We know it isn’t easy to negotiate your way through the bundles of cracking Easter eggs on offer. To give you a hand, we recruited a team of eggs-perts from Food Network UK HQ to help test this year’s eggs (quite literally) to breaking point.
We sampled everything from the reasonably-priced Lion, Aero and Yorkie Bar eggs, the organic offering from Green and Black's and the golden Lindt bunny, to the pure indulgence of Thornton's and Hotel Chocolat.
The First Impression
Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, so an Easter egg should never be judged solely by its box. But let’s face it; Easter eggs are all about aesthetics. If we didn’t care about that, we’d buy a family-sized bar of chocolate and just get stuck in.
Our judging panel was most impressed by the look of the Hotel Chocolat luxury egg. ‘It is the kind of egg Posh Spice would buy if she were ever to buy a chocolate egg,’ they commented. ‘It’s decadence at its finest. A visual feast.’ The more affordable Lion Bar egg instilled a similarly awestruck tone. ‘It is a fancy box, with warm gold tones, in the shape of a majestic lion.’
As well as the Lion and the luxury of Hotel Chocolat, the mint Aero was praised for its unique box shape and its novel use of a lamb rather than the traditional bunny. The Thornton’s Eton Mess achieved acclaim for the solid box; they noted that would be perfect for a bumpy train ride.
The panel was only left feeling cold by the look of the Yorkie Easter egg, which was criticised for its not-so-egg-citingly-shaped box and poorly-wrapped egg.
The First Impression
Perhaps even more important than the eggs themselves (it is hard to get creative with an oval) are all the little treats that come around and inside it. As a child, I remember being overwhelmed by a small transparent bag of chocolate buttons, but these days things are much more complicated. From chocolate truffles to misshapen mugs, we had the whole nine yolks (sorry).
The male members of our panel were surprisingly impressed with the ribbons and bows. Our ad man was taken with ‘the beautiful silk bow’ used to wrap the ‘beautifully presented cylindrical box’ of the Hotel Chocolat egg, while our web developers admired the bell and ‘multi-purpose bunny band’ that came with Lindt’s offering. ‘It could be used as a hair-band, bracelet or friendship band,’ they suggested.
The mug in the Yorkie egg didn’t wow, as it was very blue and not quite round, but it was also noted that it was the only egg still to come with this traditional Easter egg extra. The Green and Black's egg was commended for the extra chunks of butterscotch embedded in the egg itself.
We were disappointed that there was nothing inside the Lion bar egg, though it came with two chocolate bars. On the other hand, the Aero exceeded expectations with its extras; ‘there was a whole farmyard of mini lambs’, our panel exclaimed; ‘we got four when we would only have expected two!’
Which came first, the rabbit or the egg?
The Egg Roll
You wouldn’t know it from the excitement in our office, but Easter eggs are traditionally for kids. And children and breakables don’t tend to mix. So in order to test that the Easter eggs are durable as well as delicious, we took to our impromptu ‘arena’ and got a bit athletic.
The first test, the ‘egg-roll’, returned some surprising results. Despite their unorthodox shapes, the Lindt bunny and the boxy packaging of the Eton Mess egg (it didn’t come with foil and chocolate-carpet contact was outruled) performed very well, sailing across the finish line without a scratch.
Many of the traditionally-shaped eggs, on the other hand, suffered from the ‘boomerang effect’, a fate that hit the Lion and Yorkie eggs hardest.The Green and Black's egg was the only one to escape this, and rolled smoothly over the line.
So if you want your kids to run off into the horizon after their chocolate (and give you five minutes peace) you might want to invest in the top-end eggs from Thorntons or Hotel Chocolat. If you prefer them close at hand then the simpler-shaped eggs will do the hard work for you!
The Egg and Spoon Race
The egg and spoon race, due to the ‘supreme fitness’ of our judges (their words) was something of a blur. Almost all of the eggs ended up falling off the spoons, but they all escaped unscathed.
So rest assured for all those Easter car journeys, if they survive the enthusiasm of Team FN, they can survive almost anything.
The First Impression
While you don’t want them breaking too early, the eggs do need to smash when the moment is right. So to test this (all for the purposes of science) we gave our colleagues a wooden spoon and a chocolate egg and asked them to smash it to chocolatey smithereens.
This turned out to be surprisingly difficult. The Thorntons egg took six smashes, but it was left dented rather than destroyed. The Hotel Chocolat came in two (differently-flavoured) halves, but each half was almost impossible to break – taking nine pretty serious smashes.
If you want to keep the kids quiet, it's probably best to invest in the luxury end of the egg market; they'll be trying to break into them for hours. However, the Lion, Yorkie and Aero are a better option for the less patient amongst you; all three took a few taps and cracked apart into bite-sized pieces. The Green and Black's organic egg was particularly accessible, and only took two short strikes to egg heaven. It could have been a scarring experience to be asked to bash a bunny with a wooden spoon, but the prospect of chocolate eradicated any remorse in our competitors and the little guy was destroyed with eight strokes.
The First Impression
Last but not least, it is important to find out how much each egg actually tingles the tastebuds. Like all good scientists, we weren’t satisfied with one variable in this serious experiment. We need to work out not just how enjoyable egg-eating could be, but how long that experience could be made to last.
We dusted off our stopwatch and worked out that the Lindt bunny will melt-in-the-mouth in an astonishing 11.3 seconds, while the Hotel Chocolat will hang around for a whole 53! Hotel Chocolat impressed in taste terms too, with our panel noting that it was milky and creamy. The Thorntons Eton Mess was deemed too creamy, with the panel saying they wouldn’t be able to eat it all (though I haven’t seen it hanging around anywhere…)
We were surprised by the lack of minty zing to the Aero egg, though it was very tasty and the Green and Black's egg was praised for the complexity of flavours. The now-distracted panel simply observed of the Yorkie egg that it ‘tasted like Yorkie’.
By this point, the judges could barely get out their feedback to us through the mouthfuls of chocolate. But we struggled on, demanding details.
When it all boiled down to it, our Easter egg challenge became a contest between two furry animals; the Lion and the Lindt bunny. Perhaps wreaking its revenge for its place on the food chain, the humble rabbit here defeated its majestic opponent and came out on top. It may be small, it may be golden and sparkly, it may have a little bell around its neck, but in this battle, the bunny was king.