I bought three hens at lunchtime. Three milk chocolate hens, perched atop three chocolate wicker baskets, presumably filled with lots of little Easter goodies. I haven’t rattled them – in fact I barely dare approach the bag for fear of being overcome by a whiff of chocolate escaping from under the cellophane wrapping and succumbing to temptation. Which is why I am telling you there are THREE chickens. So that I can’t eat any of them between now and Easter Sunday. And if I mumble sheepishly upon arrival that one of said hens got smashed into smithereens when my hand luggage was scanned at the airport, DO NOT BELIEVE ME. Look for telltale signs of chocolate consumption around my and Tadpole’s mouths.
This is, after all, the same mummy who bought gingerbread pumpkins for her daughter and daughter’s playmates at Halloween and then ate all three in one sitting with a nice cup of tea. (In my defence, I thought the ginger flavour might be a bit too potent for 16 month old toddlers.) The same mummy who has bought a Lindt easter bunny, complete with red neck ribbon and dinging bell, with the last two Saturday’s groceries. At Tadpole’s insistence. And polished off each one, after allowing Tadpole to bite off the tips of their ears.
Sadly, the chocolatier I found within striking distance of my office only stocked traditional fare: eggs, chickens, bells, fish and rabbits. I was hoping to find at the very least a frog for him indoors, and some other more original gifts. A little forward planning probably wouldn’t have gone amiss, but somehow Easter has slunk up and pounced on me: the visit which seemed to be permanently several weeks away is now happening tomorrow. I winced at the price tags (yes, they do look home-made and artisanal, prettily wrapped in patterned cellphane with their yellow ribbons, but they also cost rather more than your average Dairy Milk egg.)
I have a vivid memory of a visit to a chocolatier in the rue de Courcelles (17th arrondissement) where I once shopped for Easter fare. I marvelled at the divine smell which permeated the tiny shop, wondering if it was possible to get a seratonin high from just breathing it in, and subsequently got chatting to the shopkeeper about how superior French easter chocolates were to the pre-packaged, supermarket-bought eggs I had known in the UK. The flattery paid off – it never hurts to pander a little to a French person’s innate superiority complex, I find – and the lady offered to show me behind the scenes, around the laboratoire du chocolat where her husband and son worked their cocoa magic. Oh the heavenly aroma which the vat of melted chocolate gave off as it waited to be poured into a multitude of different moulds.
Would Mademoiselle like to taste one of the little fishes?
Mademoiselle most certainly would. Mademoiselle would also like to know if it would be possible to ask for their son’s hand in marriage.