The ancient Egyptians used eggs to symbolize life. A white egg is part of a Seder meal. It was only in Christianity that this symbol turned into an egg-shaped piece of chocolate.
In the United States and Mediterranean Europe, chocolate Easter eggs are primarily intended for children. In Northern Europe and the UK they also exist as luxury items. It is a rapidly changing market that over the past two years has seen significant trends emerge in an industry weighted by tradition and heavily influenced by nostalgia.
In 2018, it was reported that up to a third of the weight of some Easter eggs was just the packaging – both cardboard and plastic. Today, with cardboard and aluminum packaging, even consumer eggs intended for children, like Cadbury’s or Nestlé, now largely avoid plastic waste, but the luxury market has seen even greater progress.
This year’s range from Montezuma uses only biodegradable, recyclable or compostable packaging. This company, created by Simon and Helen Pattisson in Brighton in 2000 with a fair trade policy, sources beans from small farmers. He was a pioneer with his Absolute Black, a 100% cocoa chocolate.
Fortnum & Mason has been at the forefront of the luxury Easter egg market for over a century; offering a very decorated and high quality chocolate. One of its flagship offerings this year also references its place in inventing the iconic British picnic staple, the Scottish egg. In its traditional form, it’s a hard-boiled egg, surrounded by sausage and breadcrumbs. The Easter chocolate version contains a simnel-flavored milk chocolate praline with a ganache center and a coating of roasted hazelnuts and cocoa.
However, this year’s Fortnum & Mason Easter collection also includes an important departure. Her carbon neutral sailfish egg is made with cocoa (85% Trinitario bean) sourced from organic farmers in Grenada on a wind-powered boat which is a small nearyNogs solar-powered factory in the Morne Mountains of Ireland. And this represents a real departure for the company.
Selfridges also worked with innovative Falmouth chocolate maker to produce their 60% oat milk egg. As part of his Earth project, he uses beans from the Gola rainforest in Sierra Leone combined with oat milk and unrefined raw sugar.
Like the Fortnum & Mason sailboat egg, the packaging was created by Flexi-Hex, a Cornish company that not only designs its packaging to be recyclable and plastic-free, but also reusable. Ben Suleyman, Food Buyer at Selfridges: “ It comes packaged in beautiful, innovative plastic-free packaging and the oats are toasted, offering a creamy texture reminiscent of milk chocolate, but it’s vegan! ”
The other key trend in luxury Easter eggs has been in brand collaborations. This year, Emissary, a new luxury London-based prosecco that aims to push the drink away from its overly-sweet perception of the mass market, teamed up with chocolatier William Curley to produce an egg. The cost including a bottle of Emissary prosecco isn’t insignificant at £ 59, but the brand clearly has advantages on both sides.
Cornish St Austell Brewery also collaborated with Chocolarder to produce its first Easter egg; a 65% dark chocolate egg with cocoa from the island of Seram, which is part of. Indonesian province of Moluccas. It’s 35% unrefined sugar and only 1% of St Austell’s Proper Job IPA, but it does a lot of branding.
And most importantly, whether they’re carbon neutral, helping support communities, or helping with branding, they taste really great.