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Our Blog: Chocolate Talk

Journal of a Hedonist

  • Halloween Artist Interview

    Meet Meghan Murphy...

    Artist and designer of Hedonist Artisan Chocolate's Halloween Collection "Witch's Brew" Meghan Murphy

    The artist behind the 2018 Halloween Collection at Hedonist Artisan Chocolates...

     

    -Tell us about yourself, your business and why you became an artist?
    I’m Meghan Murphy, and I am a freelance illustrator and designer based out of Rochester, NY. I create logos, mascots, web and print ads, enamel pins and whatever else they will let me do for clients from all over the world - as well as sell my own work online on t-shirts and all sorts of other products. I became an artist because it’s one of the few things I feel pretty confident I can do.

    Witch's Brew, ingredients needed to make your own potion this All Hallow's Eve!

    -What is the story and inspiration behind the designs for this collection?My inspiration for this particular set of designs was the image of a black cauldron boiling and bubbling in a foggy clearing, while a witch carefully added magic ingredients, one after the other, to make the perfect potion. Combining flavors for a delicious chocolate confection seems like a lovely bit of witchcraft to me - and just the thing for the spooky season.

     

    -What is your earliest memory of being inspired to make art?
    I don’t really remember a time I *didn’t* want to make art of some sort or another. I was a kid who always kinda knew what she wanted to do - I just had to figure out what that would actually look like as an adult.

     

    Meghan Murphy: artist, designer, and creative Halloween Costume Maker :)

    -Besides graphic design and art on chocolate what other medium do you dabble in?
    I love to draw (I post sketches almost daily on my Twitter and Instagram,) and paint (I’ve exhibited locally both in solo shows, and as a part of the always inspiring group friends and artists known as The Apocalypse Club.)

     

    -What is your favorite Halloween Candy, other than Hedonist Chocolate?
    I’m a complete sucker for Reeses’ peanut butter cups and Kit-Kats, but anything with special “scary” or “creepy” packaging makes my night.

     

    -What was your all time best Halloween Costume?
    It is probably a tie between Barb from Stranger Things (built my own Demogorgon head out of papier-mâché) and Squirrel Girl (sewed my own Tippy Toes as an accessory.) . And I was able to use the same wig for both.

     

    My site: www.murphypop.com
    My Twitter: @kawaiinot
    My Instagram: @murphypopart
    My Redbubble store: www.redbubble.com/people/murphypop

    You can meet Meghan Murphy at the art opening at
    Hedonist Artisan Chocolates on October 25th from 5-7pm.  

  • Why Gift Giving is Important

    Gift giving is something that should not be a chore. It must come from the heart. When you give, you should be giving something willingly without wanting something in return. Making someone feel special is more than enough reason to make you give more. It tells the receiver that you were thinking about them.

    While it feels good to be on the receiving end, there’s a feeling of self-gratification when you are the one who is doing the giving. This can’t be measured by monetary value. The happiness you get from opening a gift is only temporary, but giving provides a more self-fulfilling experience that lasts for a long period of time.

    We learn this when we are young. As children, we give our parents good grades that make them happy. A simple act can provide a good response. It has been proven that the act of giving makes us happier than receiving. It doesn’t matter how valuable the gift may be.

    Below are some reasons to give gifts.

    To be remembered…

    Often times at a special event, like a staff party or team building exercise you want to provide a special memento of the occasion. It’s always fun to have something to take home. In the case of a professional event, maybe you want to thank a guest speaker or reward a prize winner. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that everyone loves to receive a thoughtful event gift! Especially one that reflects where the event is taking place. Such gifts can make and leave a fabulous impression!

    To say “thanks”…

    There are some instances when you need to give back to someone who has helped you or provided you a favor. Gift giving is an act that can show that you are thankful. The receiver will truly feel your gratitude when you give gifts for elevating happiness and well-being.

    As an expression of love…

    Gift giving is an act of self-gratification. It is a good way of strengthening relationships. If you are in a friendship or a relationship, you should always show the other person how much you care for him or her. You don’t need to wait for as special occasion to give a gift, give one to show how much you love someone anytime. Gifts of chocolate have especially been seen as an expression of love throughout the years.

    To appreciate someone special…

    They say that actions speak louder than words is true. There’s no better way to say you appreciate someone than through gift giving. You can make someone happy with something simple. It doesn’t need to be expensive. You can give a token of appreciation to your father, mother, sister, brother, or anyone that has done something nice for you. Corporate businesses and small business owners can also give gifts of appreciation to their employees for their hard work or for their special contribution to the business. It motivates the staff and encourages them to perform better. A token of appreciation can do wonders to increase the performance from your workforce.

    Giving to keep in touch…

    Not seeing someone often should not be an excuse to ruin one’s relationship. Gifts can help in strengthening relationships. You can give a gift to stay in touch and keep that person in your life. There’s no better way to say you still care, than sending something special.

    To celebrate anniversaries…

    It is important for married couples to remember the day of their anniversary. This thoughtful gesture can be achieved by giving a gift. An anniversary can also be for a business venture. You can celebrate the milestone with a gift. You can also give to people who started their own businesses. This is one way to show that you remember them during a special moment in their lives.

    To celebrate a new home…

    You might not have the time to help someone move in or out of a new home, but you can give the person a gift for a new beginning. A new house is a big step, especially for people who are starting their own family.

    If you received an invitation to a housewarming party, it is customary that you would need to provide a gift to the new homeowners. It is also proper to bring a gift during the first visit to your friend’s new home. Gifts could be something they can use in the new house or gifts for elevating their happiness and wellbeing like chocolate and champagne to celebrate!

    For celebrating birthdays…

    A person’s birthday is a special milestone that should be celebrated each year. There’s no age limit for it. Whether the person is young or mature, it is important to give special attention to the person during one’s special day and be happy for being a year older. Making someone feel special during one’s birthday can be done with a thoughtful gift.

    To apologize…

    There are times when you make a mistake, and a simple apology is not enough to make the other party forgive you. During times when words are not enough, it is best to express it with a gift. It will show that you are really sorry for what you have done.

    No matter what the reason is for giving, the best presents are those that come from the heart. There’s no better way to say you care than by sending something special and handmade. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates can help you with gift giving no matter the occasion. We have gifts ranging from $10 - $200. Send us an e-mail at orders@hedonistchocolates.com or check us out online at hedonistchocolates.com

  • What is a Hedonist?

    When you’re digging into a box of truffles, you could be forgiven for going straight for the chocolate without giving a thought to the name on the label. But at Hedonist, our name is our philosophy. It’s who we are, and it’s why we do what we do. But what is a hedonist?

    Simply put: a hedonist is a pleasure-seeker. Hedonists and their school of thought, hedonism, are old concepts. Hedonism is thought to have roots in ancient Greece with a philosopher named Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-356 BCE), a student of Socrates. The word ‘hedonism’ itself comes from the Greek word (hēdonē) for “pleasure.”

    Hedonism is the idea that the pursuit of pleasure is the highest good and the primary goal of human life. Individuals can and should do everything they can to attain the highest level of pleasure that they can. Pleasure can be physical (getting a massage, eating your favorite food) or emotional (falling in love, landing your dream job). Whatever form your pleasure might take, hedonism says, obtaining it is the most important mission you have.

    Hedonism’s popularity as a philosophy has waxed and waned over the centuries, spawning several other related schools of thought. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Hedonistic Utilitarians like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill built on hedonistic ideals. Bentham even developed a “hedonic calculus,” a method for calculating the amount of pleasure a given action will cause.

    But you don’t have to be a philosopher - or do calculus - to dabble in hedonism. When Jennifer Posey founded Hedonist Artisan Chocolates in 2007, she chose a name that communicated her commitment to crafting and sharing the most pleasurable, decadent chocolate experiences imaginable. Truffle by truffle, word spread. More than ten years later we’ve recruited thousands more hedonists who find pleasure in chocolate. We believe - and we hope you do too - that fine chocolate isn’t just good for the taste buds, it’s good for the soul. If you haven’t yet converted to hedonism (what are you waiting for?), sample our salted caramels, chocolate barks, or classic truffles and become a believer.

  • Frozen Desserts 101

    Frozen Desserts

    Do you know your gelatos from your granitas? Your sorbets from your semifreddos? The universe of frozen desserts includes far more than just ice cream, but sometimes it's difficult to tell them all apart. Our crash course in icy treats is here to set the record straight!

    Ice cream

    Ice cream, generally speaking, is a frozen dessert made with sweetened milk and/or cream and flavored with fruit, chocolate, or other ingredients. Though you might hear “ice cream” used as a catch-all term for many types of frozen desserts, there are limits to what ice cream can and can’t be.

    In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires that ice cream meet two conditions in ordered to be labeled as such: it must contain a minimum of 10% dairy milkfat and must have no more than 100% overrun.

    “Overrun” is a term ice cream makers use to describe the amount of air that is whipped into ice cream during the churning and freezing process. An ice cream with 100% overrun has doubled in size during production; that is, for every gallon of ice cream base used, two gallons of finished ice cream resulted. (Therefore, ice cream with 100% overrun is 50% air). To be clear, air in your ice cream isn’t a bad thing. If your ice cream contained NO air, you’d have a hard block of cream and sugar - pretty tough to scoop.

    To make things even more complicated, there are ice cream “quality segments” used to describe products with varying levels of milkfat and overrun. “Economy” and “regular” ice creams meet overrun standards and tend to have a light and airy texture. Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream is “premium” ice cream, meaning it has a lower overrun, higher milkfat content, and higher-quality ingredients than commercial ice creams. In plain English: you can expect our ice cream to be denser, smoother, and richer than you’re used to.

    Bonus, not-so fun fact: products that don’t meet the FDA requirements for milkfat or overrun can’t be labeled ice cream. Instead, they’re labeled “frozen dairy dessert.” Womp womp.

    Frozen custard

    A close ice cream relative, frozen custard adds egg yolks to the mix, making for a creamy, luscious experience. Frozen custards must follow the same milkfat rules as ice cream, but must also contain a minimum of 1.4% egg yolks by weight.

    Frozen custard also differs from ice cream in regard to the machine used to make and dispense it. Ice cream machines churn air into the product, which is then put into a freezer to firm up completely before it’s scooped. By comparison, custard machines incorporate far less air, and the final product is served almost immediately at a warmer temperature, making it soft and melty.

    Gelato

    Gelato is ice cream made in the Italian style. As a general rule, it contains a greater proportion of milk to cream than American styles (and thus less fat), and is churned much more slowly. The slow churn means far less air is incorporated into the product, resulting in a denser texture. Gelato also tends to be served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, so it remains silky and elastic rather than fluffy.

    Semifreddo

    Literally “semi-frozen,” semifreddo is another genius Italian dessert invention. With a texture somewhere between mousse and ice cream, semifreddo is made by folding whipped cream into a custard base of milk, cream, and egg yolks. The mixture is then poured into a pan, frozen, and then served in slices rather than scoops.

    Sorbet

    If you got a dairy sensitivity, sorbet might be your savior this summer. This dairy-free yet luxurious frozen dessert is essentially just flavored water churned in an ice cream machine until it’s frozen and scoopable. The most common sorbets are fruit sorbets, which are composed primarily of fruit, sugar, and water. However, chocolate sorbet is an intense way to get your dark chocolate fix. Ours at Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream contains cocoa powder, melted semi-sweet chocolate, and a splash of coffee.

    Granita

    This Italian dessert (why do all the good desserts come from Italy?) is closely related to sorbet, but is grainier and crunchier in texture. Granita is agitated less frequently during production, allowing ice crystals to form.

    With so many styles of frozen desserts, it sounds like our idea for a great Summer day-trip sampling them all! Be sure to visit us at Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream, right next door to our chocolate shop, at 672 South Ave in Rochester, NY.

  • 5 Questions for Brewmaster Dean Jones

    Chocolate and beer is one of our favorite combos, and luckily Genesee Brewery agrees! Over the years we’ve worked with the Genesee Brew House’s Brewmaster, Dean Jones, to create indulgent new beers that combine the very best Hedonist and Genesee have to offer. Recently, Genesee was awarded a gold medal at the World Beer Cup in the Chocolate Beer category for their Dark Chocolate Scotch Ale, a decadent brew imbued with the flavors and aromas of Hedonist 72% bittersweet chocolate!

    Join us in celebrating this award-winning partnership with a special tasting at the Genesee Brew House on Wednesday, June 13 to sample beer and some of our limited-edition bacon chocolates, just in time for Father’s Day!

    In advance of our tasting, we spoke to Dean about his prize-winning beer and his role as a brewmaster.

    Hedonist: You've brewed beer with chocolate a number of times. Why do chocolate and beer "work" together?

    Dean: Chocolate goes extremely well with a number of different beer styles. It truly compliments the flavors in beer and gives people a reason to try a new beer as everyone loves chocolate!!

    H: If you had to serve Dark Chocolate Scotch Ale with food, what would be on the menu?

    D: I love cheesecake, and a Salted Caramel Chocolate Porter cheesecake served with the beer sounds awesome to me!

    H: Has there ever been a time when a flavor combination just didn't work out, and you had to give up?

    D: Never!  Flavor combinations are only limited by your imagination, you just have to find a beer that they will work with.

    H: If you had the opportunity to brew the beer of your dreams and could use any ingredients you wanted, what would you make?

    D: The beer of my dreams…Not really a special ingredient but I would love to go to Germany and brew a Bavarian Pilsner with a Master Brewer.

    H: Can you tell us what you're working on next? Or is that a trade secret?

    D: I am designing our new year round IPA loaded with cool juicy hops and also working on peppercorn beer of some sort.

  • Why Does My Chocolate Look Weird?: The Story of Bloom

    Several years ago, my mom and I went on a road trip to New England in July. I packed the provisions we’d need for the drive, including two or three chocolate bars (naturally). When we got to Rhode Island, we parked the car in the sun, then walked around for several hours. When we returned, it was already too late for our poor chocolate bars. They had not just softened in the hot car, but completely liquefied. However, they were still contained within their wrappers, so my mom and I thought they might be salvageable. When we got to Boston, we tossed the chocolate bars in the fridge to firm them back up.

    They certainly firmed up, but they weren’t the same chocolate bars we started with. In addition to being misshapen from their ordeal, the bars now had a dull, whitish coating - what we in the chocolate biz call bloom.

    Bloom can happen when cocoa butter fats in the chocolate separate and come to the surface. It’s not harmful - chocolate that has bloomed is perfectly safe to eat - but it is unsightly and can lead to a crumbly or greasy texture that’s less than ideal. Ideally, chocolate should be glossy, shiny, and snappy. Those qualities indicate good temper, which is essentially a stable crystallization of cocoa butter particles. (If you want a deep dive into the world of tempering, check out articles like this one). When chocolate isn’t tempered properly, or is thrown out of temper, the cocoa butter crystals go haywire, clustering up on the surface and creating those unappetizing smudges.

    Bloom most frequently occurs when chocolate is improperly heated and cooled, as was the case with our road trip bars. Chocolate is a surprisingly delicate substance, and has to be gradually and gently melted and cooled. A hot car followed by a fridge is a recipe for disaster.

    At Hedonist, if our chocolate blooms during the production process, we can sometimes fix the problem by re-melting the chocolate and starting over. If we can’t fix it, we have different, creative uses for the chocolate - for example, it may end up in ice cream!

    As the weather warms, bloom is more likely to occur. If you’ve got chocolate at home, make sure it’s stored in a cool, dry place. If you absolutely must refrigerate your chocolate, wrap it tightly in plastic to protect against condensation. And never, under any circumstances, leave your chocolates in a hot car.

  • Why Salty and Sweet Belong Together

    Salted Caramels

    If you’re the type of person who likes chocolate covered pretzels, maple bacon, and Hawaiian pizza, you understand the powerful appeal of foods that are both salty and sweet. It’s an addictive combination, and one of our favorites at Hedonist. From our famous salted caramels to our milk chocolate sea salt bark to our hazelnut truffle, we never get tired of this combination. But what makes this pairing so uniquely addicting? After all, sugar and salt are completely different flavors - so why do they make such a happy couple?

    The answer has to do with the wondrous science of taste. For a long time, the conventional wisdom was that the human tongue was divided up into five areas, each one responsible for sensing one of five flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and savory/umami. However, now we know that all the taste buds on your tongue can taste all five flavors - and they do a pretty good job at it. In fact, each one of your tastebuds has about 50 to 100 taste cells, which do all the tasting work.

    These tasting cells do a lot more than deliver delicious flavors (although that’s important too). Our taste buds evolved to help us identify which foods will help us and which will harm us. Very sour or bitter flavors alert us to the presence of compounds that might make us sick, so we usually avoid them. On the flip side, we’re hardwired to crave sweet foods because they’re carbohydrate-rich and full of energy. We’re also fond of salt, because sodium is a necessary nutrient.

    Logically then, when we taste two flavors we love at the same time, the experience is even better than tasting each of them separately. Barb Stuckey, author of TASTE: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good, compares this marriage of flavors to “hearing beautiful music while sniffing rose petals: two positive sensory stimuli.”

    However, that’s not the end of the story. Salt is not just an essential nutrient we’re hardwired to crave - it’s also a flavor enhancer. At low concentrations, salt suppresses bitter flavors and increases sweet, sour, and umami flavors. Chefs call this interplay “flavor layering.” This is why your cookies taste bland when you forget that teaspoon of salt in the dough, and why kettlecorn, with just the faintest whisper of salt, is so addictive.

    The final reason the combination of salty and sweet is irresistible is a little phenomenon called “sensory specific satiety.” Because humans are historically omnivorous, we’re built to crave a variety of taste experiences. When we taste the same flavor over and over again, we tire of it. Binge on birthday cake and eventually you’ll yearn for a salty chunk of barbecue, and vice versa. But when flavor layering is at work, salty and sweet meld together and don’t satiate you with one particular taste. And that’s what keeps you coming back for more.

  • Tricks of the Trade: How to Infuse Flavor

    As we roll out our Afternoon Tea and Wildflower collections to welcome the (hopefully) warmer weather, we’re getting a lot of questions about how exactly we create these flavors. Are there tea leaves in the chocolate? Are there real violets in the violet truffle?

    The answer is both yes and no. Yes, the flavor you’re tasting comes from real tea leaves and real flowers. But don’t expect to come across bits of leaf or petal in your truffles - those ingredients aren’t added to the chocolate directly. Rather, we impart flavor through a process called infusion.

    Though it might sound complicated, infusion is something you’re probably already doing without even realizing it. If you’ve ever steeped a teabag in hot water, then you know how to infuse. Infusion is simply the process of extracting flavor by soaking an ingredient in liquid. Maybe you’ve had olive oil infused with herbs, or water infused with cucumber or orange. We use a similar process to transfer flavor into our chocolate truffles.

    We begin almost all of our truffles by preparing a ganache, a velvety filling made by gently mixing hot cream with chopped chocolate. To infuse the ganache with our chosen flavor, we simply simmer the cream with that ingredient, let the mixture sit for a few minutes, strain out the bits and pieces, and then mix the now-infused cream with chocolate.

    Infusion Rose Petals in Cream - Hedonist Chocolates Hot cream getting an infusion of dried rose petals

    For example, to make the White Mint truffle in our Classic Collection, we heat the cream with dried spearmint, then run the mixture through a sieve, pressing on the leaves to make sure we extract all of the flavor. The mint is then discarded and the infused cream (now a light yellow-greenish color) is mixed with white chocolate. The finished truffle will have all of that cool minty flavor, but no grainy particles.

    We use the same process for many of our other flavors of truffles. The entire Afternoon Tea collection is made with tea infusions - just imagine making a really big cup of tea, but with hot cream instead of water. For our Wildflower collection it’s much the same, except we use dried flower petals rather than tea leaves. Simply simmer, steep, strain, and voila - you’ve infused!

    After our chocolate ganaches have been infused and mixed, they’re spread out in a frame to set up, cut into squares, and then dipped in chocolate. You won’t be able to tell just by looking at it, but the truffle below is infused with flavor!

    If you want to taste infusion in action, browse our Afternoon Tea and Wildflower collections.

    Infusion Ganache Enrobing A square of chocolate ganache goes swimming in melted 72% bittersweet chocolate
  • How It's Made: Chocolate Farm Eggs

    Chocolate Farm Eggs

    Being a chocolatier requires all sorts of fiddly detail work, and none of our chocolate demands so much concentration as our Farm Egg truffles. These speckled, ganache and caramel-filled beauties are a lot of work, but when they pop out of their molds, all glistening and (hopefully) flawless, it's all worth it.

    We'll take you through the process of making one of our coconut lime Farm Eggs from start to finish.

    Step 1: The filling

    First, we prep the coconut-lime filling so that it has time to cool and set before being piped into the eggshells. We mix together heavy cream, shredded toasted coconut, and lime zest and bring it to a simmer before pouring the mixture over white chocolate. When mixed together, the ingredients form a velvety emulsion called a ganache. Below, the finished filling.

    Hedonist Chocolates - Making Coconut Putting the lime in the coconut.

    Step 2: The molds

    Next, we hand-paint our molds with dyed cocoa butter. For white chocolate eggs, the molds get a coating of purplish, iridescent cocoa butter, which we apply with a paintbrush. Next, they're speckled with green and dark blue. The secret to those tiny specks? A regular ol' toothrush. No, really. We dip (clean) toothbrushes into cocoa butter paint and then run a finger through the bristles so that they spring back, flicking micro-splatters of color onto the molds (and sometimes everywhere else).

    Kaila Painting Molds Not pictured: the hours and hours spent cleaning these molds with cotton balls.

    Step 3: The shells

    Any filled, molded chocolate we make involves a process we call "shelling." After our colors have set, we fill our painted molds to the brim with melted chocolate, and then immediately pour it back out again. This process leaves behind a thin layer of chocolate, which will set and become our eggshell. The molds are placed on a rack upside down, so that the chocolate doesn't pool in the bottom.

    Chocolate Filling Molds Kaila fills the egg molds with white chocolate.
    Emptying Molds The excess chocolate is poured right back into the tempering machine - nothing goes to waste!

    Step 4: Filling & capping

    Now we've got a lovely, empty white chocolate shell with plenty of room for filling. A gob of ganache is piped into each cavity with a piping bag (essentially a triangular plastic bag with the corner snipped off). The eggs are then "capped" by spreading a layer of white chocolate over the surface of the mold. This final step seals in the filling and finishes off what will become the bottom of the egg.

    Emptying Molds

    Step 5: Unmolding

    After being capped, the eggs are typically left to set up overnight. The next day, they are very carefully removed from their molds (they are just as fragile as real eggs!). If all goes well, we need only flip over the mold for the eggs to pop out - although sometimes they need a little coaxing. Any extra chocolate left on the surface of the mold can be chipped off and melted back down again.

    We repeat steps one through five for the milk and dark chocolate Farm Eggs, using different colored speckles and different flavors of filling. When finished, the egg trios are packed up in Easter grass and then hit the shelves.

    These Easter truffles are in stock for a limited time, so snap up a box before we close down the egg farm! Shop our Easter chocolates today!

    Farm Egg Truffles Hedonist Farm Egg Truffles, available for Easter
  • Why Do We Eat Chocolate Eggs and Bunnies on Easter?

    Easter ChocolateHere at Hedonist, we never need an excuse to eat chocolate. Nevertheless, Easter is a pretty big deal for us and the rest of the chocolate industry. After Halloween, Easter is the best-selling candy and chocolate holiday in America. This time of year, you'll see shelves with chocolate eggs and bunnies - some solid, some filled with gooey caramel or almonds. But before you nibble the ears off that rabbit... how did chowing down on chocolate become such an integral part of Easter to begin with?

    Easter indulgence

    Remember that Easter occurs at the end of Lent, a period of 40 days of fasting and contemplation observed by some Christians. Maybe you or someone you know has given up something for Lent - sweets and alcohol are popular choices. Back in medieval times, fasting was a little more rigorous, with many people giving up all meat and animal products, including dairy and eggs. Once Easter arrived, it was feast time, and people celebrated by indulging in all those rich and forbidden foods again. They certainly wouldn’t have been feasting on chocolate in the Middle Ages, but in modern times, indulging in a box of truffles once April 1 hits only makes sense.

    Easter Chocolate

    Okay, so why eggs and bunnies?

    The two most prominent symbols of Easter, eggs and bunnies, crop up in chocolate form every Spring. The egg has been a symbol of new life since ancient times, and in Christianity it came to represent the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Easter tradition of decorating eggs is thought to go back as far as the 13th century. Since eggs were also commonly forbidden during Lent (see above), Christians would paint and decorate the eggs during the 40-day fast and then eat them during Easter celebrations.

    As for bunnies, these fluffy critters are also widely associated with fertility and birth (you’ve probably heard the phrase, “breeding like rabbits”). Rabbits are a common theme in medieval Christian art, often pictured alongside the Virgin Mary. The hare was a common symbol of Easter in Germany, where children set out nests to be filled with colored eggs by a hare called Oschter Haws. In the early 1700s, large numbers of German immigrants began immigrating to Pennsylvania and brought Oschter Haws with them, laying the foundation for the modern-day Easter Bunny.

    But why chocolate?

    True, chocolate isn't the only sweet treat we indulge in at Easter (jelly beans also have a long association with the holiday). But at about the same time that Germans were arriving in America by the thousands, the Industrial Revolution was ramping up. In addition to transforming the textile and iron industries, the Industrial Revolution launched the modern-day chocolate industry. With new mechanization processes, chocolate evolved from an expensive beverage consumed only by upper classes into a less expensive, solid food. The first chocolate bar came on the scene in Europe in the mid-1800s, and other molded chocolate shapes quickly followed. Germany in particular gained a reputation for producing elaborate tin chocolate molds. It’s no wonder, then, that chocolate Easter bunnies and their accompanying eggs caught on in the late 19th century. Judging by the Easter treats we now see every year, their popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

    Your modern-day Easter celebrations, then, are a product of ancient symbolism, Lenten restraint, immigration, and the advent of eating (rather than drinking) chocolate. No matter how you choose to celebrate the occasion, a little chocolate can make the season even more special. Browse our full line of Easter products by clicking here.

    Easter Chocolate Collection

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Pleasure, handcrafted. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates are handmade with fresh ingredients to give as gifts or indulge yourself.
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