FROM EGGS TO CHOCOLATE or FROM CHOCOLATE TO EGGS?
Updated: Jul 4, 2019
It all started with the egg, a symbol of fecundity and prosperity.
5,000 years ago, the Persians exchanged eggs at the beginning of spring to celebrate a new start.
Later in Europe, Easter was represented by the egg as it marked the end of the forty-day-long fasting period during which the chickens did not stop laying, but the many obedient believers stopped eating. Needless to say, there were a lot of eggs to give away after the whole five and a half weeks of fasting.
By the 15th century, the tradition was not only to exchange eggs as gifts, but also to paint the eggs to make them look more special and festive. (Those eggs would not go to waste though like they do now!)
So far, it all makes sense as it follows a logical progression.
At the end of my video on “Chocolate Torte”, I give you a few tidbits on the arrival of chocolate to Europe. As you know, chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, a Meso-American plant, and, when the first explorers discovered Central America, they brought back the cocoa bean to Europe.
However, the techniques to turn cocoa into paste had yet to be developed, which did not happen until the 19th century.
At the same time, new pans were moulded out of copper and iron, allowing to give food, including the new chocolate paste, some fun shapes.
As you can imagine, the egg shape was not as complex to achieve as the rabbit shape, which came later.
I would say that the chocolate egg is more popular in Europe whereas the bunny, the prolific little creature, is America’s first choice for Easter.
It is very traditional to have family over on Easter day for an Easter lunch in France. The guests usually bring the host and the hostess a fine chocolate egg wrapped with a beautiful sash that comes from the exclusive, local, master chocolatier. Those artisanally crafted sculptures do not travel well, and they are quite pricey, but delicious!!!
When shipping chocolate to friends and family for Easter in France, chocolate bars are quite appropriate. The packaging can be very creative and beautiful, following the 15th century tradition of giving the offering a special character.
Please take a look at the picture. Those are just a few examples of creative designs. And remember, good chocolate always make a fine gift ;)