Easter is soon approaching, and with it come to the signs of Spring. The first buds appear on the trees and the days get longer. After a very, very long winter, it feels hopeful to see these new beginnings come to life.
Easter actually contains many different symbols. There are the Christian-related symbols related to Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead, as well as the more… interesting symbols like the egg-laying Easter Bunny.
One of the symbols that is shared by people with our without religious leanings is the Easter egg.
As the story goes, Easter eggs are brought to us by a hopping rabbit who lays them in colored nests. The story in America can be traced back to German immigrants who called this mythical creature “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” In their Easter traditions and tales, children were encouraged to make small nests in which this special animal could lay its colored eggs.
Christians also bestow eggs with special meaning — the shell symbolizes Jesus’ tomb, while the newborn bird represents Jesus re-emerging from it.
To this day, people around the world celebrate Easter both with eggs in their natural form, as well as with chocolate eggs.
There is something special about chocolate Easter eggs, wouldn’t you agree? They seem to taste a little better than regular chocolate. Why is that? Do chocolate-makers keep a special chocolate recipe for only their Easter chocolate or is it all in our heads? Does the anticipation make us believe that these once-a-year chocolates are actually better and worth the wait?
Why Does Easter Chocolate Taste Different?
The answer comes down to a few factors. It’s probably obvious that Easter eggs are manufactured differently than regular bars of chocolate. Could this be something that affects the taste?
Apparently, it does! According to experts, “a chocolate egg is spun so that the chocolate is thinner and so melts easily in the mouth releasing all of the cocoa notes.” This affects something called the “eat quality,” or the way a person experiences consuming a product beyond just the flavor — the texture, the aftertaste, and so on. Further, the smaller the chocolate layer is, the easier the chocolate will melt.
The way chocolate smells also triggers feelings of happiness. Chocolate contains a lot of different aroma molecules — roasted and fruity molecules. There is also sweetness, bitterness and sourness, the complexity of this rich combination is unique to chocolate and helps us enjoy it so much. While this is not specific to Easter chocolate, it does help explain why chocolate is so universally loved.
Speaking of general reasons why people the world over love chocolate so much is because of the fat ingredients in the delicious treat. Cocoa butter melts at body temperature and provides the perfect sensation and feeling in the mouth.
Chocolate Easter eggs do however combine the components of regular chocolate with the perfect shape. The roundness of the egg is the perfect shape to savour in the mouth, and the way that they melt makes them the most perfect treat. Easter eggs melt easily and the aromas of the chocolate come into your nose quite fast.
What’s more, chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a molecule that releases hormones we relate to feelings of love and happiness. This helps explain why we feel good when eating chocolate.
Another thing that does affect the Easter chocolate is the aforementioned anticipation of the chocolate that is otherwise withheld from consumers outside of the season.
The packaging, the marketing, the build-up, all contribute to how much enjoyment we get out of the chocolate
Another chocolate and food expert said, “If you look at food more than half of the experience lies outside of the taste. You taste what you make out of it; when you wrap it in a nice package and it is presented to you by the people who love you, it will make the experience much better.”
So really, a lot of it comes down to the memories that come around year after year. Many of us participated in Easter egg hunts as children, it was a time of gathering, feasting, festive colours, and Sunday best. Little fingers unpeeling coloured foil, excited with the free treats that lay scattered about, just waiting to be found.
What’s Better Than a Basket Full of Chocolate Easter Eggs?
The nostalgia of it all is a grand part of the reason that people excitedly look forward to this time of year, and the chocolate sends us back to those fun Spring days when the Easter Bunny paid us a visit.
Whether or not chocolate companies alter their recipes or have special recipes just for Easter is likely a secret that only insiders are privy to. But does it really matter if we know the truth or not?
The more important thing is that we celebrate safely with the ones we love — whether we are marking an important religious tradition or are just excited to say goodbye to winter. Easter holds something special for us all, even if it is just a memory from the past. And what a better way than to stop and savour a perfectly humble and delicious chocolate Easter egg?