So, this Easter, I was going to write more (as promised) about the origins of chocolate and in particular, chocolate Easter eggs.
Because I’m a bit of an Easter time junkie, I was slightly carried away with talking about all other things Easter – hot cross buns, egg painting, Greek Lamb (nom!) and I ran out of time.
Now Easter has come and gone, and I’m all like the White Rabbit, “Oh my fur and whiskers! I’m late, I’m late I’m late!” thinking now that I never did write that blog about the wonderful topic of chocolate. So, while we’re still in the month of April, let’s talk chocolate!
Chocolate has an incredibly interesting and complex history, but for our purposes, we’re going to keep that rather lengthy part brief. Initially, chocolate was really only affordable for royalty and the wealthy. Then the Age of the Industrial Revolution brought steam-powered engines to speed the processing of the bean, which then made chocolate more affordable for the masses.
Initially, eating (actual) eggs was not allowed by the church during the week leading up to Easter.
So any eggs laid that week were saved and decorated to make them ‘Holy Week eggs’, then given to children as gifts.
Victorians adapted the tradition with satin covered cardboard eggs filled with Easter gifts.
The first chocolate eggs were solid and a paste was used made from ground roasted cacao bean. Germany and France were the first to produce these, which were apparently bitter and hard, but these were quickly followed by the rest of Europe with the eggs being hollowed out.
By the turn of the 19th century the discovery of the modern chocolate making process and improved mass manufacturing methods meant that the hollow moulded egg was the most popular gift for Easter, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s that this was established world-wide.
So, now you know where your chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies originate from!
P.S. In case you were wondering about the title – it describes both a very angst filled 1992 movie as well as the fact that it apparently takes around 1 200 litres of water to produce a pound of chocolate. That’s a lot of water.
Hmm, maybe you should rather just drink water? Orrrr … perhaps not.