Offering chocolate eggs for Easter is an ancient tradition. But many people don’t know the origin of the tradition: a Russian watchmaker and a Dutch chemist deserve all the credit.
Easter would not be Easter without chocolate eggs
The egg has always been considered by the Egyptians, the Greeks and certain Eastern populations as one of the symbols of life and rebirth. In Persia, for example, with the arrival of spring, it was customary to exchange hen’s eggs as a good luck charm. For the Christians, the association of the egg with Easter was almost immediate: hard and inert on the outside like the Holy Sepulchre, the egg contains a life ready to hatch, that of Jesus. This is why, originally the eggs were painted red to recall the blood of Christ.
Why are eggs offered at Easter?
The habit of offering decorated eggs for Easter has gradually spread. Initially in the churches of the east, because during Lent the Christian Orthodox could not eat any type of food of animal origin, including eggs. In Europe, on the other hand, it seems that this tradition gained a foothold in the Middle Ages in Germany and then spread throughout the continent.
Why are there surprises in Easter eggs?
The idea of putting a surprise inside the egg was born in the mind of a Russian goldsmith. Peter Carl Fabergé had been commissioned by Tsar Alessandro III to make a special gift for Czarina Maria. This is how the first « Faberge egg » came into being: a true masterpiece of platinum, decorated and enamelled, containing another golden egg filled with gifts. A sort of rounded version of the famous matrioska.
Why do we eat chocolate eggs at Easter?
Opinions are divided on this question and there are many hypotheses. History, between myth and legends, is closely linked to the evolution of cocoa processing: some say that the first chocolate eggs appeared under the kingdom of the Sun King at the beginning of the 17th century. It was Louis XIV who granted David Chaillou, France’s first master chocolate maker, exclusive permission to sell chocolate in Paris. In the 19th century, the first chocolate bars appeared in Switzerland and England, but the real revolution came from Holland with Coenraad van Houten. He invented a hydraulic press capable of separating the fat and butter from the cocoa dust and had the intuition to add alkaline salts to the mixture thus obtained to facilitate its melting in water.
When, at the end of the 18th century, technical progress made it easier to process chocolate at the industrial stage, the Anglo-Saxon confectionery factory Cadbury had the intuition to link chocolate to the tradition of Easter eggs: this is how the first chocolate Easter egg containing a surprise was born.
Obeying the tradition, our Easter collections to be discovered in our shops, offer you eggs, bells, rabbits in dark or milk chocolate, but also figurines that evoke the fairytale world of our Breton legends.