Question: What’s the tastiest Easter treat to ease stress? Answer: the raw carrots left for the Easter Bunny. Wrong! The correct answer, per this chocolate devotee, is the delicious milk-chocolate bunny; the iconic Easter treat.
Whether solid or hollow, the tall chocolate bunny reigns as the especially prized part – indeed the centerpiece — of any Easter basket that a child (or child at heart) wakes up to on Easter morning. The chocolate Easter bunny becomes especially delightful when surrounded by chocolate eggs filled with crème, peanut butter or marshmallow, speckled chocolate-covered malted milk balls, chocolate coconut nests and little milk-chocolate eggs wrapped in colorful foil. All sit on a bed of plastic grass in a large wicker basket wrapped in brightly colored cellophane tied with a huge, puffy bow. Truly, this is a chocolate feast to melt away the worst of stress.
The Chocolate Bunny
When I was a kid, the big chocolate Easter bunny’s ears were always the first thing to go. Then his little head got nibbled, then his neck, before I chomped all the way down to the bunny’s “cottontail.” Even as a child, I knew that chocolate was the best way to ease kid stress. Jelly beans ran a close second. Red jelly beans were my favorite, followed by orange, then yellow. I generously offered the ones I didn’t like (green ones and black ones) to my dog. He didn’t mind; he was happy with a treat.
Easter Egg Hunt
Biting into a chocolate crème filled Easter egg, I recall fond memories of Easter Morning. After finding the enchanting Easter basket on the coffee table in the family room, I grabbed last year’s Easter basket and set out to retrieve the prized Easter eggs hidden through the house. Usually, I spotted a couple right away, perhaps on a shelf or tucked in the corner of the window sill. Mmmm . . . a chocolate maple egg wrapped in a shiny pink wrapper found its way into the basket right away. Ooohh, the treasured chocolate peanut-butter filled egg . . . that first one (or two) usually didn’t make it into the basket. Sometimes, I found a bright colored plastic egg filled with a small piece of chocolate and a dollar bill!
The hunt continued through Easter morning until all the treasures were located. Then I would inventory my loot. A dozen assorted chocolate eggs filled with delicious creams, ten small pieces of milk chocolate in various shapes and a whopping $20 – with which to buy more chocolate. From a kid’s perspective, this was the ultimate chocolate of no stress.
The Easter Basket
Having filled last year’s Easter basket with hunted goodies, I turned my attention to the beautifully wrapped basket on the coffee table. I would grab a couple of small foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and savor them one at a time. After carefully unwrapping the foil, I savored that rich chocolate flavor as the egg slowly melted in my mouth. Again, I felt calm and stress-free.
Let’s face it. My Mother’s Easter Breakfast of hard-boiled colored Easter eggs, bacon, French toast, and orange juice barely got touched. After indulging in several ounces of chocolate, I couldn’t manage a single bite of breakfast, except for a couple of chocolate malted milk balls that were hidden in my pocket.
A succulent baked ham glazed with pineapple served as the main entrée for Easter dinner. Mom also made au gratin potatoes, candied sweet potatoes that were my Dad’s favorite, creamed corn, green- bean casserole, or cheesy cauliflower with warm oven-baked rolls as sides. For dessert, we had lamb cake, a pound cake baked in a lamb mold and decorated with frosting and jelly-bean eyes and nose. I preferred my dessert of a peanut butter egg, two malted milk balls and a chocolate coconut nest.
As a child, Easter meant little more than a happy chocolate feast. Now I see Easter as a time to reflect, renew my faith, focus on gratitude, spend time with loved ones and . . . ease stress with chocolate.
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