Is there a more pleasing sound in the world than the sharp crack of a chocolate Easter egg being broken open? My friend Kate says it's the sound of a second egg being cracked open.
As a child I’d wait patiently until after Easter Sunday lunch to break open my chocolate egg. I still remember the joy of finding a solitary Playmobil man inside one. In my 20s I celebrated Greek Orthodox Easter, which involves a lovely big lunch but which is disappointing on the egg front: real eggs are boiled and dyed red, then decorated and cracked against each other. You are left picking shards of shell off a boiled egg that you then have to eat, an unnecessary side dish to the largest meal of the year.
|Easter on the island of Sifnos – cracking eggs and nearly cracking a smile. This is the last known photo of me with my husband before he mysteriously disappeared.|
In more recent Easters I’ve reverted to chocolate and this year when I wasn’t baking creme eggs inside cupcakes, I was making Easter egg cakepops.
Best of all, I did an Easter egg workshop at Davenport's Chocolates, which sells its fantastic artisan chocolates all over the UK. If you see their distinctive lime green and chocolate brown boxes, do yourself a favour and buy one. In fact while you're at it, can you buy me one too? (violet creams, please)
I did the same workshop last year so knew I was in for treat. We were welcomed by Jane Williams, the charming chocolatier who established Davenport’s five years ago, with a cup of Davenport’s hot chocolate and an invitation to help ourselves to a large tray of mixed chocolates. I had to try all of them in the interests of research.
|The tray of chocolates; lime creams; antique Easter egg moulds|
We started by making the eggs themselves, filling a mould with tempered milk chocolate then sitting it on the vibrating grid on the left. The chocolate sets within minutes and the moulds are filled and vibrated a second time to create a thick shell of chocolate.
|Sleeping Easter eggs. Their young nestle below in a separate box.|
Then comes the bit when everyone goes quiet and concentrates - decorating. It's like being back at school except it’s a lovely art lesson instead of double maths.
I wrote my nephew’s name on the egg, safe in the knowledge that at only 18 months of age he’d have to share it with the rest of family. Particularly if we opened it after he’d gone to bed.
|Easter egg hunt. Surprise! It’s a cat! A really annoyed cat.|
Once the egg was decorated, we chose some chocolates to seal inside the egg. There were dozens to choose so it was a tough task, but I went for orangettes; my all-time favourites violet creams; and two flavours from Davenport’s new Heritage Collection: lime cream and salted peanut caramel, both of which are superb. The new collection launches this spring, something to look forward to once you’ve polished off your Easter eggs, including that one you bought on Easter Monday on the basis that if it’s now half the price, it’s also half the calories...