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Origins of Chocolate Easter Eggs

Updated on November 9, 2014

Food and Holidays

Almost as soon as Valentine's Day is over, stores begin stocking their shelves with Easter candy as Easter, like Valentines Day, Halloween and Christmas all result in booming candy sales.

As I have pointed out in many of my other holiday Hubs, while holidays are the observance of an important religious (such as Easter) or secular events (such as the Fourth of July in the U.S. or similar national events in other nations) they always involve some type of coming together and celebrating by people.

Since pre-historic times food has been a means of satisfying both a biological need of the body as well as a social act that brings people together emotionally. In the case of certain holidays - Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas - a main, if not the main, food is candy, especially chocolate candy.

Chocolate is a Relatively New Addition to Our Easter Traditions

While chocolate plays a big part in today’s Easter celebrations, this has not always been the case for two reasons.

First, while Christians have been celebrating Easter for over 2,000 years, chocolate was only introduced to Europe following the discovery of the New World by Columbus in 1492.

And, it was really the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes who, in 1529, following his conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico, introduced to the Spanish aristocracy the chocolate drink that was popular with the Aztecs.

Second, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that chocolate manufacturers were able to develop a way to produce chocolate in a solid form that could be eaten rather than mixing it in a drink.

As I have described in some of my other Easter Hubs, Easter Rabbits and Easter Eggs have long been a part of our Easter traditions. However, Easter rabbits and Easter eggs made of chocolate are a relatively new creation.

Beginning in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1700s & 1800s) economic growth and rising incomes led to an increase in the numbers of people who were able to afford little luxuries and much of this spending on luxury extras was for extras for holiday celebrations.

Whereas in times past people decorated and exchanged chicken and duck eggs, beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries manufacturers began producing simple egg shaped toys to be given to children at Easter.

In 19th century Victorian England producers began selling eggs made out of cardboard and covered with a satin or plush cloth. These hollow eggs were filled with candies and other little gifts.

Chocolate Easter Bunny
Chocolate Easter Bunny | Source

Cadbury Introduces French Eating Chocolates to England

Beginning in 1842 John Cadbury, whose chocolate shop was the forerunner of today’s Cadbury brand of fine chocolates, produced the first solid chocolates in England.

These little candies, known as French Eating Chocolates, consisted of a course grained and somewhat bitter, dark chocolate that more than likely served as a covering on a small lump of spiced sugar.

Five years later in 1847 the chocolate firm of J.S. Fry and Sons developed a way of combining cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar into a paste which could be placed in a mold to produce uniform shaped candies that could be individually wrapped.

While more like today’s chocolates than Cadbury’s French Eating Chocolates, this candy produced by J.S. Fry & Sons was still less sweet and had a courser texture than today’s milk chocolate candies.

First Chocolate Easter Eggs in England

It wasn’t until 1875 that the Cadbury firm came out with its first chocolate Easter egg.

Cadbury appears to have used a process similar to that used by J.S. Fry and Sons for their 1847 chocolate candy. These first Cadbury eggs consisted of a smooth layer of dark chocolate enclosing a sweet filling.

The chocolate and filling were considerably different from the delicious Cadbury Crème of today as the chocolate was not the same smooth and sweeter milk chocolate used today and the fillings were not the luscious creams found inside Cadbury Cream eggs today.

Improving Easter Candy with Milk Chocolate

It wasn’t until 1905 that Cadbury began producing eggs using milk chocolate.

Adding milk to chocolate was a major advance but it did not come about until late in the nineteenth century after a number of years of work by a Swiss chocolatier named Daniel Peter who developed the process with the help of his friend Henri Nestlé.

Their companies were later combined to form what is today the Nestlé Corporation.

More Options for Easter Basket Treats and Easter Egg Hunts

Combining milk with the chocolate makes for a smooth chocolate which can be easily molded into a variety of shapes. It also enables manufacturer’s of chocolate to create hollow chocolate Easter eggs and other hollow Easter creations such as Easter bunnies.

Among the advantages of hollow figures are the ability to make larger creations while, at the same time, keep costs down by using less chocolate.

Thanks to the invention of milk chocolate, children find a larger variety of candy figures in their Easter baskets and as treats on Easter egg hunts.

And, while adult chocoholics, like me, would prefer a solid chunk of the delicious candy creation, a thick chunk of chocolate can be difficult to bite into.

© 2011 Chuck Nugent


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    • rickzimmerman profile image

      rickzimmerman 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Chuck: Great hub on a favored holiday! For the Christmas season, you might enjoy any of my more than two dozen Little-Known Santas, like:

    • sam-eg profile image

      sam-eg 6 years ago from Happy Land

      knowing that was useful. i'm not gonna just enjoy the chocolate, also now i have a story to tell, nice work chuck :)

    • Abie Taylor profile image

      Abie Taylor 6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      I've just had some chocolate lol :)

      Great hub. Up and awesome x

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 6 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      I knew parts of this from my Grandpa, but you are full of great info. very useful and voted up. I'm going to go have some chocolate now.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Thanks for sharing this great hub.

      Very interesting.

      Take care


    • profile image

      Connor 6 years ago

      Cool story bro

    • asimovebooks profile image

      asimovebooks 6 years ago

      Thanks for the history, and thank you Cadbury :)

    • profile image

      Dexter 6 years ago

      I like reading your hubs because you go in depth in history I learn something knew each and every time! Keep up the good work

    • chim4real_2006 profile image

      chim4real_2006 6 years ago

      Mh, great hub. I will get one for my Easter celebration.

    • profile image

      fun things to do at easter 6 years ago

      You can't beat easter eggs!!! I love putting mine in the freezer! mmmm!

    • Rudra profile image

      Rudra 6 years ago

      Now that Easter is approaching, time to enjoy these wonderful eggs.

    • Taylorwise profile image

      Taylorwise 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Great hub! I gotta go buy chocolate eggs and peeps...

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I'd never thought much about all that Easter candy (except, of course, that I absolutely love to see it showing up in stores - a sign of Spring as far I'm concerned). The US - Twelfth on average amount of chocolate per person? No wonder so many of us are so often grouchy all year long. :)

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Irn513 - Thanks for the comment but I double checked and Easter this year (2011) is Sunday April 24th - April 25th is a Monday.

    • profile image

      lrn513 6 years ago from NJ

      very interesting! but Easter is on the 25th this year. You may want to change that :) Otherwise very good!

    • Chouji-Von-Lycan profile image

      Chouji-Von-Lycan 6 years ago

      very informative, thnak you for sharing

    • darntoothysam profile image

      darntoothysam 6 years ago from Burnsville, MN

      I thought the magic bunny just plopped them out all over the world like Santa ... Now I'm sad.


    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Now I must go buy some chocolate and eat them until I am sick. Good day, good hub.

    • bugslady8949 profile image

      bugslady8949 6 years ago from The Bahamas

      I did not know all their was so much information on chocolate Easter eggs, you did a great job keep up the good work.

    • Nomason profile image

      Nomason 6 years ago from Nigeria


    • exinco profile image

      exinco 6 years ago from Malaysia

      great hub. really make me understand regarding the topic and Easter day itself

    • daned123 profile image

      daned123 6 years ago

      I can't wait till easter


    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Whoa - I can't believe that! Europeans consuming more chocolate than us Americans? How interesting!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Great hub. Love chocolate. I wonder why we don't consume as much here in the states. You couldn't tell that at my workplace. I learned a lot from this hub. Thank you

    • profile image

      phanivarma 6 years ago

      it was awesome hub....

    • Kyle246 profile image

      Kyle246 6 years ago from United States

      Nice haha that was interesting

    • kafsoa profile image

      kafsoa 6 years ago

      I like your article but I like eating them more ;)Joke

      Nice hub.

    • Rudra profile image

      Rudra 6 years ago

      Brilliant, these eggs are brilliant.

    • chillingbreeze profile image

      chillingbreeze 6 years ago from India

      I love chocolates and your article is really informative. Many things, I know after reading the article about chocolates.

    • smanty profile image

      smanty 6 years ago

      Really interesting. I knew markets were based around time of year, but I was really surprised that easter came so close to Halloween.

    • sagbee profile image

      sagbee 6 years ago from Delhi

      I am planning to make my Easter happening and your hub has provided nice ideas to me to make my Easter unique.

    • antoinettelew08 profile image

      antoinettelew08 6 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Voted it up

      WOW I never thought Europeans consumes much more chocolate than Americans, definitely a very informative hub.

    • Leighsue profile image

      Leighsue 6 years ago

      With Easter right around the corner, its good to hear this.

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 6 years ago from Sacramento

      I had no idea that Cadbury made the first chocolate Easter eggs. Great hub!

    • veronicanotes profile image

      veronicanotes 7 years ago from California

      Great hub Chuck & thanks for sharing! I agree with bobmnu, I like the history. Chocolate,...YUM!

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 7 years ago from Michigan

      Chocolate for Easter goes way back. Thanks for sharing this information. I do enjoy my chocolate at Easter.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Interesting article full of great info. Very timely hub, Chuck.

    • sincerely25 profile image

      sincerely25 7 years ago from United States

      This is a great hub; Easter will be here right before we know it too.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I say: "Thank you, Aztecs!"

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 7 years ago

      GREAT Hub Chuck!

      You mean there are other forms of candy besides chocolate? No! Chocolate is my favorite food group!

      Interesting to note in your Hub that the U.S. ranks 12th, and that other countries who consume more of the delicious brown stuff actually weigh less!

      I'm going to add some chocolate chips to my oatmeal!

      Blessings to you and yours, EarthAngel!

    • bobmnu profile image

      bobmnu 7 years ago from Cumberland

      Another great Hub. Enjoy your tying it to history.

    • DaisyChain profile image

      DaisyChain 7 years ago from France

      Interesting information about chocolate Easter eggs. I come from York and have written about York and chocolate. Wonder when Terrys, Cravens or Rowntrees created their first eggs.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 7 years ago

      Hi Chuck. Missed you for a couple of weeks.

      It's harrowing when one thinks of all that chocolate and when I think about the sugar I start to feel a bit yuk. It' no wunder that we have a big problem with overweight. Ye I know, it's not just the sweet things but all the junk food we eat as well. With living in such a hectic world as we do it's no wunder.

      A lot of interesting facts I didn't know. Thanks Chuck for a good read. lol


    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      I love the way you think of history in it's many shapes and sizes. I sure have missed you and hope you and yours are doing great. I love this hub chuck, it's a great story to tell my granddaughter. rate up, love & peace darski

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      You always come up with amazing peaces of work. You are truly a talented writer and I hope you will keep up the good work you are doing.