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good-food

In the pursuit of 'Eggsellence'

Rather than Easter egg hunts this year, I’ll be trying to track down chocolate treats that are a genuine pleasure to eat. Maybe it’s just my age, but the usual offerings just don’t seem to feel that special anymore.

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I mean, today’s Easter eggs are so paper thin they’d crack if you blew on them – not like those we had 30 years ago, when they took effort to break, with shells satisfyingly chunky enough to take a decent bite. Now you’d need to snaffle two or three of those wafer-like shells to get the equivalent chocolate hit, and even then potentially still feel cheated.

I blame it on ‘shrinkflation’. Not only has Easter egg packaging shrunk (and yes, that’s a good, sustainable thing), but the products themselves have got smaller as well, as if they’ve had to lose several inches to fit into their new more compact wrappings.

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Ultimately of course, it’s all about the chocolate itself and as Easter eggs have got cheaper and cheaper, I’d argue that the chocolate often tastes cheaper as well. After all, when you’re buying three eggs for a tenner, it does make you question the quality of the ingredients.

All of which serves to steal from us what was once an exciting, enjoyable treat. But I do know a way to bring the excitement back to Easter eggs – root out good quality chocolate from one of our excellent Cotswold suppliers. I’m talking ‘real chocolate’ that you’d likely not buy for yourself, that puts mass-produced confectionary into a different category altogether, that reminds you why proper chocolate is still worth hunting for.

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Cafe au Chocolat

Inventive and quirky, Liz and Nigel Dawson’s chocolate shop and café in Tewkesbury is the best place to hunt for Easter chocolate. From loaded bars to chocolate kits, this is a Willy Wonka store for chocolate lovers. If nothing else, try the Gin Truffles, white chocolate gin-infused ganache coated in dark chocolate, which won an outstanding *** Great Taste Award – only one of three truffles internationally to do so.

Costello + Hellerstein

These handcrafted chocolates by local chocolatier Ori Hellerstein are works of art. The Sea Salt Caramels are the gold standard of chocolates, a crisp shell filled with oozing golden caramel – no wonder they won a ** Great Taste Award. The rest of the range is equally impressive – Dark Chocolate Orange; Raspberry and Coconut; Rhubarb Milk Chocolate; Ruby Chocolate Ganache and Hazelnut Praline.

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Coco Caravan

Jacques Cop’s chocolate hunt has taken him to seek out rare cacao beans in the Piura Valley in Peru, the Amazon rainforest, and the jungles of Guatemala. Every bean to bar is created with passion and expertise in his Stroud Chocolate House. It’s this commitment to produce ethically sourced, sustainable and vegan chocolate that also tastes incredible that has earned Coco Caravan a whole host of awards.