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The History of Chocolate Eggs

As we enjoy the last of the cold weather candy holidays (Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter), let’s look at the ubiquitous chocolate egg. You may get one chocolate rabbit in your Easter basket, but you’ll probably see lots of eggs. Americans eat them by the bagful, while Europeans treat them like art. And while eggs have always been a sign of spring renewal and rebirth, where did the chocolate egg come from?

The history of the chocolate egg is murkier. The sixteenth-century introduction of Mesoamerican cacao to Europe created, at first, an imitative hot chocolate-drinking culture. At Versailles, chocolate was whipped with sweet almonds or orange flower water and—wait for it—an egg yolk. According to Élisabeth de Contenson’s Chocolat et son histoire, it was the eighteenth-century chocolate-drinkers who first blew out a chicken eggshell to fill with drinking chocolate: thus, the chocolate egg may predate the invention of solid eating chocolate.

An article at Lucky Peach traces the history of the chocolate Easter egg, but focuses more on Paris chocolatiers and their artistic eggs, which is a delight.

(Image credit: Flickr user Steve Mohundro)

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