The time has almost arrived, the day for us to break our steadfast and unwavering commitment to Lent. Forty long days and nights sacrificing alcohol, crisps, chocolate … okay, our poker face isn’t holding, even behind the screen. It will not surprise regular readers that we do not partake in the annual fast, our love for good food wins over every time. We do, however, fully endorse the annual breaking of the fast, in the form of gorging on Easter eggs. But you can spare us the two-for-a-fiver eggs in your local supermarket, we've rounded up some of the best, artisan options out there, so if you’re looking for a gift or just to treat yourself, look no further...
Koko is one of our personal favourites for chocolate - we regularly purchase from them as gifts as they come beautifully presented in their signature orange and turquoise packaging. We always look forward to seeing what they create for Easter, and this year the pièce de resistance is the handpainted Easter egg, each one totally unique and absolutely beautiful. They sell for €28 but there are other options at lower price points, including their take on the infamous creme egg - which we can absolutely recommend after ordering them last year.
Erik Van der Veken always had an interest in food, forgoing traditional schooling in Belgium for culinary school at the tender age of 12, and it was there that he discovered his love of chocolate. He did placements with chocolate masters around the world, and worked in the Middle East and London, but luckily for us he relocated to Dublin and set up Arcane Chocolate in 2019. His Easter eggs are on the higher end in terms of pricing, with the most expensive coming in at a whopping €70, but these are works of art, using the best ingredients, and they're filled with truffles, so no expense is spared. If this is a bit flush, they also have more reasonable hollow eggs starting from €27 and a selection box of mini Easter eggs so you can try a few different flavours. You can buy them online but theyre also stocked in a few Dublin locations like Brown Thomas and Fallon & Byrne. See the full list of their stockists on their website.
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
Based along the Wild Atlantic Way, Hazel Mountain Chocolate have taken inspiration from their surroundings for their Easter egg, which is hand painted to illustrate the wild sea crashing on the rocky shore. Hazel Mountain are a small batch, bean to bar operation meaning these are limited edition, so best to get your order in early so you don’t miss out (and they will sell out). If you do miss them, they also have very cute (and very delicious) salted caramel Easter bunnies. Even if you do get an egg you should order these as an add on.
One of the breakout stars of the pandemic, Gráinne Mullins built her business Grá Chocolates from her family home in Galway when COVID scuppered her plans to work abroad. Having won The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year in 2019, and worked as a pastry chef in Lignum, Ox and Ashford Castle, the direction slightly shifted for her when she began to experiment with creating hand painted chocolates for her friends and family. Since then, she launched her business, and is now stocked in Brown Thomas. You can buy her beautiful eggs there, or directly from her website.
Praline Chocolatiers ethically source their chocolate from France and Switzerland, and they make sure to use only the best Irish cream and butter, creating the perfect sweet snack. While they have an Easter egg on offer this year, our jaws nearly hit the floor when they tweeted about their new miniature eggs, filled with a fluffy raspberry marshmallow and fruity raspberry ganache, or a light chocolate marshmallow and a layer of signature salted caramel and peanut butter. Their Easter products are available for pre-order now and will start getting shipped on April 5th.
Using the best of Irish produce, Cocoa Atelier creates some of the most high-end and intricate looking chocolates in their Dublin-based chocolate lab. They're stocked in Donnybrook Fair and The Butler’s Pantry amongst others, and you can also buy directly from their site. Their Easter collection starts at €16.95 for the carton of six assorted mini eggs and increases to €35.95 for a larger egg which also comes with some of their handmade marshmallows. We would strongly recommend rounding out your order with a bag of chocolate drops to stick in the press for a cold evening when only a luxurious hot chocolate will do – it's the best around.
This is probably in the adult-only territory, not because of any alcohol content but we just can’t quite imagine many kids have quite developed that hankering for a creamy pint that we develop at the end of a hard week. These eggs are Guinness flavoured and decorated with the iconic Guinness Harp. It also comes with tiny little pint shaped chocolates. Not a Guinness fan? There's also a Baileys sundae.
The Source Bulk Foods
We love to see zero packaging stores popping up, and have been trying to change our behaviour and visit them as much as possible when picking up the essentials. It's usually cheaper to shop in these small independent stores rather than the big supermarkets, and can make a big difference to the amount of packaging we end up throwing out immediately after packing everything into the presses. Our favourites to frequent are Small Changes in Drumcondra and Inchicore and The Good Neighbour in Dundrum, but we spotted that The Source Bulk Foods, which has shops in Rathmines and Greystones, have launched an Easter range so you can pick up your Easter treats without the unnecessary plastic packaging - and you can buy by weight to limit the waste.
If you’re looking for some smaller eggs to create an Easter hunt around the garden, we spotted these handy packs of Tony Chocolonely eggs in Dunnes Stores, and should be available in all major supermarkets. If you haven’t tried Tony Chocolonely chocolate bars before, be warned, they're hard to stop eating, and at only a fiver a packet you may want to get a few extra bags for evening snacks.
Bean and Goose
Bean and Goose have a pretty avid following at any time of the year, and Easter is no different. They're based in Wexford where they hand-temper the chocolate on marble slabs, and they've created gorgeous chocolate animals this year which would be a perfect gift for people of all ages.
Skelligs Chocolate, based in the wilds of Kerry, have been producing their wares since 1996. The Ring of Kerry is not your average location for a chocolate factory, and they're certainly not the industrial set-up that you might expect from such a recognised and accomplished brand. This is a destination spot, with a Chocolate Café which opens seasonally to welcome tourists and locals alike, and for Easter this year you can buy both hollow and solid eggs, with fillings like salted caramel, hazelnut praline and honeycomb marshmallow. Be warned, after we wrote about them last year they stopped production for the umpteenth time due to overwhelming demand, so be quick. They also have a vegan option for your dairy-free friends.
And finally, these gorgeous eggs are too good to eat – which is apt as they are not actually edible. They're designed and produced by Gåva in Sweden to be used year after year, and you can fill them up with any little treat that you love. You may need to pay a bit more for shipping, but we love the idea of making a new family tradition and having these for years to come.