Christmas is a celebration of food in general, but Easter is all about chocolate. I can hear whispers of roasted lamb, simnel cake and hot cross buns, but really, it’s the chocolate that takes center stage.
When I was little, Easter was my favourite holiday. It meant more time playing in the garden (fingers crossed) and plenty of time spent eating chocolate. My mum would make us gorgeous baskets, complete with pastel ribbon and furry chicks. There would always be a Lindt bunny, nestled amongst eggs of all sizes. My sister and I would share our haul – half an egg each, plus one of the two extras included in the box. The ritual of picking an egg and splitting it in two would last a good week, if not longer.
I can’t imagine eating that amount of chocolate now. Of course, holidays are the perfect time for treats and I’ll be sure to make the most of Mini Eggs season. But I can’t devour chocolate in the quantities I used to, it doesn’t appeal anymore. Perhaps because as I got older, chocolate became a comfort food to me. I would turn to it whenever I felt any emotion – sadness could be alleviated by chocolate, happiness could be doubled by it. I became over familiar with the sickly feeling after eating too much of it. I would also feel self-conscious, not good enough and ugly, due to the aftermath of acne that would inevitably spring up.
It took me awhile to break up with chocolate after I realised I was eating too much. It was no longer a holiday treat, I could get through a large bar every couple of days. It took me a good two years to stop bingeing on chocolate entirely, and I had set backs. I couldn’t say goodbye completely, I still eat it most days, but now it’s a square or two, not the whole block. And I enjoy every bite, it’s so satisfying to end a meal on a sweet note. I may have cut down on the quantity over the years, but the quality has certainly increased. I love a dairy-free truffle or a bar that is sweetened with coconut blossom nectar.
Sometimes nostalgia creeps into my head and I think I should treat myself to a whole bar of one of my old favourites. But it doesn’t feel like a reward, it kind of feels like a food challenge, Woman vs. Chocolate (sounds like a very entertaining TV show). I will never regret my childhood enjoyment of Easter, but my adult self has learnt too many lessons to take a step backwards into over-eating. Like with a lot of foodie things, I don’t think you have to eat vast amounts to get pleasure from it. Good chocolate for me is definitely a case of less is more.
PS Thank you Lawrence for letting me use your Easter egg as a prop!