Chocolate brownie points: picking the perfect Easter egg for your loved one
Choosing the right oval-shaped delight for your loved one doesn't have to be a chore. As Katy McGuinness found out, there's a cocoa-filled delicacy out there for all tastes and dietary needs
Finding the right egg for the right person might mean seeking out something more interesting than the old reliables... without having to break the bank. Here, we compile a list of the best Easter eggs on the market to suit your special someone.
1. BEST FOR YOGIS
M&S Yoga Bunny, €9
One for the leggings brigade, this little rabbit - performing a more-than-acceptable downward dog - is not so big that it will throw anyone's dietary regimen completely off track, nor so small as to be stingy. Made of smooth milk chocolate, the bunny is positioned on a base (yoga mat?) fashioned out of raspberry nibs, providing contrast of both flavour and texture.
Marks & Spencer stores nationwide.
2. BEST FOR THOSE WHO LIKE A LOT OF CHOCOLATE
Skellig Solid Chocolate Egg, €35
Sometimes Easter eggs can prove very disappointing - particularly when the chocolate is thin and has no substance to it. There's no danger of disappointment with this hefty egg from Skellig Chocolate in Ballinskelligs, which contains a full kilo of chocolate. We fancy the Hazelnut Praline version, but you can choose between Mint, Caramel, Teeling's Whiskey, Glendalough Gin & Tonic, Strawberry Champagne and Honeycomb Marshmallow flavours. There's a smaller 400g size available too, priced at €17.50, for those keeping an eye on their calorie consumption.
Independent retailers, including Ardkeen Stores and 64 Wine, and online at skelligschocolate.com.
3. BEST FOR CHILDREN (1)
M&S Moonbeam the Unicorn, €7.50
This cute little white chocolate unicorn is a good size for a child, especially if they are likely to be in receipt of a few eggs from well-meaning aunties, uncles and grandparents. The unicorn has pastel-coloured features and a hand-painted horn.
Marks & Spencer stores nationwide.
4. BEST FOR CHILDREN (2)
The Chocolate Garden Easter Bunny, €7.50
This Irish-made Easter Bunny is a cheerful, hollow milk-chocolate Easter rabbit made with both white and milk chocolate. It's not too big, and cute enough that very disciplined children may decide to look at it for months rather than eat it.
The Chocolate Garden in Tullow, Avoca and other independent retailers, and online at chocolategarden.ie.
5. BEST FOR SERIOUS BEAN-TO-BAR TYPES
70pc Tanzania Kokoa Kamili Dark Chocolate with Achill Island Irish Sea Salt, from €17
The Proper Chocolate Company makes single origin bean-to-bar chocolate in Dublin and this special multi-faceted egg will please the most demanding of chocolate nerds. The chocolate is designed to marry the cacao's natural aromas (brownie batter, red berries and peanut) with the mineral and subtle seasoning flavours of Achill Island Sea Salt. This egg is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. You can have it without packaging for €17 (it will be wrapped in compostable food-grade paper instead); it's €20 with packaging. Other eggs include a milk chocolate and salted caramel version, and an organic 85pc dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic.
Independent retailers, including Lotts & Co, and The Hopsack in Dublin, Rua in Castlebar, McCambridge's in Galway, at Proper Chocolate's stall in the H2G market in Glasnevin on Saturdays, and online at properchocolatecompany.com.
6. BEST FOR BIG KIDS
Lir Cola And Popping Candy Egg, €9
Irish chocolatier Lir's new range includes the Lir Cola And Popping Candy Egg With Milk Chocolate Truffles, a combination that's proved to be a hit with small and big kids alike. There's also a Crispy Caramel Egg With Salted Caramel Truffles and a White Chocolate Egg With Praline Truffles at the same price. If you want to buy Irish and aren't in the market for a more expensive artisan egg, this is a good choice. All Lir eggs are hand-decorated and therefore unique.
Tesco, Dunnes Stores, SuperValu, Spar, Eurospar, Londis and Mace, and from the Lir factory shop in Navan.
7. BEST LUXURY EGG
Lorge, selection priced from €9.50
Benoit Lorge is a French chocolatier based in Bonane, 10km outside Kenmare, who has a devoted following. His beautiful handmade eggs are dreamily luxurious and could not fail to please. Suitable for absolutely anyone who will appreciate a top of the range egg. For €39.95, you'll get a large egg filled with 20 handmade chocolates.
Ardkeen Stores and other independent retailers.
8. BEST FOR SOPHISTICATED TYPES ON A BUDGET
Tesco Finest Belgian Dark Chocolate And Raspberry, €6.69
All Tesco Ireland's Finest eggs are made by Lir in Navan. This hollow Belgian dark chocolate egg is decorated with freeze-dried raspberry pieces and Belgian white chocolate. The dark chocolate contains 70pc cocoa and has an intense flavour that's nicely balanced by the tang and sweetness of the decorations.
Tesco branches nationwide.
9. BEST SHOWSTOPPER EGG
Aldi's Specially Selected Exquisite Birdcage And Egg, €15.99
This masterpiece in chocolate combines extravagance and craftsmanship, and both milk and dark chocolate. The inner egg, made from dark chocolate, Guerande sea-salted caramel and feuilletine pieces, depicts a 'birds of paradise' pattern in a gold shimmer. This is enclosed in a precision-cut milk chocolate cage, and hand-finished with a coat of shimmering bronze. One egg that definitely has the wow factor.
Aldi branches nationwide.
10. BEST FOR FANS OF WHITE CHOCOLATE
Lidl Deluxe Handmade White Chocolate Egg, €7.99
Made in Cavan by Aine Handmade Chocolate, this simple egg is also available in milk chocolate; both versions are gluten free so are suitable for coeliacs.
Lidl branches nationwide.
11. BEST FOR THOSE WITH A SALTED CARAMEL ADDICTION
Bean & Goose Milk Chocolate Sea Salted Caramel Egg, €18.50
This grown-up egg is the same size as a real goose egg, filled with handmade Irish sea-salted caramel. If you think that sounds delicious, you are absolutely right. Wexford-based Bean & Goose is one of the few genuine bean-to-bar chocolatiers in Ireland, rated highly by people who know their chocolate. Bean & Goose also makes a rather lovely, elegant chocolate hare, available in 40pc milk chocolate from Ghana and 70pc dark chocolate from Saint Domingue (€17.50).
Avoca, independent retailers and online at beanandgoose.ie.
12. BEST CLASSIC IRISH-MADE EGG
Dunnes Simply Better Single Origin Columbian Milk Chocolate Egg, €12.99
This classy egg comes with six milk chocolates and is made by Aine Handmade Chocolate in Cavan. There's a dark chocolate version too, and the pair would make a lovely Easter gift for a person or couple who can't decide whether they prefer milk or dark chocolate.
Dunnes Stores branches nationwide.
13. BEST FOR ARTISTS
L'Art Du Chocolat Dark Chocolate Sheep, €25
Maynooth's French master chocolatiers have created a new range of hand-crafted Easter eggs using top quality Valrhona chocolate. The eggs are colour-splashed and polka-dotted, and visually arresting; each one stands on a base made of chocolate filed with mini eggs. There's also a rather charming abstract Chocolate Sheep with a Ducley Crispy Pearl coat.
A taste of home
Irish Easter eggs are also available from Butler's, Lily O'Brien and Marks & Spencer (some of whose eggs are made by Lir) and small artisan producers such as Koko in Kinsale, Zaeire in Wexford, Noo Chocolates in Ballina, Clo's Chocolate at Le Fournil, Sligo, Kilbeggan Chocolate, The Truffle Fairy in Thomastown, Wilde Irish Chocolate in Lough Derg, Hazel Mountain Chocolate in The Burren, Chocolaty Clare (vegan chocolate) in Dublin, Choc O'Neill in Naas, Torc in Longford Town and Lusso in Cork.