*Adds to Easter shopping basket.*
Thoughts of chocolate are never far from mind, but with Easter Sunday dawning ever closer, the craving for something sweet has only intensified.
Supermarket shelves are laden with choices, but there are also several Irish-made options worth considering – many of which are almost too beautiful to eat.
Almost. Chocolate is chocolate, after all.
Bean and Goose
Easter may typically be associated with bunnies, but Bean and Goose are hoping to change that with their beloved bouncer, the elegant Irish Hare (or Giorria Eireannach) and the mysterious Bean Goose.
Run by sisters Karen and Natalie Keane, all their chocolate is made at Last Tree Farm in the Wexford countryside, where the team proudly partner with the finest Irish producers, artists and illustrators to create the finished product.
Steadfast in the belief that sustainability must be at the core of what they do, Bean and Goose is the only Irish chocolate company to partner exclusively with Original Beans, a single origin bean to bar producer who works to replenish what they take.
Priced at €19.50, both the Irish Hare and the Bean Goose are made using vegetarian-friendly chocolate and can be bought online or in select stockists (such as Avoca) nationwide.
Created in Dublin back in 1987 by Connie Doody and Mary White, Lir grew from humble beginnings at Connie’s kitchen table. Starting out with just a food mixer and bowl, the operation expanded from there and several years of experience later and the award-winning Lir is still at the fore of the Irish chocolate scene.
All products are handcrafted in Co Meath where their 250+ team of “part designers, part food scientists, part alchemists, and part magicians” make over 100 million individual chocolates each year.
This silky-smooth Belgian chocolate half egg is brimming with a moreish chocolate ganache centre and filled with a selection of sweet treats from hidden marshmallows to crunch malt balls, salted caramel crisp pearls and white chocolate buttons.
Available to buy for €11.99 at Tesco.
Arcane Luxury Irish Chocolates
A Dublin-based chocolate company, Arcane doesn’t try to please the masses in pursuit of profit, but rather aims to create something that marries their respect for traditional Belgian craftsmanship with Irish ingredients and a deep appreciation for cacao.
Using a combination of knowledge and experience to master the art of production, it’s all headed up by Belgian chef and chocolatier Erik Van der Veken. From lavish boxes of handmade chocolates to indulgent slabs of rich chocolate, everything is made from single bean origin cacao ethically sourced in Bolivia.
Their Easter offering starts at €21 for a mini selection box of nine Easter eggs.
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
Making waves on the Irish (and international) chocolate scene since they first opened back in 2014, Hazel Mountain Chocolate is nestled along the Wild Atlantic Way with locations in both Clare and Galway.
Already with an array of prestigious food awards tucked into their aprons, the team has even crossed over into the TV world with an appearance alongside Nigella Lawson who apparently “swooned” over their hot chocolate – so you have it on good authority that they know what they’re doing.
Making use of local, sustainable, natural ingredients, each individual Easter egg is hand-painted by their talented team of chocolatiers using plant-based coloured cacao butter.
Prices start at €4.20 and you can shop the full Hazel Mountain range on their website.
Based down in Co Kerry, Lorge is owned and run by Benoit Lorge who creates luxury, high-end confectionery using top ingredients. A trained pastry chef, he started his own business in 2003 and specialises in everything from truffles to bars, boxes, hot chocolate, chocolate spreads, nougat, marshmallows, jams and chutneys too.
Everything is handmade in Bonane, just 5km from Kenmare and Benoit now also runs a number of specialist courses for aspiring chocolate makers in which he’ll teach you the finer points of preparing, handling and finishing many different types of chocolate.
Lorge Easter eggs start at €9.70 and are available to buy via the website.
So named after their only daughter, Chez Emily was set up by Ferdinand and Helena in the summer of 1996 after the couple moved to Ireland in June. Honing their family recipe to perfection over the following years, they started out selling at local country fairs, Christmas events and weekly food markets but they’ve since launched into retail and business to business wholesale too.
According to them, Chez Emily’s ethos has changed very little in the past 24 years but their passion and dedication has only increased and they strive to be as sustainable as possible while still bringing handmade artisanal products made from original family recipes to the Irish food scene.
This luxurious Easter family box is available to buy for €32.50.
Already with a reputation that precedes them, Grá Chocolates has established themselves as one of the country’s premier artisan confections. The brainchild of Galway woman Gráinne Mullins, the idea stemmed from a childhood love of cooking and food. Growing up on the west coast where fresh, local ingredients were always favoured, she began her career working part-time in the pastry section of five-star hotels… later moving to France to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Aix-en-Provence.
Moving home and channelling her skills, artistry and joy into Grá Chocolates, she’s enjoyed huge success since she first launched two years ago in 2020. Each chocolate takes three whole days to create and moulds are hand polished to ensure a glossy, luxurious sheen before even before any of the colourful hand-painted decoration is added.
Also favouring only the finest ingredients – including ethically sourced Valrhona chocolate, Casa Luker cocoa butter and the world’s best dairy produce, Irish cream and butter – they’re chosen according to the seasons to reflect Ireland’s rich larder
Choose between a range of different Easter eggs on the Grá Chocolates website, with prices starting at €45.
Special mention: Tony’s Chocolonely
Although not an Irish brand, Tony’s Chocolonely is worth mentioning as they’re on a mission to make the chocolate industry slave-free and as ethical/sustainable as possible. Noting that things aren’t being shared evenly in the chocolate supply chain, the Tony’s team want to help make illegal child labour and modern slavery stop – but they need all hands on deck and the more people who join their mission, the sooner it will become a reality.