Choc & Awe

 
Timothy Barber
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TIME was when an Easter egg was a bottom-rung milk chocolate concoction picked up at the corner shop, that kids could hunt for in the garden before being made sick by it. But now that we’re a nation of foodies – and more to the point, a nation increasingly rich in the kind of imaginative young artisans who can do exceedingly decorative, ingenious things with chocolate – there are Easter eggs around that are far too good to be wasted on children.

We got together some of the City A.M. team to sort the truly brilliant Easter Egg creations from the also-rans. The diet starts now.

HOTEL CHOCOLAT
PURIST EXTRA THICK EGG
As its name suggests, it’s thick – satisfyingly so. The exterior is actually the same egg as Rabot Estate (right), with 65 or 70 per cent dark chocolate versions; the rich pralines within are silky, luxurious and indulgent.
£30 www.hotelchocolat.co.uk

PRESTAT SEA SALT
CARAMEL EGG
Rather a surprise this. Salted chocolate can be something of an acquired taste, but the caramel sweetness, dark chocolate bitterness and salty undertones come together very nicely here. One for those lacking a very sweet tooth, and anyone wanting to find something a little bit different. £25 www.prestat.co.uk

FORTNUM & MASON
CINDER TOFFEE EGG
Fortnum’s other big hitter this year is a Russian doll-style egg that’s about the size of a house. It was horrible. This one, on the other hand, is pretty sensational:?ultra-sweet, toffee-tinged chocolate with an interior of chocolate-coated honeycomb chunks that are sinfully wonderful.
£32.50 www.fortnumandmason.com


ARTISAN DU
CHOCOLAT ARTICHOKE EGG
Now this is what we like.

Originality, craftsmanship and some very fine chocolate. Apparently the look is inspired by a light fitting in

Artisan du Chocolat’s Lower Sloane Street shop. It’s

certainly eye-catching, and if in the past we’ve found AdC’s sculptural eggs falling somewhat into the style-over-taste category, there are no such complaints this time. The red-tinged exterior “leaves” have a slightly sharp flavour, but the inner shell is pleasingly thick and fulsome, while the glittery balls of liquid chocolate that spill around inside like pearls are an enchanting surprise. This is an egg with wow factor and class.
£45 www.artisanduchocolat.com

PIERRE MARCOLINI EGG WITH EARS
What whimsical wonder is this? Belgian chocolatier Marcolini’s Easter Bunny-inspired egg – with its own mini-me dark chocolate version alongside – is utterly charming, and thankfully tastes superb too. Inside are a clutch of rich, gloriously moreish little eggs, and even the base is there to be scoffed. Available exclusively at Selfridges. £59.99 www.marcolini-eboutique.com

RABOT ESTATE
Borough Market’s rustic, Caribbean-inspired offshoot of Hotel Chocolat is fielding eggs with thick shells of typically dark, bitter, almost ascetic chocolate – an amazing contrast with the lush gorgeousness of the gianduja truffles inside.
£18 each www.rabotestate.com

GODIVA BEADED EGG
The exterior of the Belgian chocolatier’s egg may be a sequined thing of kitsch prettiness – it comes in a bird cage, gilded with butterflies – but it’s cardboard, not chocolate. The mini-eggs within, in nine different flavours, are delicious but hardly justify the price.
£30 www.godiva.be

JAMES DARK
JAZZIE EGG
“Jazzies” are the candy-encrusted chocolate buttons stuck to the outside of this egg, which frankly reminded us of old visits to the Woolworths confectionary counter. It’s a hollow egg made of dark chocolate that’s serviceable but bland while the jazzies themselves are sickly sweet – this egg hardly oozes sophistication. £15 www.jameschocolates.co.uk