Dietribes: Chocolate Easter Bunnies
• First things first: when did this tradition with the bunny start? Most of the candy imagery we're familiar with today - rabbits, ducks, chicks, etc. - comes from their association with springtime, as symbols of new life. But according to a German legend, a white hare (after a long winter's slumber) would lay brightly colored eggs in the grass for good children to find (although the practice of decorating eggs at Easter has been traced back to the Middle Ages). Chocolate rabbits didn't come fully come on the scene until after World War II when chocolate became mass-marketed.
• Of course, its popularity is undeniable now - over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made each year. An average 7-ounce rabbit typically contains around 1,050 calories … which is why most people's parents (like mine!) only allow them to be eaten piecemeal. And how exactly should that be done? According to the BBC, 74% of American children believe the chocolate bunnies should be consumed ears first. (Do you agree?)
• So why are they hollow? No, it's not just because they are already 1000 calories. Mark Schlott, vice-president of operations at R.M. Palmer in Reading, Pennsylvania, one of the first and largest manufacturers of hollow chocolate bunnies, had this to say: “If you had a larger-size bunny and it was solid chocolate, it would be like a brick; you’d be breaking teeth." And of course ... because making them hollow is a cheaper form of production! Schlott also says, “Hollow has a greater perceived value. It creates a much greater chocolate footprint than solid.” Hmmmm. I prefer solid, myself! (Also, I really love the picture of the dazed-looking chocolate consuming kid on the link site. Mmmmmmm chocolate ....)
• Not all bunnies are cheap - there is a $35,000 “chocolate” bunny currently being showcased at Harrod's. The world's most expensive bunny is made to look like Lindt chocolate bunnies (wrapped in gold), although this version is inedible, made of 24-karat actual gold and inlaid with diamonds, rubies, citrine and topaz.
• Back to chocolate bunnies you can consume, the world record for the largest chocolate bunny goes to Harry Johnson, who constructed a replica of the Duracell bunny standing over 12 feet high (Note: Duracell's bunny campaign pre-dates Energizer. In Europe the shorthand for something long-lasting is the "Duracell Bunny" in the same way that North Americans usually default to the Energize Bunny. The more you know!)
• Sadly, in 2002, a fire in a Swiss warehouse destroyed close to 4 million chocolate bunnies, equaling about $11.8 million US dollars. In other news, some people consider melting chocolate bunnies art. If they aren't being eaten, I say it may as well be a crime.
• Where do you Flossers get your chocolate bunnies? Do you eat them all at once or parcel them out? What are your favorites? Honestly for me, if it's chocolate I will eat it with very little discrimination! One last thing: I will visiting England over Easter - any recommendations of where I should purchase some chocolate?
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‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.