Egg Decorating, Chocolate and Easter
Humans have been decorating eggshells for at least 60,000 years (the earliest recorded are Ostrich eggs in Africa). Eggs have been a religious symbol for millenia (the Zorastrians brought eggs to their King Norwuz to celebrate the new year at least 2,500 years ago).
More recently Edward I of England dyed over 450 eggs with onion skins to gift to his court for Easter in 1290. And then lightning struck in the French court of Louis XIV, where the first chocolate Easter Egg was created in Versailles, soon followed in Turin where Seignora Giambone started filling empty chicken egg shells with molten chocolate in 1725.
Returning to the UK, chocolate was co-opted into Easter by the Victorians. In addition to claiming the world’s first chocolate bar in 1847, J.S. Fry & Sons claim to have launched the first British Chocolate Easter egg in 1873, closely followed by Cadbury’s in 1875 (Cadbury’s did pip Fry’s to the post for Valentine’s Day boxes — see earlier blog).
Since then there has been no stopping the idea of chocolate Easter eggs, bunnies, chicks and more. It’s hard to obtain exact numbers but estimates of the UK gifting over 80 million eggs are often quoted – and that doesn’t include Creme Eggs (Cadbury’s sells annually over 500 million of these, two thirds in the UK).