When the wise man points to the Easter egg, the fool looks at the surprise inside. Today, we can find that more and more often, it’s the egg itself that is surprising. If a one-time goal of winning the giant chocolate egg was traditional Italian Easter lore, with the giant eggs being raffled off at one’s neighborhood coffee bar lottery, contemporary Italian Easter eggs, masterfully crafted in some of the nation’s finest pastry and chocolate laboratories, rival the Fabergé eggs in value.
Redoubtable Milanese gourmet bodega Peck always lives up to its reputation for grandeur, no matter the occasion. This year, its eggs are the ideal expression of haute patisserie as it interprets classic Easter iconography.
In homage to the famous wine caveau located within the shop’s basement - like a bank vault - pastry chef Galileo Reposo created Chocolate Grape, an egg that looks like a grape just picked from the vine. Decorated and hand-painted, it is made with Manjari chocolate, with acidic and fruity notes - just like grapes.
Inspired by the sea and the Porto Antico of Genoa, chef Marco Visciola of Il Marin proposes a limited edition of 40 Easter eggs, created in collaboration with Buffa, a historic artisan chocolate shop in Genoa. One egg has been transformed into a hyper-realistic Oyster: three chocolates and a pearl of white chocolate. Should your egg contain a fabulous Golden Ticket, you’ll be a fortunate winner of a complimentary dinner in Visciola’s superb Michelin-starred restaurant inside Genoa’s Eataly.
Recreating one of its most fabulous chocolate-truffle creations on a larger scale, La Perla of Turin has created an irresistible Tiramisu Egg for Easter 2021: cocoa, coffee, and mascarpone form multiple layers of deliciousness. This decadent creation is spun together thanks to the chocolate specialists’ expert artisan teams, and features Piedmont’s finest local ingredients.
FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES
During our second Easter holiday where conditions dictate a holiday spent locally, take a virtual journey abroad with the Milan-based Pasticceria Martesana. Thanks to their colorful creations, we can enjoy exotic destinations with their bright Fragolosona, Cioccococco and Martesananas eggs. Tropical strawberry, coconut, and pineapple aromas and figures are all represented in charming chocolate egg form - what other travel could we need once our taste buds enjoy a fruit overseas voyage?
Paolo Griffa, a chef leading the movement of fun, playful foods, and long-associated with the Michelin-starred Petit Royal in Courmayeur, instead has launched the Easter Bomb, the Easter egg that recalls the world of cartoons. Just when we all need a bit more humor to alleviate a possibly ponderous holiday season, the Easter Bomb surfaced within a boisterous universe where comic explosions abound. A chocolate “bomb," complete with its fuse, reveals the inclusion of Hazelnut Praline Ganache, IGP Piedmont hazelnuts, Pailleté Feuilletine and effervescent sugar.
DIY fanatics, and maybe the same people who insist on following at least 3 days of natural leavening for homemade Panettones, will rejoice with the creation of the Do-It-Yourself chocolate Easter egg kit from Turin-based pastry chef Davide Appendino. Named the TUOvo (which in Italian translates into a fun word play on Your Egg - Tuo Uovo), the clever kit combines artisanal chocolate and your ability to include your own special gift inside the egg. Could a Wedding Egg version on the horizon, following the tremendous success of the Easter version?
ART OF CHOCOLATE
Bodrato, an artisan chocolatier from Piedmont’s Novi Ligure, has focused this year on its version of a classic Boero chocolate, with 60% dark chocolate and candied black cherries from Bagnaria, pungent and sweet. They’ve also produced the stunning Pistachio Egg, a green, fragrant testament to the perfect of pistachio and chocolate. Here, we can luxuriate in a base of dark chocolate with pistachio paste, followed by more layers of pistachio, white chocolate and crumbled hazelnuts. The chocolate specialists are once again calling upon their own proven classics, like the ultra-chic Uovo Astrazione, where chromatic interplay creates optical dream-like visual effects.
The Uovo di Tortora Cioccolato expresses the meticulous care Andrea Tortora puts into each of his creations. This year, Tortora has created a limited edition of 500 fine chocolate pieces. His creations are a genuinely sartorial work as viewable in their fine chocolate shells that ensconce the prized Tonda Gentile hazelnut from the heart of Piedmont’s Alta Langa area. The hazelnuts are gloriously enhanced with a dip into local creamy Gianduia.
The chocolate craftsmanship continues with their external decorations: hand-scratched by Tortora, who leaves his material mark on each egg. The scratches represent an excavation of sorts - digging deep into the great Italian gourmet and chocolatier traditions.
A MESSAGE IN THE EGG
The Uovo Rotto (Broken Egg) by chef Antonio Zaccardi, long-time sous chef for Enrico Crippa at Piazza Duomo, and Turin-based chocolatier Guido Gobino is the egg of rebirth. This visually-rewarding Easter egg is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi, or the reconstruction of broken ceramic objects using a golden mixture to restore not only the object's lost function but also its new beauty. Zaccardi and Gobino’s eggs were painted following this inspiration - Extra Bitter Blend chocolate with 70% aromatic cocoa from Ecuador and Venezuela and Italian sugar.
Recognizing our need to look forward towards change and hope for the future, particularly during today’s complex period where many are unable to reconnect in person with family and friends, Baratti&Milano has decided to re-introduce one of its most charming and helpful services already in use during the 1800s. Today, the Milan-based historic pastry and coffee boutique will hand-deliver its Cilindro jewellery case, which in this case, will contain its 2021 chocolate Easter egg.
In the first of its kind, Easter 2021 will also provide online purchasing options for the Baratti&Milano Cilindro Jewel Box. This prestigious Easter gift will have the option for delivery throughout Italy and other countries worldwide (including Europe, the USA, and Azerbaijan). The gift package will also include another scrumptious morsel produced locally in Turin: a mapo of Savoy Turin as it was in 1925 - but this is not just a map, it’s part of the edible Easter egg packaging in the guide of a crisp, sweetened paper treat.
This Easter, we’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to explore the gourmet history of an Italian city, via its fine craftsmanship and absolute top-quality within the world of chocolatiers and confectionary Maisons. The artisanal Italian Easter egg, after all, represents an ancient symbol of Italian beauty and elegance. Piedmont’s history is rich with a marvelous array of noble confectioners, who ably translated the art and techniques of their sweet-making into the seasonal, holiday creation of chocolate jewels destined for the homes of the city’s families, helping lay the foundation for contemporary Italy’s Easter egg traditions.
Reading about the Italian maître chocolatiers got you in a tizzy for more Italian gourmet artisanship? It’s never too early to start thinking about Panettone, especially if it’s artisanal. Be sure to check out Francesca Ciancio’s article on Sustainable Panettone for more info on what you’re going to want to include at next year’s Italian winter holiday bonanza. What to drink with all this amazing chocolate? Wine is great for that - check out the Mamablip Wine Selections and learn what to pair with these sweet treats.