York, City of Chocolate has been a centre for this delicious confectionary for over 100 years and continues to celebrate chocolate in all its forms.
This Easter, York’s Chocolate Festival comes back to Parliament street, Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd April 2019 (Easter Weekend). As well as stalls selling all manner of chocolate related products, there will also be workshops and demonstrations. If you want to learn more about this wonderful business, you can also visit the nearby ‘York’s Chocolate Story’ in King’s Square. The chocolate festival coincides with the celebration of Easter but whilst we might relish our chocolate Easter eggs today, originally, painted eggs were used as part of the Christian celebration of Easter. Since ancient times the egg has been a symbol of fertility, new beginning and rebirth. As Christianity spread throughout Europe it absorbed and incorporated many pagan beliefs and customs as well. As a symbol of new life, over time the egg came to represent the emergence from the tomb and the resurrection of Christ.
Decorating eggs is a custom that predates Christian custom. Cultures from many parts of the world decorate eggs at different times of year. In Persian culture, for example, they are painted with one’s family at Nowruz, near the spring equinox. Many believe that this is where the Christian tradition originated. In the 17th and 18th centuries the idea of the egg-shaped toy emerged. These were made, sold and given to children at Easter. The eggs were often filled with sweets. The first chocolate Easter eggs were likely crafted in Germany and France near the beginning of the 19th century. The first chocolate egg in the UK is attributed to JS Fry of Bristol in 1873. Other companies then followed suit; soon the Easter egg market bloomed beyond all expectations, and over time the custom spread to the Americas and throughout many parts of the world.
Today, some of the most elaborate chocolate Easter eggs in York can be found in St. Helen’s Square at the famous Yorkshire baker and confectioner, Betty’s. Whilst all sizes of eggs can be found there, if you want to really celebrate this year, try Betty’s Imperial Easter egg which showcases the highest skills of Betty’s chocolatiers and cake decorators. Inspired by the colours and elegance of Frederick’s first Bettys, the shimmering egg is hand-moulded from pink coloured white chocolate and decorated with traditional handmade sugar wild roses, golden leaves and delicate piped chocolate and royal icing designs. Nestled inside is a golden milk chocolate egg, also decorated with handmade roses. In total, the egg contains over five kilos of Grand Cru Swiss chocolate. It is a work of art but be prepared to pay for all that skill and chocolate – Betty’s Imperial Easter Egg must be made to order and will cost you £495!
Immerse yourself in York’s history and traditions and perhaps sample a bit of that delicious chocolate with the help of a Yorkshire Blue Badge Guide. http://yorkshiresbestguides.co.uk/directory-of-members/