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Jamaican Traditional Easter Bun and Cheese

Jamaican bun sandwiched with yellow cheese

Easter Bunny. Easter Eggs. Candy. Egg Hunts…Bun and Cheese? For the next entry in my Cheese Around the World blog series, here I’ll be taking a closer look at a how Jamaica uses cheese in its Easter celebrations. Like this post? Read my post on Egyptian Gebna Makleyah.

Believe it or not, one of the most common features of Easter in Jamaica has nothing to do with a bunny, but a traditional snack called Bun and Cheese. A treat for the entire family, these baked goodies are made with different spices, dried fruit, and stout. The “bun” in Bun and Cheese comes packaged as a traditional loaf, and is most commonly eaten sandwich-style, by cutting individual slices and adding slices of cheese in between, hence the “Bun and Cheese.”

Although its origins are widely speculated, it is often believed that Bun and Cheese was derived from English Hot Cross Buns. Not just the star of a classic children’s song, Hot Cross Buns were a traditionally eaten by the English on Good Friday, and are a derivative of ancient buns made by the Greeks and Egyptians at around 1500 BC. However, instead of being impressed with images of horns of oxen to honor the goddess Asarte, they depict a cross; hence hot “cross” buns. 

When the Europeans brought Christianity to Jamaica in the 17th century, Easter slowly became observed by the Jamaican people. Over the years, the people of Jamaica have made Easter their own and developed their own traditions like Bun and Cheese, and expanding the traditionally one-day holiday into a four or five day observance.

Here’s an easy recipe for delicious Bun and Cheese from Sam’s Caribbean:

“In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, spices and sugar. Mix thoroughly and add fruit. Make a well in the center of mixture and add melted butter and beaten egg. Mix again until like coarse bread crumbs. Make another well in center of mixture and add beer or stout. Mix the whole thoroughly and turn into well greased baking pans. Bake for 1¼ hours at 300 ° F. Makes two meatloaf pans. If desired, press a few whole cherries into the top of each bun.”

Hungry for more? Read the next post on German Quark.

Photo Credit: Photo by Weather Anchor Mama

Taylor Pierola

Taylor Pierola is a Berkeley California-based culture intern

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