Easter, to many, is all about bunnies, chocolate eggs and candy. As I know from researching chocolate for the Mostly About Chocolate blog, chocolate manufacturing is on the decline in the UK so this year I decided to feature British-made eggs. With eggs from one of the best chocolatiers in London to a high street supermarket, there is something for everyone.
So here is an egg box of my top picks for British-made Easter eggs in 2013:
Best Egg Overall - for perfection in technical execution (chocolate-geekery), brilliance in complexity of taste, beautiful look and price, and overall impressiveness, I selected the Betty's Grand Cru Easter Egg as overall best egg. This dark chocolate Easter egg won for being delicious, lower in sugar than milk Easter eggs, preserving the complexity of the flavour of the chocolate used, and not carrying an extremely outrageous price tag. As this is a high quality dark chocolate egg, it is probably best eaten slowly, allowing the chocolate to melt in your mouth so you are able to savour the flavours. If you do gift this to a child, I encourage you to try and get them to do the same slow melting in their mouth. I cannot recommend this egg highly enough. Available from Betty's Tea Houses or online at £25 for this 180g egg.
Best Filled Egg - I've tried a few eggs with fillings and this was head and shoulders above the rest. Paul A Young's Sea Salt Caramel Egg is larger than a hen's egg (or at least, the ones I get from Sainsbury's) and yet filled to the brim with sea salt caramel. The thick quality chocolate shell is in a porcelain egg cup with a porcelain spoon to enable ease of eating. At this point I would like you to believe I daintily ate the egg and did not make a sticky mess :-) This is an adult egg in my opinion and I would only recommend it for older kids. Available from Paul A Young shops only for around £20
Best Egg for Sharing - In milk chocolate and weighing in at a massive one full kilogram, the Thorntons Marvelously Magnificent egg is enough chocolate for the whole family to enjoy over the course of the whole day - if not a whole week! This massive egg is bigger than an adult human head and has some decoration. This is absolutely one huge egg and it has that massive *wow* appeal. Available from all Thorntons shops and online for around £25
Best Kids Surprise Egg - chosen for what lies inside, the Crackletastic egg came tops for kids (old and young). This milk chocolate egg from Chococo and looks innocuous at first with the drizzled chocolate decoration and giant chocolate button. It isn't until you break into this egg that you discover the chocolate candy beans and popping candy! This was also the top office favourite of all the eggs that they tried - just a bunch of big kids ;-) The milk chocolate wasn't too sweet making it extremely moreish and the popping candy was probably everyone's favourite part. This egg is available from a variety of outlets but alsothe Chococo website and is £12.95 for a 175g egg.
Best Luxury Indulgence Egg - chosen for its quality, indulgence and higher price point, this Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 egg is absolute indulgent luxury. At £30 for 390g it is not inexpensive but it also has the thickest shell of any of the eggs I tried (including many not listed here). There are two different kinds of chocolate used. One half is the indulgently luxurious 66% Sambriano Valley chocolate and the other is an 82% Hacienda Iara. The single origin, extremely thick chocolate shell secrets away some egglets wrapped in tissue in each half of varying flavours including truffles made of the same chocolate as the shell and Gran Couva pralines. Absolute luxury indulgence and yours for £30 online or in store from Hotel Chocolat shops.
Best Egg for Mom - chosen for its champagne indulgence, dark chocolate sofistication and gorgeous packaging, the Charbonnel et Walker Dark Chocolate Marc de Champagne egg is a perfectly packaged bit of deliciousness. If your mom likes a bit of dark chocolate with a slight edge of nuttiness, she'll love this chocolate. The dark chocolate mark de champagne truffles she'll get inside the egg will be a winner as well. This egg is around £10 for 115g from a variety of online outlets and the Charbonnel et Walker shops.
Best Egg in Show - possibly the most visually stunning egg I received was the absolutely beautiful egg from Paul Wayne Gregory. Milk chocolate studded with freeze-dried mango pieces, shaped into an egg which is then painted with colours of the mango but it looks like a sunrise. It was like receiving sunshine in the form of an egg. Even better, the colours are edible as it is coloured white chocolate so it won't change your chocolaty/mango-y enjoyment. To top the pleasure off the flavour combination of the mango and the milk chocolate isn't too sweet making it absolutely moreish. This egg costs around £25 and is available from the Indulgence shop in Brixton market, online and at Harvey Nichols and Forman & Field.
Best Eco-Friendly Packaging Egg - pioneers and passionately green company Green & Blacks have made not only a delicious milk chocolate egg with two of their bars, but also have the best use of packaging ever to make it as recyclable as possible while still protecting the egg from damage. The butterscotch and raisin & hazelnut bars are safely stored underneath the cardboard platform holding the egg and the egg is wrapped in foil inside a cardboard box meaning no plastic is involved. The milk chocolate egg I got was immediately claimed by my husband and the chocolate bars were then demolished by my office making this an absolute winner in flavour. This egg is available at most supermarkets as well as online and will set you back around £16.50
Best Ethical Egg - chosen for how ethical the chocolate and packaging is, you can't get more ethical than Fairtrade chocolate from a collective who also own the chocolate company, packing the egg in cardboard only (no plastic). Divine Chocolate have a delightful milk chocolate egg that comes with lots of praline mini eggs. In their pop-up shop it was the most popular of all the eggs on sale and I am not surprised. Fairtrade milk chocolate in an eco-friendly box that tastes great (the egg, not the box), what's not to love? Sadly, their pop-up shop in London is now closed but the Divine large milk chocolate eggs are available at any Oxfam shop selling food, in many supermarkets and online for around £10 so get ethical this Easter with Divine!
Most Fruity Egg - chosen for its contribution to your five-a-day (not really), the Black Forest Gateau Easter Egg weighing 468g from Thorntons has real fruit set into dark chocolate studded with cherries. I thought of how this was one of my five a day as I nibbled through this dark and yet chewy chocolate egg. The 'stained glass window' of cherries and chocolate curls was also delicious when eaten separately but the chocolate itself was quite thick and very satisfying. The dark chocolate was not too bitter and with the cherries, just right for fans of darker chocolate this Easter. At only around £10 it is available online and in shops.
Most Glamorous Egg - chosen for its sweet glittery honeycomb set into a glitter painted dark chocolate shell made with Amedei -one of the best chocolates in the world, this egg is for the actress in your life. Pinkish glitter decorates the exterior with the honeycomb set in a picture window, the inside of this high quality egg from Toot Sweets in Shrewsbury is absolutely filled to the brim with sea salt caramel eggs also with a glittery tinge (though you can choose the filling). This egg was stiff competition for the Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 egg as both are luxurious, high quality glam eggs. The extremely high quality darker chocolate makes it seem quite adult but the sweet honeycomb, glitter and little salted caramel eggs make it perfect for anyone young or old. I recommend collecting this diva to keep her looking perfect. She is available from Toot Sweets shop for only £20
Honourable mention - The American Dreamcake egg from Chocablok sold through Tescos really wasn't to my particular taste as it was far too sweet for me with too much vanilla but some kids will love it and the entire office RAVED about it, likening it to Milky Bar. It has a lovely 'stained glass window' of chunks of fudge and sweetness (if you like sweet) with a touch of dark chocolate which was the part I liked best. Available from Tescos for £5
These eggs were all wonderful in their own ways and fought off stiff competition from Rococo, William Curley, and some other top chocolate names. Do you have a "top egg" you buy year after year? Nominate them in the comments and I'll seek them out for review!