We are currently in the Easter Season, and as Good Friday and Easter Sunday are coming up this weekend, it is a time for many of us to get together with family and friends, celebrate Easter and enjoy good food and baking.

For many Winnipeggers, the word baking immediately brings up the thought of Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company and their delicious cinnamon buns. Known for their homemade, locally sourced ingredients, Tall Grass over the more than 30 years it has been around,  has become a Winnipeg icon; every bit as much a part of Winnipeg as The BDI, Confusion Corner, Portage and Main, and the Mint.

For Co-owner of Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company Tabitha Langel, the thought of celebrating Easter this year is of particular significance as we have emerged from the pandemic. As Langel states, “I feel like the overriding energy is one of joyous togetherness. It’s just so special to be able to get together...to feast…and I think this will be the best Easter in a long time for all of us.”

The arrival of spring is also very important for Langel. “I think spring is in many ways, the most exciting time of the whole year for all of us. It’s a celebration of rebirth, the greening power of the universe. It’s a time when we sit-up, take note…the light returns…it’s incredibly precious after the long winter.”

Langel points out that all major world religions have a celebration of spring. Christians have Easter, Muslims have Ramadan, Jewish people have Passover etc. as Langel explains, “All of these festivals are based on the Earth year…the equinox…the Earth is changing and shifting.  Easter means to me a tremendous, exciting opening up, and celebration of the Earth.”

Baking for Easter at Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company means the end of Lent and nourishment of the body. One of the things that emerged from the Lenten season was the making of very rich and tasty breads for the Easter season. As Langel explains, “People have now been vegan for forty days. They are pretty starved, because they are working hard…every Easter bread will contain amazing amounts of butter, and eggs.”

Tall Grass makes three main kinds of bread to celebrate Easter.

The first of which is the Paska bread which comes from Ukraine. Traditionally the goal was to make the bread as tall as possible. “They used to make it in stove pipes. Some women would stay up all night, to ensure it was as long as the stove pipe,” states Langel. This bread very often is served with a delicious spread. Made with whipped cream, butter, cottage cheese, sugar, oranges and lemons, the Paska spread is unbelievably decadent. “I think this spread is mind altering,” jokes Langel.

The second kind of bread is the Christopsomo bread, which comes from the Greek orthodox tradition. The bread typically comes with an orthodox cross on top, but because of the intricacies of the cross, the bakery has adapted the cross, so that the top almost looks like a butterfly. “Customers keep saying ‘oh we’re so glad the butterfly is on the top.’ I kind of smile and say the butterfly is a great example of the resurrection,” says Langel.

Tall Grass also has Easter Saffron bread which comes from the east. In the Middle Ages saffron was worth more than gold Saffron. The bakery makes very high-quality saffron bread that is beautifully braided.

One of the baked goods that is synonymous with Easter is the Hot Cross Bun. Tall Grass has been baking hot cross buns since the beginning of lent. Interestingly this baked good goes back to the Romans. “The Romans made these round fruit and raisin filled buns to lure the spring sun back,” states Tabitha. “When Christianity came in, the monks insisted on baking these buns in the early monasteries and they just put a cross on them.”

tabitha in studio

All of these wonderful items are available at Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company, and so much more. Langel suggests phoning ahead if there is anything specific that you want to buy, in order to ensure that you get the wonderful baked goods for your Easter Table. Tall Grass also delivers if you cannot get to the bakery. More details about ordering beforehand and deliveries can be found on the Tall Grass Prairie Bakery website.

Rebirth, togetherness, and baking from Tall Grass Bakery, a perfect way to celebrate the Easter season here in Winnipeg!