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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Chocolate Bunnies

Handmade Chocolate BunniesEver wondered why we celebrate Easter with Chocolate Bunnies?  Or how they are made?  Or how big the largest one ever made was?   Read on for the answers to these questions and everything else you ever wanted to know about chocolate bunnies.

When was the first Chocolate Bunny made?

Chocolate bunnies were initially created in Germany in the mid-19th century.  They gained mass appeal in 1890 when American shop owner Robert Strohecker created a five-foot-tall chocolate bunny as an Easter promotion in his drug store.

Why Bunnies for Easter?

In medieval Europe the rabbit was a popular symbol for spring because of it’s fecundity.  A German legend said that after a long winter’s sleep an Easter bunny would lay bright-colored eggs in the grass for good children to find.

How many Chocolate Bunnies are made each year?

Popular estimates say that about ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced worldwide every year.

Why are Chocolate Bunnies hollow?

One major reason Chocolate Bunnies are made hollow is that once a piece of chocolate is over about ½ inch thick it becomes nearly impossible to bite into and enjoy.  Making bunnies hollow allows chocolatiers to make them larger for visual impact but still enjoyable to eat.  The practice of making bunnies hollow gained popularity in America during WWII cocoa rationing.  Hollow bunnies could be produced using far less chocolate than their solid counterparts.

How are Chocolate Bunnies made?

To make a chocolate bunny, molten chocolate is poured into a bunny shaped mold.  The mold is then shaken to remove air bubbles and rotated so that the chocolate forms a thin, even shell.  After the chocolate cools it can be removed from the mold and packaged for sale.  Large factories do this all by machine, smaller shops (like us) pour, shake, and rotate all by hand.

How big is the World’s largest chocolate bunny

The largest chocolate bunny ever made was made in 2014 for Chocofest in Brazil.  It weighed over 8,000 pounds and was over 13 feet tall.  If you are interested in purchasing a giant chocolate bunny the largest one we could find comes from Miesse Candies in Lancaster, PA.  Miesse’s giant bunnies weigh over 25 pounds, are 3 feet tall and cost $500 each.  If you’re looking for a more reasonable big bunny we offer a hand decorated extra large bunny in our shop that weighs over 2 pounds and cost $49.95.

How much is the Most Expensive Chocolate Bunny?1

The world’s most expensive bunny was hand carved by a European chef and sells for about $49,000.   Careful when you bite into him, his eyes are made of 1.7 carat diamonds.

What are the different kinds of chocolate bunnies?

These days chocolate bunnies can be found dressed up like cowboys, riding a motorcycle, getting married, playing sports and just about anything you or your local chocolatier can imagine.  The Bortz Chocolate Company in Reading, Pa. is credited with being the first company to introduce bunny personalities with its accordion playing bunny in 1934.   You can check out the bunny personalities we offer here.

What’s the most popular kind of Chocolate Bunny?

While chocolate bunnies can be found in milk, dark and white chocolates hollow or filled with a variety of nuts, caramels, and ganaches; the most popular bunny is still a hollow milk chocolate bunny.

 

How long does it take to eat a 1.25 pound chocolate bunny?

At the Wolfgang Candy Company’s annual chocolate bunny eating competition the record is about 9 minutes.  We suspect it will take you a little longer.

Weirdest Chocolate Bunny?

We can’t decide which is weirder, Benedict Cummberbunny or the Zombie bunny.  Leave your comment below and let us know what you think.

Other fun bunny facts

87% of parents will buy or make Easter baskets for their children—and 81% will then proceed to steal candy from them.

89% of Americans think chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first.  5% prefer to begin with the tail.

A Fluffle is a group of bunnies… if you are in Northern Canada.

An Easter Poem

It’s spring time in Asheville and we’ve got Chocolate Bunnies on the brain.  We couldn’t resist sharing this Easter poem written by one of our team members.  Did you know that in Northern Canada a group of bunnies is called a Fluffle?  If that is the case I wonder what you call a group of chocolate bunnies?

A Ruffle Among the Fluffle Over a Chocolate Fetish Truffle

I’d like to tell you all a story,
Of an occurrence, a few years ago
That involved a bunch of bunnies
Who were scampering, to and fro.

I saw them hopping everywhere,
Here and there and yonder.
Sniffing, scratching and digging ‘round,
Their antics made me ponder.

And I finally realized, it must be food
That they were searching for.
But little did I realize
What lay ahead, in store.

I saw one of the rabbits
Tear open the paper bag,
And pull out a chocolate truffle,
As his little tail began to wag.

No sooner had he done this,
When all the other rabbits jumped
On top of this one little bunny,
Who staggered, tipped, then slumped.

A tremendous tug of war ensued
As each one tried to hold the treat.
After several minutes of wrestling though
Each and every one seemed beat.

They seemed to reach an understanding
As each one took just a bit.
All got some of the special morsel
Their satisfaction looked legit.

They skittered off as I reached down
And picked up the bag, so tattered.
Chocolate Fetish is what it read
And I thought, that’s all that mattered.

They had argued, fought and compromised
When their will was put to test
And they saw fit only to fight
When the prize was simply best!

~Special thanks to author Sonny Treadway!

6 Fun Things to do in Asheville in Spring!

While every season is beautiful in Asheville spring is definitely one of my favorites.  It may not offer the majestic grandeur of falls leaf season but along with the subtle beauty of soft green buds on trees come less crowds and less brush and briars to wade through while hiking in the woods.  Here are 6 fun things to do in Asheville in spring that you may not be able to do, or enjoy quite as much during other seasons.

A Dahlia sculpted from chocolate. As beautiful as it is delicious.

Check out some amazing flowers at the North Carolina Arboretum.

The North Carolina Arboretum offers a variety of ways to enjoy springs blooms.  You could check out the Western North Carolina Orchid Society’s Annual Show on March 29th and 30th, or the Dahlia and Mum show on May 10th, or just stroll around the cultivated gardens and hiking trails.  Whatever you decide to do at the Arboretum will be very affordable as admission is just $12.00 per vehicle (even to the plant shows!).

Hike!
The wonderful thing about early spring hiking in Asheville is the dense underbrush and foliage hasn’t had a chance to grow yet so everywhere you hike you can still get a nice view.  Save the mountain balds like Black Balsam and Max Patch for summer and fall and get out now to enjoy the last few moments of winter and spring views while you can!  A favorite close to town hike I recommend that will afford nice pre-leaf views is Rattlesnake Lodge.  An added bonus of this hike is that its access is not on the Blue Ridge Parkway which is often still closed this time of year.  Other good spring views can be found all over Hickory Nut Gorge.  I recommend hiking the Florence Nature Preserve a recently opened section of trail managed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

Zip Line at Navitat.

Beat the summer crowds and explore the forest in a new exciting way!  Navitat, located a short drive north of Asheville, features an amazing zip line experience including sky bridges and rappelling.  A great way to enjoy the outdoors and catch some mountain views… especially fun for kids.

Everything in our Easter display is edible! The “desert sand” is made of brown sugar, graham crackers crumbs, and finely ground chocolate. Maybe we should call it “dessert sand?”

Check out the Easter Displays at The Chocolate Fetish.

Occasionally spring can be a little rainy in Asheville so when your outdoor adventures are stifled by April showers come downtown and check out the Easter displays at The Chocolate Fetish.  From chocolate bunnies riding motorcycles down a road made of sprinkles to a Cowboy bunny shoot out in a brown sugar dessert our whimsical chocolate bunnies and hand decorated Easter Eggs are sure to bring out the kid in everyone.  While you’re here be sure to walk around to the back and check out the chocolatiers at work in our glassed in kitchen.  If you’re lucky you’ll get to see one of our talented artist/chocolatiers hand sculpting a one of a kind Smash Cake or Chocolate Sculpture.  Best hours to see chocolatiers at work are between 11 and 3.
Enjoy a meal on an Asheville Patio.
Once summer’s heat soaks in and droves of tourists descend on Asheville enjoying a meal al fresco losses its allure.  A cool spring day with ample sun shine affords the perfect opportunity to enjoy an outdoor meal in one of Asheville’s myriad patio dining establishments.  For patios with great atmosphere and cocktails I recommend The Southern or Mayfel’s courtyard.  For fabulous food try the patio at Carmel’s.
Attend the Asheville Herbal Festival.
In its 25th year the Asheville Herbal Festival is the place to find all the seedlings and starts you need for your herb and vegetable garden.  Held at the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market on May 2, 3, and 4 the Herbal Festival hosts a plethora of vendors from around Western North Carolina featuring culinary and medicinal herbs, veggie starts, a beekeeping demonstration, master gardeners and more.  It’s a great place to find a Mother’s Day present (to go along with a box of chocolate from The Chocolate Fetish) and it’s free!

In Honor of Elaine Gonzalez, chocolatier.

Noted chocolatier, Elaine Gonzalez, passed away this July.  Our owner Sue, and myself both had the opportunity to attend some of her classes and learn about chocolate with her.  Elaine’s passion for chocolate, mastery of chocolate, and kind unassuming nature was an inspiration to both of us as well as countless other chocolate lovers.  Here are excerpts from an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune commemorating her life and work.

Noted chocolatier, Elaine Gonzalez, passed away this July.

Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune

3:18 p.m. CDT, July 26, 2014
Elaine Gonzalez of Northbrook, an innovative chocolatier noted for transforming chocolate into edible bowls, plates, ornaments, flowers and much, much more, died July 25. She was 79.
“She was an artist and took chocolate to new places,” said restaurateur Ina Pinkney. “Everything she did had this artistry. She was more comfortable with that ingredient than anyone I ever saw with any other ingredient. It was like she was one with the chocolate.”  “I never saw anyone roll, twist and coax chocolate like she did,” Pinkney added. “I was always in awe and always learned something.”
Judith Dunbar Hines, formerly Chicago’s director of culinary arts and events, agreed that Gonzalez was a chocolate trail-blazer who could create all sorts of “fantastical things.” But what Hines remembers most is a recipe for chocolate rice pudding.  “It was a Mexican recipe…and she made it her signature,” Hines recalled. “Her style was more like the chocolate pudding. She was very quiet and calming….There was no drama out of this woman – ever.”
While Gonzalez trained with some chefs, she told the Chicago Tribune in 1983 that she most of what she learned came from family. Her mother, the late Mary Garcia, was a cooking teacher noted for elaborate cakes, the Tribune wrote in 2001 in reporting Mrs. Garcia’s death, and “whose lessons in the 1960s and ’70s opened an era of specialized cooking at home.”
Gonzalez modestly attributed her success to timing and fate in a brief biographical passage included in “Chicago Cooks,” a book of food history and memories by members of the Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a professional group.  “I was there when the chocolate craze hit this country in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” she recalled, crediting an assignment to teach a chocolate class – a subject she claimed to knowing “next to nothing” – at The Complete Cook, a North Shore cookware shop owned by the late Elaine Sherman, for getting her in the chocolate game.
“Using skills from my party-food and cake-decorating experiences, I taught what turned out to be my first class in chocolate artistry: edible, chocolate-mint-flavored place cards, personalized lollipops, and a few fancy confections,” Gonzales remembered. “Nobody had ever seen anything like that before and neither had I. I must have had an angel sitting on my shoulder that night because in spite of my lack of chocolate experience, everything worked and the excitement in the classroom was beyond description – mine as well as theirs.”
Described in “Chicago Cooks” as “an accomplished teacher of ‘all things chocolate,'” she taught at local cookware shops; became a master chocolatier; launched in 1983 a chocolate consulting firm called Chocolate Artistry; served as a consultant for Peter’s Chocolate and, in 2006, was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame. She also wrote two books on chocolate, 1983’s “Chocolate Artistry” and “The Art of Chocolate,” published in 1998.
Chocolate rice pudding recipe
Makes: 8 servings
Elaine Gonzalez demonstrated and shared this recipe with students in the now-defunct city of Chicago’s World Kitchen program. The director, Judith Dunbar Hines, added the following headnote: “This recipe is a favorite from friend and author Elaine Gonzalez, who like the dish, has roots in Spain but a heart in Mexico, where the large production of fine cooking chocolate with cinnamon is reflected in this dish. It takes a bit of patience to make, but is well worth it!”
2 quarts milk
1 ounce coarsely chopped unsweetened chocolate (use Mexican chocolate if possible)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 4-inch piece Mexican cinnamon bark
1/2 cup short-grain rice
2 large egg yolks
Cocoa for dusting the final dish before serving
1.) In a large, deep saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, chocolate and 1 cup of the sugar plus the cinnamon bark to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower the heat and add the rice. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent the grains from sticking together. Don’t be concerned if the milk at first appears to be speckled with chocolate, as this will change as the cooking progresses.
2.) Simmer, uncovered, over very gentle heat for 1 hour, stirring the mixture most of the time. Check for doneness by squeezing a grain of rice between your fingers…it should feel completely tender with no hard part in the center.
3.) Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl until well mixed. Remove 1/2 cup of cooked rice from the pot and stir into the eggs, stirring vigorously to avoid scrambling the eggs. Add this mixture to the pot, stirring for 5 minutes. The pudding should now be the consistency of soft custard (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Discard the cinnamon bark, transfer the pudding to a metal bowl set over ice and let cool, stirring occasionally. When it is room temperature, it may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for several hours.
 4.) Dust the pudding with cocoa powder and serve with lots of hot coffee, also flavored with Mexican cinnamon.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Spiceland’s Time Machine

“Samurai” on display at The Satellite Gallery until March 23rd.

Asheville is a city alive with the arts and The Chocolate Fetish is frequently blessed by the creative energies of local artists.  If you’ve been following our blog and Facebook pages then you have probably heard about talented artist Joshua Spiceland.  In addition to being an artist he is also an art teacher and part time chocolatier.  If you’ve eaten a Sea Salt Caramel from us in the last four years then chances are good his hand helped make it.  We frequently find doodles and works in progress tucked around the shop on there way to other places.


An exhibition of Spiceland’s work is on display at The Satellite Gallery in Asheville until March 23rd.  The show, titled “Time Machine,” features numerous paintings in Spiceland’s eclectic folk art inspired style. Spiceland draws inspiration form many things including art history and music and many works incorporate detailed geometric patterns.  Titles of pieces range from “Fishing for Inspiration”, “Killing Time”, and “These Rooms Have Seen It All.”   In the world of Asheville art this is a must see exhibition and a good chance to get a great deal on some fine art as Spiceland usually prices his art very affordably.  
You can see the show at The Satellite Gallery located at 5 Broadway Street in Downtown Asheville .  The gallery’s hours are 11am – 6 pm Tuesday – Saturday and 11 am – 5 pm on Sunday adn the show will be up until March 23rd.
If you would like to read more about the exhibition or about Spiceland’s art check out the following links:

Small Business Saturday

We're giving away 40 of these tote bags for FREE!  Read more to find out how to get yours.

We’re giving away 40 of these tote bags for FREE! I wonder how many pounds of chocolate one will hold?

I know you’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Small Business Saturday?  Sandwiched right between the two biggest shopping days of the year that mostly support big box and chain stores is a day encouraging you to shop small and support locally owned, independent businesses.  Small Business Saturday is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year it falls on Saturday, November 30th.

In 2010 American Express spearheaded the Small Business Saturday movement offering cardholders a credit on their accounts when they shopped at small businesses.  Today the movement has grown to being officially recognized by the US Senate and generating an estimated $5.5 Billion in consumer spending at small businesses.  If you are an American Express Cardholder you can go to www.shopsmall.com to register your card and receive a $10 credit on your statement.  Be sure to register soon as space is limited.

We hope you’ll come by this Saturday and do your part to help make Small Business Saturday one of the biggest shopping days of the year for small businesses like us!  In celebration of Small Business Saturday we have a special FREE offer for you.  This Saturday, November 30th be one of  the first 30 in store customers to mention Small Business Saturday (or first 10 online customers to write “Small Business Saturday” in the additional information section) and you’ll receive a free Shop Small Tote Bag!  So… what are you going to put in your tote bag?

Begining a Family Tradition… with chocolate!

Questions about our heirloom quality Advent calendars are pouring in so I thought I would take a moment to answer some of them on our blog.  I grew up with advent calendars.  Every year right after Thanksgiving my mom would give me a small cardboard calendar with 24 perforated doors.  Resisting the urge to drool, I would anxiously await December 1st, the day I got to open the first little door and savor the little morsel of chocolate behind it.  Advent Calendars filled with chocolate were a part of Christmas for me like decorating the tree and making Christmas cookies; they were a tradition I will always cherish.  For generations, families have marked the coming of Christmas in a variety of ways. From simple chalk markings to lighting candles, families have employed unique ways to enjoy the counting of the 24 days before Christmas.

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Here we are getting ready to fill the Advent Calendars with our chocolates. Each box represents a different day. Each bag is filled with two chocolates and decorated with festive holiday garland. You’ll never get the same chocolate twice!

Our Heirloom Advent Calendars are thoughtfully designed with 24 numbered doors behind which are a variety of our handcrafted artisan chocolates.  Every day you can savor a different Christmas themed chocolate shape in a variety of milk, dark and white chocolates.  These wooden calendars can be used year after year providing a tradition that your family is sure to treasure.  We make it easy for you to continue the tradition year after year with refill packages, 24 individually wrapped chocolates ready for you to refill your calendar.

The big question people keep asking me is, “Christmas, already?  It’s not even Halloween yet, why so early?”  For those of us who really get in the Christmas spirit it’s never too early for Christmas but more importantly advent starts on the first of December.  That gives us exactly 35 days to get all these wonderful Advent Calendars filled with delicious chocolate and heading your way.  If you’d like to see all the calendars you can check them out here http://bit.ly/16eBCvp.

Spring at The Chocolate Fetish

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Asheville is in full spring bloom and things are really starting to hop here at The Chocolate Fetish!  Chocolate bunnies of all shapes and sizes adorn our shelves in preparation for Easter next weekend.  In addition to the beautiful hand painted Easter eggs we have been making for years this year we are adding special filled eggs in four fabulous flavors; Coconut, Soft Caramel, Peanut Butter Melt-away, and Mint Melt-away.  We’ve taken our delicious German style caramel softened it with fresh cream and filled a milk chocolate shell with its gooey buttery goodness.  If caramel isn’t your thing then maybe a melt-away will inspire indulgence?  Decadent chocolate that literally melts in your mouth these chocolates are super smooth and velvety.  Available in dark chocolate and mint or milk chocolate and peanut butter they will make a great addition to an Easter basket or just a great addition to your afternoon.

Our family of Easter bunnies has grown this year as well!  In addition to the fun whimsical bunnies of years past like the motorcycle riding bunny and the bunny wearing a suit we have added the sharp shooter cowboy bunny and the sidecar family of bunnies.  You’re not going to find anything like this fabulous family of bunnies piled up on a motorcycle complete with sidecar at your local grocery store (and I guarantee ours tastes better).  A touch of color has been added to our “big eared” bunny so he now boasts pink ears and nose and fluffy white tail.  We wouldn’t want all these bunnies getting lonely so we added some friends, white chocolate lambs and hand painted chicks!

The Easter excitement doesn’t end there!  We have our signature “Dinosaur Eggs.”  A textured chocolate shell bigger than a softball is filled with little baby chocolate dinosaurs.  Kids of all ages will love breaking one of these open Easter morning to discover the delectable goodies inside.  There are also our German made real eggshell eggs.  While we do make most everything we sell right in our shop downtown every once in a while we discover something special we want to share with you from elsewhere in the world.  A few years ago our owner’s went on a chocolate tour in Germany and found these really cool real eggshell eggs.  The company first empties the eggshell (they use the egg inside to make pre-cooked egg meals, like those used on airplanes) then after cleaning, sanitizing and painting; they fill them with an amazing German hazelnut chocolate.  These eggs are super yummy and lots of fun to eat.

ImageOur owner Sue at the Gut Springenheide Factory in Metelen, Germany

Easter marks the beginning of another exciting time at The Chocolate Fetish… Chocolate Dipped Strawberry season.  Beginning Easter weekend we will be offering chocolate covered strawberries every Friday and Saturday through berry season (usually through June).  We source the biggest most delicious strawberries we can find, then dip them fresh through out the day in our signature dark chocolate blend.  At The Chocolate Fetish you’ll never get a berry that has been sitting around in a case for days.  We dip them multiple times throughout the day so you are always assured a fresh delicious berry.

Stay tuned, chocolate covered frozen bananas are coming soon….