It's a long way from the Cadbury Creme Egg. Try the $75 egg. The $100 egg. Keep going … this year, artisan chocolatiers are hatching a new batch of super-luxe eggs to the highest standards of design, ingredients and techniques. Who said Easter was all about the kids?
At the front of the Ganache South Yarra store stands a distinctive, 53-centimetre-tall Easter bunny, his dark chocolate exterior bronzed and gleaming. This is Berlin Bunny (dairy-free, $74.99). He's neither the flashiest, nor the priciest, of his window-dressing pals, but his back story is unbeatable.
"We lose about one in two while we're making them," says owner and head chocolatier Arno Backes. The metal mould he uses for Berlin Bunny is a German antique, circa 1908, and it has its idiosyncrasies.
"Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the head cracks," says Backes. Rabbits that survive the four-day process to make them are burnished all over with 23-carat gold dust. Not too much, though. "It spoils the look."
Backes' commitment to small-scale production using handmade moulds means he often has to say no to people.
"One client asked us for 100 of a particular design," says Backes. "I can't do that." You get the impression he wouldn't want to, either.
Every Easter, new designs are created for the store's best-selling luxury line of Giant Eggs (43 centimetres, $117). These are the showcase eggs, bought by everyone from society ladies for gifting to families who want a table centrepiece so all the kids can have a go at cracking one over Easter Sunday lunch.
Top of the range at Ganache is the marbled, half-shell egg filled with 100 praline-filled mini eggs ($275, or $149 for the 50-piece). Like everything else here, they're an easy sell.
Ganache, South Yarra, Melbourne and just-opened Essendon, ganache.com.au.
Burch & Purchese
The kitchen team at South Yarra sweet studio Burch & Purchese were unavailable for comment the day Good Food rang. They were too busy creating their most ambitious Easter signature piece yet, the bespoke Coop de Ville, a 20-centimetre chocolate egg coop complete with roof, chicken and frolicking playmates.
It's the number of parts that complicates things, says B&P's Darren Purchese. Production takes place over several days, and that's before assembly and packaging.
"All pieces are handmade and hand-painted, and after that we have to clear out the kitchen to make room to put all the parts together," he says.
"Then the coops need to be lowered into boxes, so we've created a ribbon pulley system that requires two people with very steady hands."
Designed by head chocolatier Christean Ng, the coop costs $280 and is available only on pre-order.
Not in the market for a South Yarra high-rise? Maybe you'd prefer the store's 14-centimetre, $42 vegan egg, made with 72 per cent Venezuelan single origin dark chocolate and either hand-painted or flicked with natural food-coloured cocoa butter. A second egg, nestling inside, gleams with edible silver lustre. And it's all nut-free and gluten-free, too. Luxury and wellness, all rolled into one.
Burch & Purchese, South Yarra, burchandpurchese.com