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Easter one of the biggest chocolate-giving days of year

Chocolate bunnies and eggs from Panache Chocolatier
Chocolate bunnies and eggs from Panache Chocolatier Panache Chocolatier

I’ve already given you what I consider to be some very important information for this Easter weekend — a framework for which wines will work best with your holiday meal.

In doing research for that vital column, I came across some surprising statistics about another category of Easter eating — the unbelievable amount of candy we consume around Easter.

Americans spend a whopping $2.1 billion dollars on Easter candy each year. Yes, you read that right, $2.1 billion.

Easter is the second-most important candy-eating occasion of the year with Americans consuming 7 billion pounds of candy, according to the National Confectioner’s Association.

The most popular item? Chocolate Easter bunnies. Some 90-million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced each year. And in case you’re wondering, 76 percent of Americans say the bunnies should be eaten ears first, and just 4 percent support gnawing at them feet first.

For a local perspective, I posed some questions to Julie House, co-owner of gourmet chocolate producer, Panache Chocolatier on the Country Club Plaza.

House confirms that Easter’s a big chocolate holiday, and it’s getting bigger each year.

“Sales are getting closer to Valentine’s Day sales,” House said. “We are seeing an increase in consumers wanting quality chocolate without preservatives, and chocolates with higher cocoa contents and ones that are custom-made.”

House said traditional Easter baskets are always a favorite. Their baskets, filled with Panache chocolate-molded bunnies, ChocoPoppo, ChocoFlakes and chocolate-covered Oreos, are anything but traditional.

And, she said that the closer the holiday gets, the busier her business gets.

“Thursday through Saturday will be busy days with most sales focused on Easter items,” House said.

House said Panache is rolling out some special goodies this Easter, focusing on custom-crafted gifts.

“We can fill customers’ baskets or create custom baskets, all filled with Panache chocolates,” she said. “Monogrammed bunnies and eggs also are available and can be used to create a custom look for your Easter table.”

I checked in with Godiva, which was optimistic about chocolate sales this Easter.

Just as the earlier numbers, indicate, Godiva said Easter is a close second to Valentine’s Day in chocolate purchases, and it’s picking up steam.

Like Panache on the local level, Godiva said people are seeking higher quality, more artisanal chocolates, and Godiva is happy to oblige.

The company wouldn’t part with any sales numbers, or even percentage increases, but they did provide the top three sellers:

▪ Milk Foil Bunny

▪ Eggstra Special Egg

▪ Dark Foil Bunny

I’m not sure, but I think if you look closely enough, before you take a bite, you’ll find just a hint of a smile on the Godiva chocolate bunnies.

Happy Easter.

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.

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