Australians to spend $191 million on Easter eggs

In a bid to find Melbourne's most expensive chocolate egg, The Age went on an Easter egg hunt, visiting some of the city's premium chocolatiers.

In the end, it was Ganache Chocolate's 45-centimetre chocolate egg, filled with 100 small chocolates, that took first prize at $250.

Co-owner and chocolatier Arno Backes said the shell - containing more than a kilogram of the brand's house-blend milk chocolate and decorated with dark and white chocolate swirls to create a marble effect - was not only a beautiful design but great value. ''We try to come up with a new design every year,'' he said. ''Often, when I make our regular chocolates, I get ideas about what would look good with Easter eggs.''

The egg shell was designed to fit 100 of Ganache's ''finest small chocolates'' so no one would miss out at Easter, Mr Backes said. ''If you calculate that per chocolate, it's very good value.'' Mr Backes sold one of the eggs on Saturday and expects to sell the remaining six by Easter.

An IBISWorld report predicts Australians will spend $191 million at Easter on chocolate alone. General manager Karen Dobie said Australians had developed a penchant for speciality chocolate shops. ''There is a continuing trend towards fair trade and organic brands as consumers begin to shop with ethics taking precedence over price,'' she said.