12 perfect Easter eggs for the chocolate lovers in your life
Claire O'Mahony has scoured the shops to find the perfect chocolate offering for your family and friends this Easter Sunday
It's a truth universally acknowledged that no matter how old you are, a foil-wrapped Easter egg causes frissons of excitement. You don't have to have quit sweets for Lent and you don't have to be a chocolate-lover to appreciate that an Easter egg marks a turn in the year.
Good times and better weather are on the horizon and of course it means licence to almost send yourself into a chocolate coma on Easter Sunday. Easter excess is actually far better than Christmas overconsumption.
For a start, it's only one day of the year, as opposed to the several weeks of binge-eating that Christmas adds up to.
And while Christmas is an all-out gluttony of the unholy trinity of fat, carbs and alcohol, Easter's immoderation sees it confined to just one food group, chocolate - and such is the Irish love for chocolate, you can practically call it a food group in this country.
A nation of chocoholics, we're one of the highest consumers of chocolate per capita in the world. According to a survey carried out by Repak last year, the average Irish person gives three eggs, with a figure in the region of 17 million sold here - that's a lot of eggs.
Another great reason to embrace the way of the Easter egg is that you're actually continuing on an ancient tradition. It's not just a marketing ploy dreamed up by chocolate companies to line their pockets because the practice of decorating eggs goes back some 5,000 years.
In cultures all around the world, the egg is the symbol of new life and heralding the arrival of spring - although early pagans had no idea that their symbol of fertility would be one day reimagined in the form of a Hello Kitty Easter egg with a hand-decorated sugar dress.
For Christians, the egg symbolises the resurrection of Jesus and also ties into Lent because historically, Christians didn't eat meat or eggs during this period, which makes us giving up sugar in our tea for the Lenten period look like a half effort.
Chocolate eggs entered the equation in the early 19th century in Germany and France but it wasn't until 1875 that John Cadbury made the first Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs - these early ones were made of 'dark' chocolate with a plain smooth surface and were filled with sugared almonds. Modern-day options are limitless in comparison.
The only problem is what to choose? Try our suggestions for these crowd-pleasing eggs to suit all family members and friends. You're welcome.
Best for your boyfriend
Nothing too cutesy or beribboned will work here but Tesco Finest Egg Coop should appeal to his masculine sensibilities. This wooden box contains mini eggs that are hand-decorated with splashes to approximate real eggs and made with Belgian chocolate.
He'll thank you for not giving him one decorated with bunnies and chicks.
BUY: €10, Tesco
Best for your brother
The cult of Star Wars is a powerful thing. Your brother doesn't even have to be a fan to appreciate the awesomeness that is a Darth Vader egg, which is exclusive to Marks and Spencer. This milk chocolate hollow egg is low frills but he'll find something very satisfying in moving to the chocolate side of the Force.
BUY: €10.49, Marks and Spencer
Best for your dad
He doesn't have to be a pint of plain man to appreciate the velvety taste of the Guinness Easter egg, a dark chocolate egg that comes in sleek packaging. It also contains dark and white creamy chocolate ganache truffles that are flavoured with Guinness. They contain less than 1pc alcohol so even if he eats them all in one sitting, he won't feel woozy.
BUY: €16.99, Tesco
Best for your gran
Your grandmother is unlikely to be bothered with artisan concoctions or anything with salted caramel. At a guess, she's probably a traditionalist at heart so something old-school like Fallon & Byrne's Country Style Eggs should hit the spot nicely. Prettily decorated with images of rabbits and chickens and filled with delicious Gianduja chocolates might remind her of the good old days.
BUY: €8.95 from Fallon & Byrne.
Best for your best friend
There was a hoopla earlier in the year when Cadbury change the recipe for Crème Eggs and stopped using Dairy Milk chocolate. Nonetheless, the classic, gooey Crème Egg is still one of the greatest symbols of Easter. It's fun and notwithstanding the recipe tweaking, it's an ever reliable. Rather like your best mate in fact.
BUY: Medium egg, €3, Supervalu
Best for your sister
Unless she's a high-maintenance kind of person, we suggest saving your big Easter egg outlay for your mum. Not that your sister will feel short-changed by this white chocolate lamb from Lidl, which is just too cute to look at. It's delicious tasting too and looks far more expensive than it actually costs.
BUY: €2.49, Lidl
Best for your mum
Mother's Day might have only been a few weeks ago but the fact is mums have to be spoiled - it is their unassailable right. Treat her to a big hamper from Lily O'Brien's that includes a chocolate bunny and egg as well as 18 dessert-inspired chocolates, all in a pretty basket. It will make her feel special.
BUY: €25.99 from retailers and www.lilyobriens.ie
Best for the Frozen fan
There can be no substitutions here so there's really nothing for but a Frozen egg meal set. As well as the milk chocolate egg, it comes with a bow, spoon and beaker. Given the rampage that parents went on at Christmas trying to nab Frozen gifts for their children, this is one egg you'd be best trying to pick up sooner rather than later.
BUY: €9.95, www.gifts.ie
Best for the fashionista
For the style maven in your life, naturally it has to be an egg that has 'Vogue' in its title. Tesco Finest Vogue egg is made from Belgian chocolate and hand-decorated with gold feuilletine and dark chocolate accompanied by dulce de leche and passion fruit and mango chocolates. Although he or she may blame you when they can't fit into their skinny jeans after eating it.
BUY: €13.99, Tesco
Best for the health conscious
Finding an egg for the dairy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and egg-free person in your life isn't as difficult as it sounds, thankfully. Kinnerton's dark chocolate egg, which comes with a bar of dark chocolate is ideal for anyone who can't or who'd rather not indulge in the real deal.
BUY: €9.95, Fallon & Byrne
Best for your niblings
If you're gifting your young nieces and nephew with chocolate, you should be conscious that your egg is in addition to what they've already received and that you risk sending them into orbit with the extra sugar. Their parents will appreciate it if you think small, so a bag of small chocolate eggs, prettily wrapped up in coloured cellophane, will go a long way.
BUY: 99c for bag of mini chocolate eggs, Aldi
Best for a standby gift
In the same way that it's always advisable to have a bottle of wine or chocolates wrapped up and ready at Christmas in case of unexpected guests, you should also have an extra egg, just to be on the safe side. Lindt's milk chocolate Chick Shell egg, which comes with a little miniature chick, looks cute and won't break the bank, while the chocolate is oh-so-smooth.
BUY: €5.99 from retailers nationwide
Best for the wow factor
If you really want to impress and money isn't any object, the Giant Golden Lattice egg from Marks and Spencer should do the trick. They're touting it as the ultimate Easter egg, which comes in at a whopping 1.5kg of milk chocolate and hand-piped with gold. So pretty you may not want to eat it.
BUY: €60, Marks and Spencer