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The Story of Chocolate Easter Eggs

How chocolate eggs became the symbol of Easter & this year's most extravagant sculptures

Easter hasn’t always been about chocolate, chicks, rabbits and eggs but, over the centuries, these symbols have become a pretty good adaptation of some of the traditional customs associated with this Christian festival.



Used in Pagan practices, eggs were seen as the symbol of power, new life and rebirth. They were hand-painted using natural dyes and charcoal and given as gifts to ward off evil spirits. 

Egg's were used to represent the giant rock that was placed in front of the tomb where Jesus's body was laid to rest, and moved by God when he was reborn. 

But it wasn’t all about the eggs, rabbits got a look in too, well, hares to be precise. The Pagans treated hares as symbols of fertility, bringing forth an abundance of new life each Spring.

Skip forward a few thousand years, and chocolate bunnies and eggs are now recognised as a traditional Easter tradition with over 80 million sold across the UK each year, making up to 10% of our annual chocolate spend.  

The first of these chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century by Fry’s and were solid, unlike todays hollow style, made of dark chocolate and unadorned. By 1893 Cadbury’s had a range of 19 different eggs available, each with intricate patterns of chocolate piping, marzipan and filled with sugared almonds.

The most famous decorated Easter eggs though, are those designed by Peter Carl Faberge, commissioned by the Russian Tsar, Alexander III, in 1885 as a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie. Known as the hen egg, it was crafted from gold. An egg within an egg, it had an outside shell of gold and white enamel which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jeweled replica of the Imperial Crown. The Tsar and Tsarina were so impressed that they commissioned the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. A custom continued by Nicholas II, Alexander's son for his wife Tsarina Alexandra.

Faberge set the scene and now, every year chefs, chocolatiers and gourmands set to work to create the most eggscellent egg of the season! 

In 2015 the clever team over at luxury website Very First To, decided to give the humble hare the credit it deserved. They created a life size hare made entirely of chocolate and adorned with diamonds for eyes that retailed at £33,000. Once the whopping 548,000 calories have been consumed the diamonds can be set into a bespoke jewel for the lucky owner. This year the team has created the handcrafted 18 carat white gold Diamond Memories Egg, encrusted by 910 diamonds, which opens like a locket to reveal a space for two pictures inside.

Very First To Diamond Memories Egg

However, in 2016 Choccywoocydoodah’s triptych of faux Fabergé eggs with 100kg of dark chocolate, enough edible gold to put down as a deposit for a sports car and edible unicorns, broke the record of the world’s most expensive Easter egg, coming in at a sickly £25,000. This year is no eggsception, as the masters of chocolate will be transforming their chocolate boudoirs into an Easter chocolate extravaganza featuring the London Hare Family and Brighton Duck family. 

“We’ve decided to keep to traditional themes this year, spring rabbits, ducks, eggs’ obviously, with our own take’ says Christine Taylor, co-founder behind the chocolate emporium Choccywoccydoodah, 'Tis the season of bonking and birth, everything begins with an egg.” 

Hare Family Choccywoccydoodah

(The Choccywoccydoodah London Hare Family)

Hare Family Eggs

(Image: Choccywoccydoodah's Sailor Boy 100k chocolate Egg, in a choclate allotment, Little Sister on a 40k chocolate egg, and Mum and Dad together)

The One That Didnt Make It Choccywoocydoodah

(Image: Choccywoccydoodah, The Unhappy Ending Soft Boiled Egg)

Choccywoccydoodah Ouch

Choccywoccydoodah Prince

(Images Choccywoccydoodah Duck family eggs, Brighton)

In Christine’s words “There is no such thing as too much…”. Each egg is handmade, the chocolate is tempered by hand, poured by hand and made individually. “We employ a team of sweetie wrappers who then finish, label and pack the chocolate, all by hand.” 

For the more modest option, their handmade nest lollies and boxes of six scrumptious praline and caramel eggs are just delicious.

Choccywoccydoodah Eggs

(Image: Choccywoccydoodah's egg boxes)

The Best of the Rest

This year there are some fabulous creations to admire, each intricately designed and beautifully crafted. Here TOAST shares our pick of the best around. 

The Godiva Atelier Egg 2017 

Chef Jean Apostolou and Ilse Wilmots have created a spectacular masterpiece of skill and creativity with this year;s Godiva Atellier Easter Egg. Weighing in at 13kg this year’s design took inspiration from Godiva’s Spring Collection and designed to include individual, delicate, pastel coloured butterflies, of course made from Belgian chocolate. 

Godiva Atelier Egg

13kg, £1,000, Godiva Regent Street, London

The “Easter Nest Egg” by the Bulgari Hotel London

This elegant work of confectionary art, the Easter Nest Egg has been hand crafted with 66% cacao dark chocolate made from Trinitario beans from the Caribbean islands, and is encased in a luxurious red velvet coating. It’s outer layers provide a delicate feather-like dark chocolate golden chocolate ribbons, the egg sits upon a base of solid white chocolate and chocolate chips, resting on an intricate nest of dark chocolate. 

Nest Egg Bulgari Hotel 

£26 and available to enjoy at the Bulgari Hotel or to take away.

Ostrich Egg - Hotel Chocolat 

Half 40% milk chocolate, half 50% milk chocolate extra-large egg, plus milk, dark, white and caramel recipes this incredible egg provides over a kilo of chocolate and 27 chocolates and six golden eggs for you to devour! 

Ostrich Egg Hotel Chocolat

1.1kg, £75, Hotel Chocolat

Oeuf Tagli d'apres Lucio Fontana by Pierre Herme

These colourful, contemporary eggs are made from pure origin Belizean dark chocolate, Cayo District, Xibun Plantation, 64% cocoa and include an assortment of Bonbons Chocolat d’après Lucio Fontana (210g).

Yellow, red, blue, green and chocolate, each egg is a work of art in its own right, showcasing the purity of Pure Origin Belizean Chocolate, singularly unique and demonstarting Pierre Hermé’s interest for the Arts.

Pierre Herme Oeuf Tagli Jaune

 

£136, available from 21 March to 23 April www.pierreherme.com 

Hotel Cafe Royal

Regent Street’s Hotel Café Royal's grand Easter display, created by their talented pastry team is an impressive 1m-high, 75kg, and adorned with edible gold leaf is a visual delight. Only two of these creations have been made - one for display and the other on sale for £600. If you want your own, but no less decadent version, their smaller eggs, made from rich and creamy Valrhona milk chocolate and filled with salted caramel truffles are available from the Café.

Hotel Cafe Royal

Hotel Cafe Royal Easter egg, £45; www.hotelcaferoyal.com

Balloon Egg

Up and away... This wonderfully whimsicle Balloon Easter Egg defies gravity…well nearly. A raspberry white chocolate and Colombian dark chocolate marbled balloon egg with sweet lace edible strings and assorted dark mini eggs will lift you up on Easter Sunday.

Balloon Artisanduchocolat

£25 300g www.artisanduchocolat.com 

Prestat’s hot Cross Bun Easter Egg

This deliciously fruity and fragrant Hot Cross Bun Easter egg is a luxurious alternative to the traditional chocolate egg with its spice enthused milk chocolate. Packaged in its luxurious gift box it’s one of our favourites.

Prestat Hot Cross Bun Egg

£17.99 www.prestat.co.uk


For more inspiration on how to celebrate Easter, take a look at TheEdit where we feature an alternative Easter Menu with Spread London, beautiful Spring florals with Simon Nickell, our How to Plan an Easter Egg Hunt and learn more about the Customs and Traditions of Easter.  

 
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