Lent, the Christian period of religious observation leading up to the Easter holiday, is traditionally a time for repentance and self-sacrifice. So there’s nothing better than splurging on Easter morning sweets to help compensate for those weeks of missed indulgences.
Chocolats Latour’s Shalini Latour worked as a pastry chef for 20 years before starting her own fair-trade chocolate business out of her home kitchen. “I’ve always loved chocolate,” she says. “My mom is from Belgium, and I lived in Brussels as a teenager, so chocolate was an important part of my life growing up.”
Currently expanding in-store sales to locations like Sidewinder in Northside, Coffee Emporium and, most recently, Whole Foods, Latour hand-paints or airbrushes each individual candy that leaves her kitchen.
Latour’s chocolate Easter bunnies come with a twist. Her white, milk or dark chocolate bunnies ($9.50-$24) are painted with a variety of natural-colored cocoa butters like pink and lavender. She also offers an Easter-themed “Bunny Box” ($28) shaped like a rabbit and filled with 13 truffles including bunny-shaped chili chocolates, pink grapefruit and mint truffles, dulce de leche butterflies and more. Her big chocolate egg ($20) is filled with fleur de sel caramels and dark chocolate duckies inside an edible shell. And her opera cream-filled chocolate eggs ($3) are an upscale version of Cadbury’s. chocolatslatour.com
Fawn Candy Company
The Fawn Candy Company, a small-batch candy company owned and operated by Cincinnati’s Guenther family since 1946, offers a cartoonish four-pound white, dark or milk chocolate bunny named Thumper ($39.95), who resembles the Bambi rabbit. But they also have a yellow-tinted, white-chocolate duck ($3.50-$4.75), or a chocolate cross ($3.50) for Easter baskets or centerpieces. Their “coconut goodie nest” ($2) is a toasted coconut and chocolate patty formed into a nest and decorated with jelly bean “eggs.” fawncandy.com
Graeter’s has a ton of candy options, including a traditional 16-ounce milk or dark chocolate rabbit ($15.95). They also have a box of 12 filled eggs ($14.95) with fillings including opera cream, black raspberry cream and peanut butter. Their marshmallow eggs ($10.95 for nine ounces) are like chocolate-covered Peeps without the creepy eyes. graeters.com
Esther Price, started in Dayton by the Esther Price, has been offering handmade chocolates for 85 years. Their seasonal options include classic chocolate rabbits between 6 and 16 ounces ($4.50-$12.25); a variety of chocolate eggs ($1.95 each) with butter cream, fudge cream, peanut butter, coconut cream or raspberry cream filling; and boozy bourbon cherries ($28.75 per pound). estherprice.com