Easter is a holy day to be sure. It can also be VERY sweet! Seth Doane shows us one reason why:
Watch out, Santa: At the Easter Bunny’s version of the North Pole (in central Italy, near Perugia), they’re churning out chocolate eggs, working 24 hours a day to produce around 50,000 eggs per day.
The Perugina Chocolate Factory is best known for its little hazelnut baci. But leading up to Easter, it’s all about eggs.
“You’re thinking about Easter, back in October?” asked Doane.
“Yes, because we need to produce a lot,” said Francois Pointet, the director at Perugina. “We produce around four million Easter eggs in this factory.”
They’re known for their chocolate, but the surprise gift inside each egg is a vital ingredient.
“We ensure all Easter eggs contain at least one surprise,” said Pointet. So cameras monitor to make sure each egg gets one.
“We want people to be happy!” Pointet smiled.
Chocolate Easter eggs are a big deal in Italy -- a good enough gift for a pope! Perugina exports its eggs to America and around the world.
But at Cecilia e Paul in Perugia, their artisanal creations are so fragile, they cannot be shipped. They sell for up to $45 a piece.
“We do lots of different sizes of eggs,” said Paul De Bondt. “Milk chocolate, white chocolate, very dark chocolate, special things.”
There’s great attention to detail here. Some are shaded with coats of chocolate and cocoa butter. After two-and-a-half decades of doing this, most of it comes naturally.
After 25 years, Cecilia De Bondt may be running out of ideas on what to hide inside the eggs. “I have to change the present inside every year,” she laughed. “I really don’t know what to put in!”
A little orange packet holds this year’s surprise gift. But sometimes it’s Paul and Cecilia who are surprised by the special requests.
Doane asked what are some of the craziest things people have asked them to put inside a chocolate egg. “A shoe,” replied Cecilia.
Once it was a diamond -- they had to be pretty careful with that egg!
From the artisanal to the abstract, Federico Cari is an artist who uses coated chocolate eggs as his canvas, making each egg a little different -- for example, painting opera legend Maria Callas Andy Warhol-style, on an egg.
“It’s the best gift that you want since you are a child,” Cari said. “The special thing is that we don’t put the surprise inside, ‘cause for us the egg is the surprise.”
He’s challenging tradition on all levels. At his Bompiani pasticceria in Rome, this year’s theme is music – a tribute in chocolate eggs to Grace Jones and her wild hats, David Bowie, and Patti Smith’s song, “Wild Leaves.”
Cari’s eggs can take hours or days to complete, and sell for more than $400.
“You spend so much time, and then people crack these open,” said Doane.
“This for me, that can break my heart every time,” he laughed.
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