The smallest eggs are about 10 inches high, made from about 500 grams of chocolate. The eggs can be as large as five kilos, which is a hefty amount of chocolate indeed.
Each egg is balanced on a little plastic cup to make it stand up straight. Then it’s placed on a square of colorful foil which is gathered up around the egg and fastened in a topknot, often with a ribbon.
Some eggs contain prizes that are targeted for girls, others for boys. The eggs for girls are labeled “Bimba” in large letters while those for boys say “Bimbo.” This is diminutive for the word bambino, child, with the characteristic “a” ending for feminine words and “o” for masculine. It always makes me giggle since “bimbo” in American English usually means a ditzy female. I’m longing to call a male American friend Bimbo. But I digress.
Commercial eggs targeting adults use other ploys. Perugina, the manufacturer of Baci candies, makes an egg featuring the dark chocolate of their kisses; the prize inside these eggs is four Baci. Lindt, from neighboring Switzerland, gets in the act, too. Their elegant eggs are wrapped in red foil and topped with gold ribbon.
And the choices! One company produces a candy bar called Novi made from chocolate embedded with hazelnuts. Their egg is called “Noccciolato,” combining the Italian word nocciola (hazelnut) and cioccolato (chocolate). It’s the only egg I’ve seen that’s bumpy.
People stand in the aisles discussing the merits of milk chocolate vs. dark. They’re both available, but you have to read the label carefully.
The pastry shops and chocolate confectioners make the eggs by hand with elaborate decorations. The prizes inside these eggs tend to be more elegant, too. These shops are prepared to make eggs to order. You see chocolate egg halves awaiting a customer’s special prize. Engagement rings are frequently tucked into these.
The customary way to open a chocolate egg to get at the prize is to punch it with your fist. It seems crass, but that’s the custom. And you do get a little bit of joy at feeling the chocolate give way to your blow.
|Billie Mochow's sugar egg|
The egg season was over. Billie found her own source and has produced an incredible work of art. And just as I expected, egg molds began appearing in upscale cookware shops a few weeks ago, but they’ll be gone soon.