Oh the glory of Easter, a feast for the tastebuds centered on one thing alone: chocolate! This weekend is hotly anticipated by our stomachs, which prepare to engage in potentially limitless chocolate debauchery, swiftly followed by nauseating indigestion during which we promise to never eat chocolate again… until it all starts over the following year.
But why Easter eggs?
Eggs have been associated with Easter for centuries in the Christian tradition, as a symbol of fertility, life and rebirth in the same way as the rabbit. Back in the day, it was forbidden to eat eggs during Lent. Eggs laid by hens were set aside until Easter, when they were blessed, painted and given to children.
In 2016, Easter is a different affair altogether. Chocolate hens, roosters, rabbits and other shapes fill the windows of bakeries and other confectioneries. Egg hunts are organized in some of the most beautiful mansions in Paris. It’s also a time to check out the most beautiful pieces by always more daring pastry chefs.
Here are Fancy Oli’s picks of the most unique and delicious confections:
This year, the esteemed Lenôtre returns to the Far West. executive chef Guy Krenzer breathes new life into the golden age of the western, creating a chocolate landscape of key figures from the Great Plains, its golden mines and teepees. Will it be Billy the Egg or Littlefeather for you? It’s all a question of taste.
Billy the Egg or Littlefeather, milk chocolate and marzipan served on a milk chocolate tablet, 250 g, €45
Tipi Gourmand, nougatine and marzipan with milk chocolate accents, chocolate raisin golden nuggets, garnished with hazelnut and almond praline eggs, 260g, €49.
Westin Paris Vendôme
In a nod to France’s Year of Mexico 2016, pastry chef Ken Thomas of luxury hotel Westin Paris Vendôme unveils a an Aztec temple, a reference to the ancient people of present day Mexico and their deference to the “drink of the gods. It’s in the heart of Feathered Serpent country that Thomas found inspiration for his Quetzalcoatl egg, who shares its name with the Mesoamerican god of wind and learning. Atop the temple sits a smooth, velvety dark chocolate egg reminiscent of Inca relics.
Quetzalcoatl Egg, 66% Forastero dark chocolate, Mexican origin, €79
La Maison du Chocolat
Nicolas Cloiseau, who has been named France’s best chocolatier, has created a Daisy Family (Famille Pâquerette) in a floral decor for La Maison du Chocolat. It’s reminiscent of the flowers of childhood and bucolic walks through the fields, but also egg hunts. Choose your favorite character from this 100% chocolate family — grandmother, grandfather, daughter, son, sister, brother or even an unopened egg.
Daisy Family (Famille Pâquerette), characters in dark or milk chocolate, ivory chocolate flowers, Easter decorations, 630 g, from €35 to €125
Pastry chef Julien Alvarez from the ornate Peninsula hotel unveils a new sculptural piece inspired by colorful Chinese opera. It’s a nod to the establishment’s gourmet Cantonese restaurant. The Asian-inspired chocolate egg features an almond biscuit with dried fruit, hazelnut praline with puffed rice and sesame nougatine that are a wonderful complement to the chocolate.
Peninsula Egg, Julien Alvarez, available March 26-April 10 at Le Lobby restaurant, €95
This year, Pierre Marcolini leads us on a journey to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” He focuses on five key characters: the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Queen and Humpty Dumpty. Very modern in appearance and decorated with hearts, clovers, spades and diamonds, they celebrate madly on a carpet of roses. It’s a fun and delicious story for all ages.
Sold individually for €13-68 per piece.
Clowns and circus animals abound in Arnaud Larher’s Circus Artists (Les artistes du cirque) collection, with amusing, mischievous chocolatey figurines. The black, milk and white chocolate creation is as fun as it is delightful.
Armand the Elephant, 70% dark chocolate, 140g, €25. Circus Stage, 3.2 kg, €580
For its retro Skate Easter (Skate Pâques), Dalloyau’s chocolate chefs are having a little throwback to the 1990s. Take a bit out of the Skate crew for a little street spirit trip. With their baseball caps worn sideways and overalls, they slip and slide for a foodie show.
How’s it going, chick? (Roule ma poule) features two chickens, one half in 72% pure Madagascar origin dark chocolate covered with gold and silver powder, the other half with puffed roasted rise, caramelized hazelnuts and homemande gianduja. The skateboards are 72% pure Madgascar origin dark chocolate. €59
The Skate Eggs (Les Skat’oeufs), available in 72% pure Madagascar origin dark chocolate or 43% pure Madagascar origin milk chocolate with sugar paste and chocolate overalls. Always more indulgence! €39
And if you’re still undecided with all these choices, there’s always a certain, classic fallback that’s both timeless and supremely devoid of risk: the Kinder egg (Frozen Edition)