Chocolate is one of the most popular foods in Germany. Chocolate making and tasting is literally an art form. Young and old love it in all of its variations – milk, dark, white etc., and it makes its way into homes as yummy bars, figurines, fillings and coatings. So what would Easter be without chocolate?
Why is chocolate such an integral part of German Easter?
Historically speaking, the first chocolate Easter bunny was made in Germany in the middle of the 19th century. Back then, it was still solid and weighed several kilograms, since initially, it wasn’t meant to be consumed by candy-nibbling kids but rather serve as shopping window advertisement. But you know already that this didn’t work out that way.
Kids liked the bunny shaped chocolate so much that soon it made its way across the globe – as decoration item as well as sweet gift.
Even though the Easter bunny is the most popular chocolate shape for Easter, you can also find chick, lamb and ladybug shaped chocolate delicacies on the shelves wrapped in bright colors.
Today Germany sells over 130 million pieces during Easter season and only about 40% go abroad.
In fact, the chocolate Easter bunny is more popular than his seasonal counterpart – the chocolate Santa. Entire 57% of all hollow chocolate figurines produced in Germany are Easter bunnies!
What are the various types, flavors and brands?
Here German manufacturers can become really creative. Besides the famous hollow chocolate figurines, there are many other creations. Just some of the highlights to get an idea:
- Chocolate eggs with a variety of fillings such as hazelnut, milk crème, marzipan, nougat, yogurt crème and even alcohol, OR in case of the Kinderüberraschung filled with small toys.
- Solid handmade Easter chocolates made either in stores or at home
- Chocolate-covered nuts and jelly figurines
The flavor strongly depends on the quality of ingredients, doesn’t matter whether it’s white, milk or dark chocolate. Til this day, many chocolate makers and manufacturers keep their exact recipe a closely guarded secret.
The most famous German manufacturer is probably Milka – the purple and white cow. Milka was founded in 1825, when the confectioner Philippe Suchard opened a candy store in Switzerland, the brand name Milka derives from ‘Vollmilch’ (milk) and ‘Kakao’ (cocoa). The main reason why Milka is one of the popular Easter brands is because they produce a unique, yummy Easter egg that has a crème based filling of either hazelnut, milk or cocoa. Very delicious!
Kinder Chocolate (Kinderschokolade): Kids in Germany love this chocolate! So what would an Easter be without it? Kinder is known for its very milky chocolate flavor, creamy fillings with the option of very crispy thin wafers. Kinderüberraschung eggs are filled with Easter toy surprises and special seasonal treats include filled eggs, filled Kinder bunnies, Bueno wafers and more.
Lindt & Sprüngli are famous for their ‘Gold Hase’ chocolate bunnies. Even though this chocolate manufacturer has its roots in Switzerland, it has a longstanding history in Germany through the licensing agreement with the Leonard Monheim AG.
Riegelein is a family business located in Cadolzburg near Nuremburg. The company specializes in chocolate figurines – both hollow and solid. Its Easter bunnies are very popular and sell in over 50 countries. In other words, every 3rd bunny ends up in another country! One of Riegelein’s success secrets must be their quality since they have received several awards over the past years.
Niederegger is located in northern Germany and known for its delicious marzipan and nougat. One of its Easter specialties are their marzipan eggs: As the name suggests, this sweet treat is made entirely out of marzipan. In order to give them a little twist, they are filled with alcohol, jelly or covered with chocolate. These items often serve as a great decoration as well as Easter treat and therefore are extremely popular.
Asbach Cognac Chocolates: As the name suggests, these chocolate bunnies and eggs are filled with Asbach Uralt brandy that give it its characteristic bitter flavor. So, nothing for the little ones but the sweet-toothed adults! If you never have tried their filled chocolate treats before, then start with one that says: “Sugar Crust”, because you’ll get hooked. Imagine a layer of dark chocolate, then a thin sugar crust and as the crowning some brandy or whiskey inside… One recommendation though: Keep them in the fridge or freezer!
You are definitely ready for a chocolate treat at this point. If you’ve never tried any German Easter chocolate before, it’s time now. You can’t go wrong – milk, dark or white chocolate – bunny, chick or lamb – filled hollow or solid – it’s only up to your personal preference!
For those who made it through the whole post, here is how to kill a chocolate Easter bunny properly: