Only wealthy families could afford expensive fillings such as nuts and cream and poorer families could typically only afford to include herbs from their garden.

To honor your Slovenian heritage, or to start a new tradition in your family, celebrate life’s milestones, holidays, and good fortune with fresh potica.

At the Italian Bakery of Virginia, we’ve ensured that the time-honored art of making potica has not been lost. Visit our website here.