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The Madera Tribune

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Social status and Easter bunnies

April 16, 2017

Although I went to a Catholic elementary school where priests, nuns, and brothers went about the business of beating religion into their charges, I always looked forward to Easter as the day that I’d get my chocolate Easter bunny rather than the day that celebrated the resurrection. Each year, that bunny was a special breed that laid candy eggs and hung out with marshmallow baby chickens.


Anticipation of the bunny’s arrival was much better than the real thing, which was a waxy chocolate-flavored replication that never really tasted fresh when first opened nor seemed to spoil with age. Bunny parts could sit untouched for weeks and still taste like the original choco-wax.


The bunny dominated a basket that was filled with green “grass,” sprinkled with other candy goodies that were usually covered with gaily-decorated foil in pastel colors. I’d always break off a piece of an ear first, recover from the disappointment of the faux chocolate, and then proceed to ruin my teeth with the other contents. It wasn’t until my teen years and many agonizing hours spent in dentists’ chairs that I came to two epiphanies. First, don’t eat the stale rabbit. Second, not all bunnies are created equal.

Righteous rabbits


It seems that rabbits, although not included in the category of social creatures (like bees or ants), have a status hierarchy all their own. The ones that I got as a kid were on the bottom rung of the ladder. If the speed at which they disappeared is used as an indicator of yumminess, then they deserved a low score because they certainly weren’t “quick as a bunny.” But, they were the best that my parents, who at least had a toe inside the ranks of the working class, could do.


That was all right because kids like my brother and me had no knowledge of another America where children enjoy Cadbury crème eggs and Russell Stover marshmallow bunnies. Such savory sweets were the property of the middle class, and it was probably best that we didn’t know about them. Mass advertising didn’t reach our neighborhood, and the local stores carried only items that their clientele could afford.


In my world at that time, big was better. So, I probably would not have been impressed by the milk chocolate rabbit offered by Robert L. Strohecker for $18. It’s sort of small because it’s solid (as opposed to hollow, the preferred bunny, which can be huge without containing much chocolate) and filled with caramel, pecans, almond butter crunch toffee, and whole toasted almonds. And Godiva’s Bunny Buddies Chocolate Gift Set ($35) would have been seen by kids like me as a rip-off because it includes a non-eatable, limited edition plush bunny along with either two smallish chocolate raspberry eggs or two diminutive bunnies, one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate.

Delectable delights


By working-class standards, the upper-middle class rabbit is not only delicious, but substantial.

 

  • For example, the Golden Big-Eared Easter Bunny ($39.95), by Compartés, is two pounds of solid chocolate, available in either dark or milk chocolate. Also, you know it’s going to be fresh because — this year — it could not be shipped before April 3.

  • Dillettanté Chocolates offers its Topper Chocolate Easter Bunny ($30.50), a “hand-painted and exquisitely detailed” rabbit that stands 13 inches tall; holds an orange carrot; is composed of white, dark, and milk chocolate; and weighs 40 ounces. The company has no explanation as to why its website, which seemed to have been devoted to Easter this past week, also featured a Dark Chocolate Salmon ($16.80). Seems fishy to me. (Apologies to the late Leon Emo.)


If you’ve got a thick wallet and are also into BIG, there’s Li-Lac Chocolates, which boasts of being “Manhattan’s Oldest Chocolate House — Since 1923,” but is located in Brooklyn, the city of my childhood. Its Jumbo Easter Bunny ($175) is a dentist’s dream, made fresh, gluten free, and kosher. Each handmade bunny is about 24 inches tall and serves about 80 people, at least according to the advertisement.

Haughty hares


As most of us know, there’s rich, really rich, and the one-half-of-one-percent rich. And so it is with chocolate Easter bunnies. Miesse Candies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has created “Brigham the Bunny,” named after the owner’s grandson. It’s three feet tall, weighs 25 pounds, and consists of Wilbur Chocolate. Its $500 price is not negotiable. My first car was a 1951 Studebaker (negotiated from $150 to $115).


If Brigham’s still a tad pricey, for about $350 you can purchase Bettys Imperial Easter Egg from Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate. The total cost will be a bit higher for Americans because the elaborate confection is not shipped across the pond. So, you’ll need a round-trip plane ticket to England. But this hand-crafted confection may be worth the time, trouble, and expense even though it’s listed as “unsuitable” for vegans and vegetarians. It features the “intricately crafted ‘Royal Icing Sugar Flowers’” that give it its distinctive appeal.


And, finally, we come to the confection that Ivanka might expect from dad. It comes from VeryFirstTo, the company that was the very first to bring us the world’s most expensive gingerbread house, the most expensive Christmas pudding, and the $100,000 Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s the $49,000 Easter Bunny! Why not?


According to the company’s promotional blurb, it was carved from Tanzanian chocolate over a two-day period by Martin Chiffers, former chef décor of Harrod’s. The finished product weighs 11 pounds and contains 548,000 calories, roughly enough to fill the needs of the entire population of Tanzania. But, you don’t have to eat it in one sitting. The company claims that, if properly frozen, the bunny can be stored for up to two years.


Now, you may think, “No matter who carved it or what it’s carved from, no chocolate bunny is worth $49,000.” And, of course, you’re right. What makes this bunny extraordinary, however, is the area between the cheek bones and the forehead. You see, its eyes are special. They are two 1.7 ct. diamonds, worth about $37,400. Still, if it were possible to purchase it without the eyes, it would sell for a little more than $1,000 per pound.


As of April 12, there were no bids for the bunny. However, VeryFirstTo is willing to fashion the confection with lower-cost gems. But you still have to pay for the Tanzanian chocolate.

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