The chocolate rabbit is as synonymous with Easter in New Zealand as marshmallow eggs and arcane trading laws. But not all are created equal, as Amanda Thompson discovered.
I have the coolest co-workers in New Zealand. In case you think you have the coolest co-workers in New Zealand, before you set your pants on fire being a liar liar consider this: yesterday two kingfish were cleaned and gutted in our staffroom sink by a team member (coy about his exact age, I can nevertheless reveal he has several grandkids), who said he “won them” off a bloke on a boat who dared him to do a couple of backflip manus off the wharf. Case closed.
However. It has been brought to my incredulous attention that some of the very rad people I work with don’t really dig marshmallow easter eggs and don’t care to centre them as the key part of their festive Easter feasting – they are all about hoeing into the chocolate carcass of a cutesy anthropomorphic rabbit instead. As I have annoyingly and often stated, I am not OK with this.
Chocolate-coated marshmallow is my hero, my king, my delicious conqueror. How could my many hard-working colleagues of above average intellect and attractiveness actually prefer chocolate bunnies? Staggered by this revelation, what was I, a marshmallow fangirl, to do?
Keep an open mind, that’s what. The first to admit I will brashly and persistently say what I mean and almost definitely nearly always mean what I say, if the last year or two has taught me something, it is that only fools are certain of anything, we can trust in nothing, and smart people have a plan B for everything. My marshmallow king needs a queen. I needed to applaud the magnificent diversity in my workplace and explore the daunting world of chocolate-but-not-marshmallow Easter stuff – specifically, the chocolate bunny.
Hollow ones, filled ones, cheap ones, luxury buys, chonkin big boys or mini snackettes – for a truly Joyeuses Pâques, which bitesome bunny should I love? Should I go for quantity over quality, or is there a crafty way to combine the best of both?
To find out, I bought up large and ate up even larger. My reluctantly loyal family came along for a punishing taste test. To maintain consistency with our previous rankings we worked hard to ensure that our methods were slapdash and erratic, our critiques highly biased, and our results wildly unreliable.
You are most welcome.
11) Kinder Easter Bunny
15g x 3, $2.50
In another lifetime long, long ago, I spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean, but don’t feel too jealous, because the only non-cooking chocolate I could ever get was a Kinder Bueno. A funless kid’s candy bar, the fallaciously named Bueno didn’t even have the usual Kinder generosity of a plastic surprise inside. These crap rabbits took me right back to those desperate days. Overly sweet and oily and once again, no surprise. Outrageous.
Points for: The fact that we have choices in this democracy and nobody really has to eat this.
10) Nestle After Eight Easter Bunny
I loathed this dude on sight. I mean look at him with his taxman’s briefcase and smug lipless smirk. We know he’s a dude because of that unnecessarily colonial bowtie he clearly thinks is the height of uptight fashion. What’s even in that briefcase? The deed to the property next to your house probably. He’s going to build a battery chicken farm on it and pump all the effluent straight into your local school pool while he laughs it up all the way to his tax haven in the Maldives. Smirky little shit. Tasted terrible and made my whole fridge smell like toothpaste until I threw his bitter remains away.
Points for: Doubles as a powerful minty air freshener.
9) Nestle Kit Kat Easter Bunny
Nothing like the original Kit Kat, just sweet milk chocolate with a bit of crunch. Expectations? Dashed. Next.
Points for: Being cheap.
8) Regelein Confiserie Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny with Dragees
The packaging promises this German-made bunny is full of “yummy candy” and it’s true! Everyone loved the weird little fruit-flavoured balls. The chocolate itself, however, was not so nice – it had an even weirder gritty texture like there was fine sawdust mixed into the thin coverture. Not worth the air miles.
Points for: My kids adding the word “dragee” to their foodie lexicon.
7) Miann Chocolate Factory Milk Chocolate Mr Rabbit
Controversial placing for such a high-class chocolatier I know. I love Miann generally but I don’t love this hollow bunny specifically. Why is this luxuriously priced chocolate gendered? There is no non-binary option to tick on the order form. You can buy either a MR Bunny or a MRS Bunny who is clearly and unfairly branded with a pink Dolores Umbridge bow along with her marital status. Mr Bunny is also slightly heftier of girth, which may or may not be a sly social comment on his extra 9.5% earning power. I ordered Mr Bunny, naturally. He was pretty rough around the edges but exquisitely rich with the purest of male privilege.
Points for: Free, fast shipping.
6) Jacquot Hollow Chocolate Rabbit
The pink foil “crazy-eyed mama” packaging on this French offering didn’t really appeal to me. However, the kids described the chocolate itself as “OK” and “not terrible” and ate the whole thing, so combined with the reasonable price I guess this was a cheery, moderate success. A happy Easter for those on a budget.
Points for: Meh! *shrugs shoulders in dismissive Gallic style*.
5) Bennetts of Mangawhai Milk Chocolate Benny Bunny
One of my very awesome colleagues recommended Benny Bunny to me, saying she once received him as a gift and thought he looked so cute she couldn’t actually bear to eat him. Personally I think he looks like a chocolatier’s representation of a fart in a jar. It’s a better locally made bunny choice than the Miann version though – the kids loved his friendly fat face and his almost solid ears. The finish of the chocolate itself was sort of dull and soft, and a bit sweet for my liking. The kids were scathingly dismissive of my opinion.
Points for: Being the Children’s Choice of 2021.
4) Lindt Milk Chocolate Gold Bunny
The classic Lindt bunnies of any flavour (they also come in white and vegan dark chocolate, and the harder to find hazelnut) are pretty yum. Smooth and rich with a consistently elegant finish, I would be happy with this rabbit at any time. The only thing that ruins my enjoyment of this luxury treat is the stupid little ribbon with the stupid little bell. Apart from it being impossible to sneak a bunny into the house without the kids hearing the tell-tale ting-a-ling, some hilarious comedian always ends up wearing one around for days as a bracelet or tying it to the dog’s collar, freaking the poor silly bugger completely out and doing my head totally in.
Points for: Being classy as well as devastatingly delicious.
3) Mars Maltesers Easter Bunny
Another popular pick, Malteser bunnies came up in my workplace Easter chats repeatedly, with one co-worker getting quite breathy and fluttery when trying to described the filling. “Kind of like a real Malteser, kind of not like a Malteser. Maybe like soft hokey pokey? Or nougat. No! Like Russian fudge, sort of.” And the soft, toothsome centre of these dizzyingly good-value star-jumping rabbits was exactly like all of those things. Squishy and malty, fudgey and flavoursome. Apparently you can get them on sale after Easter for 80 cents but I wouldn’t wait. A little mass-produced wonder.
Points for: Humble, under-the-radar-style over-achievement.
2) Chocolate Traders NZ Retro Rabbit in Car
Unknown weight, $20
Chocolate Traders is an under-appreciated company from Lincoln, Christchurch with products lurking in Whitcoulls and other languishing bricks-and-mortar stores around the country. Their dreadful 90s-style website that will only open properly if you tip your phone sideways is packed with a completely baked selection of terrifying chocolate animals and I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re feeling really flush, for 70 clams you could send your enemies a gigantic aggressive chicken who looks like she’s just waiting for a full moon to actually come alive and totally peck your eyes out. I – ha ha – chickened out and went for the more modest racing rabbit instead. At 20 bucks with extra for postage he was still a very spendy bunny but just look at him. Would you expect to pay anything less for such a free-wheelin’ fast-livin’ big baller? He’ll always be a rebel. He’ll never be tamed. He’s the exact kind of dark, handsome and no-fucks-given bad boy my mother always warned me about. Such a bad boy, in fact, that even though I waited and waited he never showed up in the mailbox before I had to finish this article, breaking my whole heart and leaving me to only dream of what might have been. God I miss him.
Points for: Maintaining the mystery in our relationship.
1) Whittaker’s 50% Dark Chocolate Kiwi
Some may say it’s wrong for a kiwi to win a bunny competition (it was my husband. We literally had a 10-minute argument about it.) But I will never apologise for being a true patriot and I say a kiwi will and should always win everything. Be loyal and support local! Whittaker’s also has a milk chocolate version of this “bunny” and as an equal-opportunity glutton I am happy to chow down on either. The palm oil-free and Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate delivers a satisfying snap when you break into the giant and very much endangered kiwi egg, which seems so wrong and then turns out so right because it’s simply delectable. Beautiful mouth feel, royally rich finish and not so bad on the budget you can’t buy one for all your mates, as well as available absolutely everywhere. You will also get the warm, superior feeling of knowing that for every chocolatey kiwi sold at the supermarket, Whittaker’s will donate 20c towards protecting a feathery kiwi in the wild. The only thing that could possibly make this Easter bird/egg any better is if there was a tiny chocolate kiwi embryo hidden inside the chocolate egg, I reckon. A missed educational opportunity, really. Something to consider for next year perhaps.
Points for: Whittaker’s finally getting into one of my Best Chocolate Thing lists. Congratulations Andrew and Brian – you made it, guys. You made it.
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