Why do we eat chocolate eggs at Easter?

As evenings are becoming more chilly and an extra layer of clothing is needed, a cup of Rooibos tea tastes even more delicious with strong dark chocolate or creamy milk chocolate than before. How did we start associating chocolate with Easter?

Decorated eggs as gifts

Easter is celebrated throughout the Christian world as the Christian church’s most important festival but some of the traditions of today were practiced before Christianity.

Eggs have represented new life and fertility for thousands of years. In southern hemisphere and in South Africa, the home of Rooibos, ostrich eggs were already decorated and carved as far back as 60,000 years ago.

The custom of gifting painted eggs begun in modern-day Iraq and Syria few thousand years ago and eventually the tradition became to symbolise the blood shed by Jesus at his crucifixion. From the Middle-East, the custom spread to Russia via the Orthodox Church. In the 18th century, people started having better access to different materials making egg decorating a creative affair.

Cocoa beans – from Mexico to England

The ancient cultures in Mesoamerica already prepared fermented beverages made from “xocoatl” more than three thousand years ago. Chocolate drink was introduced to Europeans via the Spanish colonies.

By the 18th century, confections from cocoa were produced across Europe. The introduction of steam engine mechanized cocoa bean grinding reducing production costs and making chocolate affordable to all. With better processing methods and the addition of milk and sugar, chocolate became accessible to the masses.

Chocolate + eggs = Easter

As eggs had been part of Easter festivities for a very long time, the first chocolate eggs were made by chocolatier JS Fry & Son in 1873 in the UK. Eventually the delicacy became a popular gift across the world.

Chocolate also tastes delicious with a hot cup of Rooibos tea. Dark chocolate is even known to be healthy for you! For a delicious Chocolate Rooibos recipe, follow our posts.

 

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