Easter Candy in France

March 27, 2013

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Images and text by Gabrielle.

For us, living in France means living with a general feeling of being foreigners or outsiders. (Not necessarily a bad thing. It is what it is.) When it’s a holiday, that feeling is magnified. I was thinking about that as I wandered through the Easter candy aisle at the grocery store the other day.

European Easter Candy

Obviously, all the types of treats that spell Easter to me and to my older kids, weren’t anywhere to be seen. No fluorescent Peeps (my favorite!). No jelly beans. No Cadbury mini eggs. No chalky malted eggs that you can use to paint your lips blue. No Reeses peanut butter eggs. And no egg dyeing kits either — dyeing eggs isn’t really a thing here.

That said, there were tons of holiday treat options, and I kept thinking how French adults must walk through these aisles and fondly identify the candies that define their childhood Easters. But I have no idea what they are! I have no idea which chocolate eggs are stereotypical, which ones have been sold for decades, and which ones have just been introduced as a new product.

European Easter Candy

So I end up choosing treats based solely on looks. I am 100% judging these books by their covers — or these candies by their wrappers. Today, I’m sharing the prettiest treats I’ve found. I thought you might like to get an idea of what a French child would find on Easter morning — a gift from the Church Bells, instead of the Easter Bunny.

European Easter Candy European Easter Candy

I really like the look of these speckled eggs. At first, I thought they would be some version of an oversize malted egg, but they’re not. They’re hollow chocolate with a candy coating.

European Easter Candy European Easter Candy

These chocolate eggs in primary colors, also hollow, might be my favorite. I spotted them at a grocery store in Ireland called Dunnes. I thought it was fun to see something Easter-y, that wasn’t in spring pastels. And I like the illustrations too.

European Easter Candy European Easter Candy

These pastel eggs are tiny, and solid chocolate. They are also from Ireland. That little bunny is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

European Easter Candy European Easter Candy

Gingham plus scallops? It doesn’t get French-ier than that. So cute! Variations on foil-wrapped hollow chocolate eggs (like these and the polka dotted and striped versions at top) seem to be the most widely available Easter candies available here. For Easter Egg hunts, these are the sorts of eggs that are hidden.

European Easter Candy European Easter Candy

These look like jelly beans, but they are not jelly beans. I repeat. They are NOT jelly beans. They are kind of crunchy. And I can not figure out what the flavors are. But they sure are pretty.

Though it will be hard to convince you based on these photos, we have been working hard as a family to cut way down on our sugar consumption. Our current aim is to go refined-sugar-free except for one day per week. We hope those once-a-week sugar days will accommodate traditions we love —  like birthday cake, holidays sweets, weekend baking and our beloved movie parties. We’re not there yet, but we’re trying.

How about you? What sorts of treats and foods mean Easter to you and your kids? And will you be cutting down on sugar in this year’s Easter basket?

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carter Higgins March 27, 2013 at 9:43 am

I smiled so hard when you mentioned the eggs that you used to paint your lips blue. That is such a favorite Easter memory! And yes, that bunny…oh my!

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2 Design Mom March 27, 2013 at 10:13 am

I don’t actually even like malted eggs. Hah! So my memories are of using them for lipstick and then discarding them or pawning them off on a younger sibling.

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3 Heidi March 27, 2013 at 9:52 am

My husband and one daughter get migraines from eating sweet things, especially in the mornings. We cut way back on sugar years ago, and it was a great thing. My kids now routinely scrape the icing off cake, (something that I would never think of!) and will tell me that “this is too sweet”. I was raised with “sweeter is better” and though I’m unfortunately not where my kids are, I now often find things are too sweet. We are not at your goal of sugar only one day per week, rather what I do is reduce the sugar in everything. I make cookies with only half the sugar in the recipe, and noone, (even other children) notices. For muffins, I use at 25% of the amount called for in the recipe. There are many places to cut back – in home canning and jam (use Pomona’s pectin) for example. Congratulations on your undertaking. Even if you don’t make your goal, I think you’ll still notice the difference. The only kind of weird thing is that my kids get super hyper from sugar, and I think they even get hyper from the anticipation of having sugar!

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4 Chloe March 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

We cut off chocolate a long time ago. We decided that we should celebrate it with our favourite fruits. I think kids eat way too much unhealthy sugar. And every holiday we use it as an excuse for sugar rushes: Xmas, Halloween, Birthdays, Easter…

Anyway, I think that sometimes, we as religious people, spend way too much time and money on working on the treats, the candies, the gifts, the decoration and less time preparing the kids to the spiritual event. We decided to change that too and nowadays, our kids don’t understand why people should be eating chocolate at all at Easter. The other day, my 5-year- old girl said to me: ” Chocolate didn’t even exist when Christ lived… and even if it did, do you think his disciples would be eating lots of chocolate after realizing he ressurected? This makes no sense! ” That made us laugh a lot because we never said anything like this to her… she just figured it for herself…

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5 Nutmegg March 27, 2013 at 10:44 am

Chocolate has been around since 1100 B.C.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate

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6 brigitte March 28, 2013 at 2:27 am

But it surely hadn’t arrived in the Middle East by the time Christ lived…

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7 Lisette Wolter-McKinley March 27, 2013 at 10:09 am

Food, in particular candy is one of my favorite items to bring back from a vacation.

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8 Design Mom March 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

Me too! I love walking down the candy aisle at the grocery store and picking up a few things to try.

Or to see a familiar brand reinterpreted. In Ireland, we noticed Sour Patch Kids at the market and bought some — but they were different the the U.S. kind! Different size, different texture, and different flavors, too.

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9 Amy March 27, 2013 at 11:23 am

Gabrielle – I wonder if the Sour Patch Kids from Ireland tasted different because they did not have artificial colors or flavors? Most US brand candies sold in Europe have been reformulated without those chemicals due to stricter laws.
Amy

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10 Annabel Vita March 27, 2013 at 10:15 am

I love love love the chocoloate chickens and cockerels they have in all the French chocolatiers at this time of year!

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11 cass March 27, 2013 at 10:15 am

I love the gingham and red ones, so FRENCHY!

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12 Katie B March 27, 2013 at 10:21 am

I’m in Canada, and we grew up with these types of small, solid foil-wrapped chocolate eggs for Easter egg hunts. My siblings and I always looked hardest for the one Cadbury creme egg the “bunny” left for each of us, though..

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13 heidi March 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

I love the cadbury chocolate mini eggs, so my kids always get those. We cut back on sugar in baked goods- but I let my kids have treats all the time (a douhnut if they are good shopping, a snow cone at the zoo with grandpa etc.) I like the idea of refined sugars just once a week- and I bet we could do it even less than that if we tried harder. At least for me. I hate to “forbid” a certain type of food, but I feel I can do it without my kids even noticing. We make great muffins with just honey (and not much of it) and my kids gobble them down! I think I will never cut it completly (as some have). I love to bake and until I find a really good recipe for cinnamon rolls that is whole grain and no refined sugars it is not going to happen! (I have done it with some baked goods- but not all!)

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14 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity March 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

I agree with Katie B. Growing up in Canada that was what we had (and still do have). These days I often buy foil wrapped bunnies too (mostly from Lindt). I had never had a peep until a few years ago and I have to say they do nothing for me – way too sweet!

I’ve decided we should all have dark chocolate this year as it is much healthier for us (we are all adults and young adults ). I told my husband I was eating all the milk chocolate in the house in preparation for this latest health kick, ha! We love our chocolate (milk or dark), but really aren’t into candy very much, although I did include some in the Easter-in-a-box that I made for my daughter who is away at university. I mostly included it so she could use them to decorate Easter cupcakes. You can see the package in my post here: http://gracie-senseandsimplicity.blogspot.ca/2013/03/turquoise-easter-in-box.html

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15 Cerise March 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

We don’t generally have a ton of sweets in the house, so for special occasions we don’t try to cut back, although this year I did get quite a few little non-candy treats for the kiddos baskets. :o)

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16 Jillian in Italy March 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

It’s also the Church Bells that bring the kids candy here in Italy. It’s traditional to give these huge Easter eggs wrapped in metres of metallic cellophane. They are really impressive to see but under all the packing there is actually very little chocolate (but there is a toy inside the egg).

Love those speckled eggs. They would look beautiful in a jar with a bow!

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17 Giulia March 27, 2013 at 11:03 am

Yes! Your really got me with the candy eggs (not jelly beans). I have my mom send packages over every year.While I like a jelly belly, it’s not Easter with those candy eggs. Love, love , love them!

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18 Emily March 27, 2013 at 11:17 am

We too decided to cut back on our sugar…we’re stopped eating sugar in January, except for holidays. Our kids have done really well…it’s me and my husband that have the hardest time! The key for me is to have really yummy alternatives like dried fruits, sparkling water, yummy granola, etc.
Also, love your French Easter candy finds. Yum! Making the treats at holidays super special makes it easier to go without in between.

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19 Sarah March 27, 2013 at 11:30 am

those speckled eggs are gorgeous! all of these look more elegant than american easter candy – or maybe i’m projecting.

we have also cut way back on sugar, but instead of once a week, i eat a little very dark chocolate everyday (so does the kid) – just a few bites. my son is also addicted to honey nut cheerios – that’s a tough one to eliminate, don’t think i can do that to him…

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20 Valerie J. March 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

I had the opposite happened to me when I first celebrated Easter here in the US and was looking forward to eat the speckled eggs, only to discover they were malted ones. I remember getting the foil eggs as a kid and a bigger chocolate confection from the bakery. I was so excited one year about my foil eggs that I waited a long time to eat them, carried them around in my purse, only to discover they had all melted. :( I licked the foil and the inside of my purse. :D I miss the candy eggs too!

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21 April @ Skin Peels March 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Aaww, I love the fancy chocolates and I don’t mind them being malted or if they melted in my hands…lol – I’d still gobble them up right away! That’s why I love Easter and the wondrous treats it brings to kids and to the young at heart.

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22 Tina March 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I love going food shopping when I’m in a different country and I would have snag those chocolates too if I saw them in Ireland!

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23 Third Culture Mama March 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm

These treats bring back warm and fuzzy memories of my homeland! Thank you for posting! I think this post deserves a sequel with the AMAZING French Easter bunnies and bells you can find out of the most beautiful, velvety, artisanal chocolate.

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24 Intlmetromom March 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm

If you look in a patisserie or chocolate store – see f you can find real eggshells filled with praline. Many better chocolate stores have them for Easter and they are amazing. Also, you will want to try eggs made of croquant. It is a hard caramel filled with chopped nuts – most eggs are hollow and then filled with smaller chocolate eggs. To die for!

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25 allysha March 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I have fond memories of how different Easter is in France!

We’re trying to cut down on our sugar consumption, too. This month is “no sugar month” which we do from time to time, although really it’s been “less sugar month.” Still, every little bit helps, right!

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26 Zoe - SlowMama March 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Such fun to see all the French Easter candy! Even in Canada, we grew up with different candy than my husband did here in the U.S.

We don’t do much refined sugar here — I use a lot of substitutes in baking (maple syrup, honey, palm sugar), and opt for healthy treats. Over the years, my taste-buds have adjusted to far less sugar, and I’m trying to start early with our girls. You can find great such great recipes today.

This Easter, we’ll be filling small baskets with a few treats — homemade organic jelly beans from a candy shop, small chocolate bunnies from a favorite chocolatier, and a few little toys. In addition, we’ll wrap up a colorful spring dress for each. Keeping it simple.

Happy Easter to all the Blairs!

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27 kelly crawford March 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm

The kids found the colorful hollow chocolate eggs at the ward easter egg hunt this last weekend and were so confused why gooey who knows what didn’t ooze out of them. They also enjoyed what looked like marshmallows but turned out to be gum? Have you tried those? Fun surprise ha! We actually had thought about inviting your family to the Embassy Easter egg hunt up here in Paris at the Ambassadors residence but thought that seemed a bit stalkerish ha! Looks like you are doing just fine celebrating in Normandy! Happy Easter!

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28 jessica brown March 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm

No chocolate bunnies for us. Just an egg hunt for plastic eggs filled with jelly beans and chocolate eggs. Some treats, but not a ton.

-jessica

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29 Mary-My Life in Scotland March 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

We’ve been living in Scotland for 5 years now and they don’t have too many Easter candies. Oh, Cadbury eggs are HUGE. We have them 9 months out of the year. Ha!

The Scots don’t have Easter baskets. They give giant chocolate eggs. Hollow in the inside and filled with smaller chocolate eggs. You give them to family and friends. On Easter you might end up with 6 giant chocolate eggs all for yourself. AH!!!

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30 Gina at willowday March 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

What a great post. You’ve related it so well and I love your treats from Ireland. I can relate to this on all fronts — from the candy to the traditions! (On our Swedish side, I’m still getting over the shocked that ALL kids dress up like witches on Easter Thursday and go house to house Trick or treating! and on the French side, learning about the Easter Bells. Bells?! )

Regarding the candy, the first years our children were born I always made sure that I brought back, had a friend bring or loved one mail us Peeps, traditional jelly beans and jelly bellies, the Reese Eggs, etc until one year I realized that we might not be able to have our US supplies and what in the world would our little ones think of these new replacement candies! No plastic eggs… (we have large paper or cardboard ones in Sweden) and no paper grass for lining the baskets.

(My sister’s watched me, amused, load up on bag after bag of the basket straw while visiting her in the US prior to Easter. Customs officials have been plastic eggs roll out of my suitcase — I’m infinitely interested in the local and childhood traditions we carry forward.)

Also so interesting about the unidentifiable flavoring. A friend, who’s a “nose” (a scent expert for French perfume companies) told me that the US and Europe have some conflicting ideas of what “scent/flavor” we find appealing and told me that there are some flavors we favor in the US which in France are only used for cleaning products!! And, assume vice versa. I can only add that in Sweden, salty licorice is hugely popular — just today, I spotted beautiful chocolate eggs and thankfully read the fine print which explained that they were dusted in salty licorice. As you wrote about your experience about your time living abroad — there are always, always reminders that raise their heads in the most unexpected way that point to the paths we’ve taken! Sweet wishes to you! I the Irish candies taste as good as they look!

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31 Maike March 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

In Germany, we have the same things for easter as the French as far as I can see. But we also have Easter Bunnies. My partner’s family is from Ireland and they have something I’ve never seen before: giant Easter eggs.
Do you have them in the U.S.?
Chocolate eggs the size of Honeydew Melons in a transparent box with different fillings (for example M&Ms).
First time in Ireland around Easter my sister in law said to me: I got you an Easter egg and that sentence sounded really odd to me. One Easter egg?
But then I saw the egg!

Sugar: We love sweets at our house. But when I bake, no matter what recipe, I always only use half the amount of sugar that is listed in the recipe.
Nobody ever complained and when I have cake now at a bakery I find it way too sweet.

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32 This girl loves to talk March 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm

giant easter eggs are popular and everywhere in Australia too.

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33 Chelle March 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm

But where are the Kinder Eggs? They’re illegal here, but when out of the country I have to get my fill of those amazing little joy-filled (if awful chocolate) capsules. But then, I like toys and like putting things together, even more than fine chocolate!

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34 Jess March 28, 2013 at 3:04 am

Oh! Gina is so right about different tastes (if I’m right that you’re from the US Chelle?). Here in the UK I and at least everyone I know thinks kinder eggs are pretty good chocolate! No Lindt, but nicer than Cadbury’s, Hershey’s … Ha!

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35 Julie Bouckaert March 28, 2013 at 3:48 am

They are illegal? Why? Where do you live?

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36 Leslie March 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I hear you on the sweets fast thing. No need to go into the tirade on American constant sugar fest for children. So this year, I am making these awesome balls that are better than Godiva truffles- serious! http://simplymusicwise.blogspot.com/2013/02/vitacost-and-chia-seeds.html

I am buying one high quality choc. bunny and they get these in their basket. These balls make you feel like you’ve indulged when you really haven’t.

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37 Carly March 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

When I was living in France (Normandy, actually), I saw chocolate bells everywhere. Definitely no bunnies!

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38 This girl loves to talk March 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm

almost the exact same in Australia (so maybe it came via england/europe) Our eggs are small solid ones and medium sized hollow ones. Plastic Eggs that you fill with little candies only arrived in australia 4 years ago.
I just purchased some european easter eggs at a confectionary warehouse and I bought some that were ‘cereal’ eggs. (I assumed like a crunchy m&m – havent tried them yet) Maybe those crunchy ones are similar?
Hollow Bunnies are very popular here too. My kids always want a big bunny.

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39 Béa March 28, 2013 at 2:44 am

Easter goodies for me rhymes with a typically Alsatian combo of French, Alsatian and Germananic traditions :
Chocolate Easter bunny- or eggshell filled with littles chocolates. either of which has to be adorned with the tackiest ribbon that your mum will always feel compelled to keep for ages.
a bag of German waffeleier (http://www.lambertz-shop.de/ostern/waffel-eier-unschokoliert.html)
and a Easter breakfast homebaked Osterlamala (http://lesgourmandisesdemelodie68.blogspot.nl/2012/04/agneau-de-paques-ou-osterlamala.html)….
However you celebrate it, even if you don’t, have a good Easter everyone!

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40 Emilie March 28, 2013 at 3:07 am

I think you’ve pretty much got everything a French family will get for Easter – except maybe for the big chocolate bunny (or hen, or bell, or egg), hollow and usually filled with ‘liquor eggs’ (the last picture in your post).

That’s what we always used to discover in our garden when we were kids.
And then in our grandparents’garden.

By the way, liquor eggs are not filled with actual liquor (imagine that! having your drunks kids wandering in the garden the whole day looking for more liquor eggs) but with some sort of sirup. As far as I know, their flavor is officially ‘sugar’ :)

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41 Julie Bouckaert March 28, 2013 at 3:44 am

Hello Gabrielle,
in France, we traditionally buy our Easter candy in boulangeries and chocolateries, not in grocery stores. That is where we find chocolate eggs and bells, fish, hens, etc. There are of course industrial chocolates that children love, such as Kinder eggs, as I am sure you have noticed. Of course, it is now convenient and perhaps cheaper to buy industrial candy in supermarkets, but I personally love to buy those little bags of chocolates of different shapes and flavours in small shops.
And I love those little hard eggs filled with liquid sugar!
Julie

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42 Lucie March 28, 2013 at 5:54 am

Ha ! So interesting seeing Easter in France through foreign eyes…

Your guess based on looks was quite right : the most traditional candy we get this time of the year is n°1 (small wrapped eggs), n°2 (speckled eggs) and n°6 (tiny jellyish eggs)! Quite thorough given the fact that of the candy you’ve displayed are from Ireland !

But these small eggs are only the “side-dish”. No French Easter hunt could be complete without the pièce de résistance : a bigger piece of chocolate (bell, egg or hen generally) with a pretty bow, filled with smaller chocolates that we call “friture” (like “small fried fish”; they are chocolate fishies, prawns, mussels, etc.).

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43 Fiona March 28, 2013 at 6:51 am

I have slowly got used to American Easter – and my children think it is completely normal to have jelly beans and plastic eggs, there is one egg that I get my mother to buy in South Africa – it is a normal hen egg size, hollow chocolate in a white candy shell. She has bought a dozen (packaged just like real eggs) and hidden it till I get there in July. It is worth the wait.
I really try not to go crazy getting food products from home, which was easy enough when I lived in London, but complicated here in the US , but holidays are hard to get used too. What about Hot Cross Buns – do they have those in France ?

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44 Jamie Grumet March 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm

My friend Shannon (The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful) was singing your praises the other night and so I had to pop in and see who this lovely woman was she speaks of. I’m about as crafty a sugar-high toddler, but Shannon said it doesn’t matter…This place is just fun to hang out in. She was right! What a beautiful blog! I feel my cortisol levels lowering already! :-)

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45 Joanne March 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hello Gabrielle
De-lurking after reading your blog for quite a while (love it!) to say that you can now get Cadbury Mini Eggs in France! Hooray! So pleased to find them in Monoprix (in Paris) last week. They are *Milka* Mini Eggs (I guess Cadbury and Milka are both part of Kraft now) but are exactly the same. Same Mini Eggs lettering on the packaging. Same delicious taste. Had to sample a few to be sure! I put them on top of the chocolate corn flake nests I make.

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46 jennifer March 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Part of my graduate studies took me to Russia for a term and I was feeling terribly homesick around Easter. I decided to be the Easter bunny for all my American classmates & leave them bags full of Easter candy on Sunday morning, though no Easter candy was to be found! I found the cutest Russian candies I could and wrapped them up in pretty paper, but oh my, it was not jelly beans and cadbury mini eggs! The Easter candy you found is at least pretty!

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47 Christelle March 28, 2013 at 10:18 pm

In France Easter eggs are left in the garden by the Easter bells which come flying from Roma, Italy. The small eggs you bought are nice and colourful but very sweet and not very tasty. As kids growing up in Britanny, we used to get less chocolates than North American kids but good quality ones bought in la patisserie or a chocolatier. My favorite ones are still the praline ones. You will find an inexpensive variety of Seashell shaped ones at any grocery stores. One year my grand-mother hide very colourful ceramic eggcups in the garden. I still have mine and cherish it every time I eat un oeuf a la coque.
Joyeuses Paques.

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48 Benedicte March 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

Hi,
you should go look again for the egg dyeing kit… dyeing eggs IS a big thing in France.
I am 30 years old and every year we dye eggs for easter, maybe you just didn’t look in the right place/store.

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49 kandi March 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Bonjour! Happy Easter french chocolate family!

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50 mau April 1, 2013 at 4:26 am

Here we have hollow chocolate eggs mostly and the traditional Maltese Figolla (sweet pastry stuffed with almond meal, in the shape of an animal or whatever you fancy, covered in icing or chocolate). My favourite is my mum’s figolla with a cup of tea. It doesn’t get more Easter-y than that.

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51 Amynta April 3, 2013 at 5:38 am

I spent part of my childhood in France & lived in Paris straight after Art School. My chief memory of French Easter treats were ‘fritures’ – little chocolate and praline fish that came in bags, they looked like sugary whitebait – you could [& I did] buy them in every patisserie.

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