Easter is all about getting together for a delicious meal, aperitifs, sweet little cakes and of course to indulge in chocolate!
The Bells of Easter
On the Thursday night before Easter, all the church bells go silent and they won’t be heard from again until Easter Sunday because according to legend, they sprout wings, pack up their suitcases and fly off to Rome to visit the Pope.
After their Vatican visit, they go to the market where they load up their suitcases with chocolate. Chocolate eggs, chocolate chicks, and chocolate bells (in their honour). They then they fly back to France, and on the eve of Easter, they drop the chocolate treats at the houses of children along their flight path. After making deliveries all night long, they have to be up bright and early the next morning to ring in Easter Sunday.
When the children hear the bells ringing, they run outside to hunt for the goodies that the Cloches de Pâques, or “Easter Bells” have left them.
Chocolate is the Food of Happiness
The French are a nation of chocolate lovers and have been ever since it was introduced to 13-year-old King Louis XIII by his bride to be, Anne of Austria. In those days only royalty and the super-rich could afford chocolate but when the general public got a chance to taste it, they never looked back.
Wherever you are in France, the chances are, you’ll not be far from a chocolate shop and at Easter you’re guaranteed to see a chocolate bell! The French eat around 13,000 tonnes of Chocolate at this time of the year and consider it to be “the food of happiness”.
Little Easter Nest cakes are really popular too, which are called Petits nids de Pâques. Made from almond sponge cake base decorated with butter cream and flaked almonds, topped with icing ribbons and filled with chocolate eggs. They’re super easy to make and look fabulous on the table.