Easter is Sunday, April 20th, and for this special springtime occasion, we are re-introducing our famous Easter pralinés. Declined in a zBox, basswood and mahogany version, these boxes blooming with limited-time recipes and design are fit for any sunny celebration. Available exclusively until April 20th.
Star of the 2014 zChocolat Easter Collection, the Easter Bunny hides a mysterious past concerning its origins. Several legends dating back to the Antique period arise when speaking of the Easter bunny as no-one has been able to confirm the reasons as to why rabbits are an Easter symbol. The first idea states that the Rabbit is believed to be a symbol of spring and fertility thus the reason he would be the ideal animal to distribute eggs. A second legend counts that while baking a bread for Easter, the loaf mysteriously turned out shaped like a rabbit, letting the population conclude this was a sign from God. This year at zChocolat, we chose to represent Easter with a modern designed bunny silhouette to represent a childhood fantasy with a twist of elegance.
"Nocciola del Piemonte" as they are called in Italian, is an internationally protected term to hazelnuts from the Piedmont region of Italy. Home to many gourmet, high-quality ingredients, Italy also holds Piedmont hazelnuts at the top of its list. With the rare particularity to retain their flavor much better and longer when roasted, these hazelnuts are considered to be one of the finest varieties in the world due to their almost perfectly round shape, gentile flavor and strict agricultural regulations. The nutritional properties of the Piedmont hazelnut are quite impressive - with its high oil content (similar to extra virgin olive oil) it is rich in essential amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and lipids. It is for all the reasons above that zChocolat has chosen to make its praliné exclusively from Piedmont hazelnuts.
The excellence of a praliné depends on the preparation of the hazelnuts and the amount of time they will be roasted before-hand. Made with time-honored techniques, the hazelnuts in our recipes are slow-roasted in small batches for long hours and meticulously caramelized before being crushed in a delicious praliné paste. In the photo to the right, the hazelnuts have just been cloaked in liquid sugar to obtain a golden caramelized aspect.
When it comes to chocolate, we never compromise. Couverture chocolate is the fine layer that coats the filling therefore the first encounter you have with the chocolate. Due to the importance of this layer, we exclusively use pure, single-origin cocoa in our couvertures. For our Easter "friture", we use 70% Venezuela dark couverture and 40% Ivory Coast milk couverture. For our dark couverture, we have selected the "Carenero superior" grade bean (Criollo type) from the Carupano region of Venezuela, from which the aromas are bright, spicy and flowery with an outstanding length that ends on a slightly bitter yet pleasant note. For our milk couverture, the Ivory Coast's cocoa beans selected are quite bitter - however, when used to make milk chocolate, the bitterness becomes an asset; it gives a perfect balance to the milk and sugar. We have therefore selected for our milk couverture a fermented Forastero variety with an "Ivory Coast Good Fermented" grade.
Easter "Friture", otherwise known as French Easter chocolates, come in very specific shapes that have been repeated through European history and traditions. You may wonder why the chocolates have shapes such as seashells, fish and even crabs! Symbol of the Christian faith, the fish is often used to represent Jesus. The other sea-shaped chocolates come from Jesus's fishing "miracle" - as the legend tells he pulled up a net filled with sea creatures in the lake of Tibériade after fellow fishers had been coming home with empty nets for several days and were beginning to starve. The eggs, first Easter offering tradition, are a symbol of life and the rabbit, a symbol of spring and fertility. In our different Easter boxes, you will find the following shapes: seashells, crabs, carps, oysters, mussels, fish, bunnies, chickens, chicks and eggs.