Thanks to Britain’s buoyant chocolate scene, Easter Day is no longer solely the preserve of young children. There are now some distinctly grown-up Easter treats out there, perfect for gifts for your beloved or as an indulgent treat for yourself.
From the talented chocolatier Mark Demarquette comes his playful Hot Cross Easter Eggs, a box of six dainty, little, subtly hued chocolate eggs, each filled with a soft-textured, thick, flavoured caramel and patterned with a cross, hence the name. Demarquette has a light and delicate touch when it comes to his chocolate flavours, and this trio of combinations is no exception. His subtly sweet Cornish sea salt caramel is paired with a 71.1% dark chocolate, with which it contrasts nicely. The red-coloured egg delivers its strawberry flavour at once and is sweet and fruity, without being cloying. The passion fruit-flavoured caramel – in yellow shell– works a treat, with the acidity of the fruit set off by the milk chocolate sweetness of the casing.
Fans of chocolatier Amelia Rope’s flavoured chocolate bars will be pleased to learn that she has launched her first ever line of Easter eggs. The small caramel-filled chocolate eggs, handsomely wrapped in pale gold and deep gold foil, come in two flavour combinations Pale Lemon and Sea Salt and Dark Sea Salt Caramel. In each, the soft caramel, flavoured with Maldon sea salt, contrasts nicely with the thick, textured chocolate shell, with the dark chocolate and caramel combo having a nutty quality to the flavour while the lemon-flavoured milk chocolate with the salty sweet caramel is texturally indulgent but lifted by the zingy citrus notes.
Caramel, it’s clear, is an ingredient our chocolatiers are still enjoying playing around with. From a pioneer of salted caramel, award-winning chocolatier Paul A Young’s wittily presented Signature Sea Salted Caramel Egg – a gold-hued chocolate egg filled with Young’s famous, richly flavourful sea salted caramel, in a white egg cup with a little spoon – is a classic for good reason. Serving that up as an Easter Sunday breakfast treat would make any caramel lover happy.
Another award-winning chocolatier, Barry Johnson, Principal Chocolatier at Rococo, is also noted for his creative way with caramel. Among Rococo’s Easter treats to look out for, therefore, is the evocatively-named Birds of Paradise Eggs collection. Charmingly presented in a quail’s egg crate, this contains 12 dainty chocolate eggs, filled with three flavours of caramel, all hand-made by Johnson and his team. Johnson has looked for inspiration to fruits, herbs and spices for his caramel flavours, using the intriguing and subtle flavours of the citrus family – kalamansi lime and mandarin, paired with tonka bean – for two of the eggs and tangy passion fruit with rosemary for the third. A truly delectable offering.
Those who prefer their Easter eggs to be chocolate through and through are also well catered for. An appealing and petite Easter treat comes from Yorkshire-based Betty’s°, who this year have brought out a little boxed set of Hand-Painted Ganache Eggs. Elegantly decorated with coloured patterns ranging from bright white dots on dark chocolate to gold-hued brush strokes on milk, the small, glossy eggs are filled simply with a soft, rich chocolate ganache, which melts nicely on the tongue. At the other end of the scale, in terms of size and grandeur, is Betty’s impressive Chocolatier’s Egg 2015 (pictured right), a striking 1.5kg creation which will appeal to lovers of both dark and plain chocolate. The outer egg shell is made from dark chocolate, made from Criollo cocoa, with its characteristic fruity notes, adorned with hand-piped royal icing rose. Holes hand-cut in the shell reveal a second, gold-coloured, hand-decorated egg inside, this one made from Trinitario milk chocolate, with notes of caramel and honey.
The Chocolate Society has a range of chocolate-centric eggs on offer. New this year are their stylish-looking Grooved Eggs, which as their name suggest have grooves carved out of the shell. Made from Valrhona chocolate, and each accompanied by 6 truffles, they come in Milk, Dark and Blonde – the latter made from Valrhona’s creamy-flavoured Dulcey and exclusive to Selfridges.
New this year from Paul A. Young are his Easter Eggs, available in either dark chocolate - a rich, full-flavoured 70% cocoa - or milk chocolate – 35% cocoa with an appealing delicate milky sweetness. Each egg is filled with miniature solid dark, milk and white chocolate eggs, so offering a chocolate egg-stravaganza within one egg. With their striking decoration – daubed in splashes of pink, green and gold – these contemporary Easter eggs look as good as they taste.
Famed for both his exquisite patisserie and chocolates, chocolatier William Curley is noted for his sophisticated creations, with his discreetly handsome Easter eggs no exception. For those who enjoy the pairing of citrus with chocolate, the Dark Chocolate Orangette Easter Egg is an irresistible prospect – a beautifully incised dark chocolate shell, made from high quality Amedei couverture chocolate, filled with orangette, strips of confit orange peel enrobed in Toscano chocolate – a truly elegant creation.
Rococo, as befits their history as pioneers of quality chocolate in the UK, also offer chocolate-focussed Easter treats, notably the Single Origin Easter Egg (left). Elegantly presented in a box and wrapping paper featuring Rococo’s trademark blue–and-white chocolate mould design, the contents are as sophisticated as the packaging. The scent of chocolate as one unwraps it, hints at good things to come. The large, dark chocolate egg, with the sheen of well-tempered chocolate is wrapped in vibrant orange-coloured foil – a visual clue as to the flavour of the chocolate. Sure enough, on tasting it, the chocolate shell dances on the tongue with the lively, fruity acidity of Madagascar’s fine criollo cocoa from which it is made, complete with the cocoa’s hallmark long finish. Inside, allowing deliciously for further chocolate ‘education’, are 20 little dark chocolate carré made from four single origin cocoas from Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Grenada. An Easter egg to delight any true chocolate lover.