Easter is one of the best times to be a chocolatier, especially one called White Rabbit!
Although we take our name from Beverley heritage, the stone carving in St. Mary’s Church is said to be the inspiration behind the White Rabbit character in Alice in Wonderland. Rabbits are synonymous with spring, and especially at Easter because of the other famous bunny who delivers all the eggs.
We go all out at this time of year, catering for every taste: from classic Easter eggs to extra special single-origin eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter egg alternatives, and fresh chocolate truffles, all handmade in the heart of Beverley. So, how do we decide what to do at Easter, and what does a chocolatier do once all the eggs have gone?
At Easter Time, the egg is by far the most important product, with the vast majority of families picking an egg as their customary treat. There is a deep and historical tradition behind the Easter egg as mentioned in my last 'Ask the
Expert', so we have to think very carefully about our product range to make sure there is an egg to cater to every preference.
People come to an artisan chocolaterie for something special, made with great chocolate, and a bit different from the mass market generics; in other words, the quality of the product is a given.
For 2021, the greatest challenge has been preparing for an online Easter. Chocolate is one of the most fragile materials to craft with, even more so than glass, and one fracture can ruin the entire appeal of the product (and the price you are paying!)
Chocolate eggs are always hollow because otherwise you can’t get your teeth into them, leaving them vulnerable in transit, and, because we are whimsical creatives, we always like to put extra treats inside our eggs, which means as much as you pad and protect this delicate morsel it can still be smashed from the inside.
So this year we have had to come up with a way of delivering our eggs in a socially distance world, selling online instead of in-store, opening us up to a new host of issues. We are now all geared up to send our chocolate far and wide! It was quite
a project. The challenge was to create a box and method of packing that keeps our Easter eggs safe but still allows us to bundle them with other
treats for that authentic White Rabbit experience. The box has to fit everything, but still look purposeful, even if it’s with just a small bag of buttons or a big box of chocolates. The design had to allow for different product combinations without getting lots of different boxes produced, and it also had to fit snugly in our existing ecommerce packaging so we weren’t over-buying
on materials just to send our products out.
We have come out with this beautifully simple idea of the Easter Egg Box, each one coming with a milk, white or dark chocolate, 230g extra thick gold-foiled egg plus your choice of extra treat. The whole box is a feast for the eyes and an
absolute joy to open and unpack! With pleasure, I would like to give you a run-down of our bestsellers, most creative products and personal favourites!
Most Creative - Kathleen Bates.
Kathy’s favourite product this year is her Easter Smash Cake.
Smash Cakes are very on trend and I love them because they are all about the whole experience, not just eating... although that is the best bit! It’s fun, colourful, and a little bit of everything which is what makes it so great.
Kathy fused our already popular smash cakes with an Easter theme to create a hollow chocolate egg, nestled in chocolate cornflakes (made with our masterblend of chocolate), which you smash into to reveal crispy mini-eggs, chocolate rabbits and
other treats inside!
This is only available for collection and local delivery, meaning only you Beverlonians are privileged enough for this product this year.
Personal Favourite - Amy Fenner.
Amy’s favourite product this year is our Artisan Egg. A hand-tempered chocolate egg made from specially selected chocolates; one, a 72% Peruvian dark chocolate from British bean-to chocolate producer J-Cocoa, and the other an
incredibly popular caramelised white “Amber” chocolate which is cocoa-trace certified and ethically sourced.
I love this so much because it’s rare to see chocolate with such provenance, hand-tempered into an Easter egg.The shine on the chocolate looks great with the curve of the egg and you know it’s special.
I have grown up with White Rabbit Easters most of my life. I have been helping to design our Easter ranges since 2014 and seen how our products have evolved through the years.
One of the things I have started to look forward to every year is Amy’s Easter chocolate truffles, so much so I have entered them into the Great Taste Awards this year. I love an egg, but we freshly make our truffles every day up to Easter and you
just can’t beat that.
Amy uses Mum’s old recipe to make a Hot Cross Bun chocolate, and an Easter Pashka Truffle; Easter Pashka is a traditional Russian Easter dessert, a bit like an almond cheesecake. It has this unusual yet familiar sweet and creamy flavour that I think is just perfect for this time of year, I can see why it’s such a popular tradition!
We have had a specially designed sleeve made for our Limited Edition Truffle Boxes, and it is these finishing touches that are really resonating with our customers at the moment, making everything beautiful as well as delicious.
By the time this article is published we will almost be done with Easter. But what will we do once all the eggs have gone?
Beyond Easter and lockdown, we are looking forward to welcoming people back into our shop and cafes. It has been
different looking after people from a distance, so it’s going to be great to concentrate on hospitality and the dine-in experience
Traditionally, I’d say a chocolatier can have a holiday after Easter. It’s really hard to sell chocolate once people have indulged and many still have store cupboards full of confectionery.
But this year, with the ways timings have worked out I’m guessing we are going to be kept busy as people can finally go outside and meet up with friends, and we can’t wait to be here for them.
Ed Hawkes, White Rabbit Chocolatiers.