“Why do we eat chocolate eggs at Easter?” And like many a question from a six year old, the answer is not as simple as you might think! We were at the supermarket browsing the rows of delicious looking chocolate eggs, deciding which ones we would buy for family and friends, when my curious son popped that particular question.
And do you know what? I realised I didn’t really know the answer. Outsmarted by the six-year-old (again)! And what’s more, I hadn’t realised that I could learn to make chocolate eggs myself…making this treat even more fun (and a tasty reward for my efforts too!)
A quick check on Google and we discovered that our modern way of celebrating Easter is very different to times gone by, when there wasn’t a chocolate egg or Easter bunny in sight.
Origins of the chocolate Easter egg...
Traditionally Christians would prepare for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s life (rising from the dead?) by fasting and abstaining from certain foods, including eggs. Families would often keep all the eggs laid in the week leading up to Easter, then decorate them and give them to children as gifts. These eggs were known as Holy Week eggs.
The Victorians continued the tradition, but the custom became more extravagant with cardboard eggs covered in satin and filled with gifts.
The first chocolate Easter eggs appeared in Europe in the 1800’s and have slowly evolved from being bitter and hard egg-shaped treats to the hollow luxurious chocolate eggs we see today.
But how are they made?
The six-year-old is convinced the eggs are laid by the Easter Bunny but I hear there is a slightly different method, yet no less magical!
The chocolate is perfectly tempered so that it has a glorious sheen and then poured into two moulds (each representing one half of the egg) to cover the surface, left to set and then the process is repeated to layer the chocolate and get the ideal thickness. Some eggs are created in this way by hand but most are made by large, precise machines. Now for the magic part… once both halves of the eggshell have set more melted chocolate is used to coat the rim of each half, which are then pressed together to create that special, hollow confectionary!
Have you ever thought about making them yourself?
Easter egg making is not just for large factories though, you can learn to make them yourself. Just imagine the smell of warm, melting chocolate wafting through the house (I am sure this is almost as good at eating it!)… well luckily I found a few people who can share the trade secrets to making an eggstra special Easter gift!
A quick search and I found that CraftCourses not only have chocolate-making workshops all across the UK but ones specifically designed to teach you how to make chocolate eggs too:
Yolanda Houston will be running a workshop in Kent on Saturday 6th April where you will be able to make Belgian Chocolate Easter eggs and novelties using moulds and transfer sheets.
Louise Wright from The Chocolate Shed in Warwickshire is running an Easter Egg Making Workshop on 14th April where participants will enjoy getting their fingers sticky creating, decorating and filling a chocolate Easter egg of their design.