Last year’s popular addition, colomba, has been reintroduced for Easter, alongside a hot cross bun panettone. 

Waitrose was the first UK supermarket to sell colomba, a dove-shaped sweet Italian yeast bread, which is traditionally eaten at Easter.

Its original name is colomba di pasqua, which means Easter dove, signifying peace and is eaten all over Italy – it is usually made on Good Friday to be devoured during Easter week.

The supermarket said it has witnessed an increasing demand for Italian-flavoured breads in the last two years, with panettone in particular growing in popularity.  Several size variants were launched last year alongside a Prosecco-flavoured one last Christmas – it proved such a big hit that Waitrose had to double its orders.

Jane Goodson, bakery buyer at Waitrose, said: “We’re really excited about the return of colomba bread as we know our customers love sweet breads.

“Colomba is a delicious seasonal delicacy which can be eaten on its own or served with fresh berries and cream or drizzled with chocolate for a more indulgent finish to an Easter meal.”

Baked in a similar way to panettone, colomba is made using only natural ingredients, including rich butter and eggs as well as colourful, fragrant candied fruits. It is then glazed with pearl sugar and topped with almonds before baking to give a crunchy sweet topping, known as nocciolata.

The Arden & Amici Colomba with Nocciolata Top is available in Waitrose branches nationwide from 27 March for £9.  The Waitrose Hot Cross Bun Panettone is £9 for 750g.