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The posh breed of chocolate Easter bunnies

Here's an Easter basket filled with the West's poshest bunnies, eggs and other treats. No factory models here — these rabbits are crafted and designed by hand, using only the finest ingredients.

April 24, 2011|By April Orcutt | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Posh Chocolat crafts small milk, dark and white bunnies in baskets from sustainably farmed, fairly traded Ecuadorean and Brazilian chocolate. But it really earns its "posh" status with elegantly swirled hollow chocolate ostrich eggs filled with a quarter-pound of chocolate "coins."
Posh Chocolat crafts small milk, dark and white bunnies in baskets from… (Posh Chocolat )

It's spring, and probably the most welcomed of the season's animals is the bunny — specifically, the chocolate bunny. No mass-produced creatures, these bunnies are made and sold by small, independent chocolatiers and chocolate shops. Grab your Easter bonnet and we'll hippity-hop around the West.


Jean-Michel Carré shapes organic and sustainably grown chocolate from the nearby Santa Barbara Chocolate Co. into refined bunnies and hens as visitors to Chocolats du CaliBressan gaze through a large window into the kitchen. The pink, yellow and green white-chocolate bunnies are filled with smooth dark chocolate and guava ganache. Hollow white or dark chocolate chickens, painted with glossy red and yellow cocoa butter, look as if they should sit on a shelf of antiques, but who would waste such fine confections? Tours and tastings are the third Thursday of the month.

Chocolats du CaliBressan, 4193 Carpinteria Ave., Suite 4, Carpinteria; (805) 684-6900, Santa Barbara Chocolate Co.,

Santa Barbara

Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections has sculpted two breeds of bunnies made with 72% organic chocolate. She uses no molds, instead hand-forming and hand-cutting her bunnies. One type contains crushed, caramelized almonds and sea salt, and the other is hot and smoky with Spanish smoked peppers and Hungarian paprika. Definitely outside the mold. For her velvety truffles, she likes to buy ingredients, such as blueberries, rosemary and lavender, from the local farmers market. You can make an appointment to buy directly from her or find her sweets at Lazy Acres Market and Whole Foods in Santa Barbara and Pierre Lafond in Montecito.

Jessica Foster Confections, P.O. Box 21332, Santa Barbara; (805) 637-6985,

Maya Schoop-Rutten, owner of Chocolate Maya, an inviting shop painted in bright south-of-the-border reds, golds and greens, makes cute molded light and dark chocolate bunnies from organic and ethically sourced chocolate decorated with cocoa butter tinted pink with beet juice. Breathe in deeply to enjoy the aroma, and check out the fun chocolate bunny with an egg in an old-fashioned convertible race car.

Chocolate Maya, 15 W. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara; (805) 965-5956,

Santa Cruz

Mackenzies Chocolates' shop looks like an English cottage and holds what may be the largest chocolate-bunny hutch in the West. Thema and Colin Mackenzie opened the shop in 1984; now their son, Ian, and his wife, Mary Rose, run the business. If you love to munch bunny ears, check out the milk chocolate rabbit with big ears. They also make chocolate male bunnies that are buffed up, wearing a suit, riding a motorcycle, driving a sports car, playing baseball or carrying a jelly bean-filled basket. Voluptuous female bunnies parade in evening gowns. From the retail area visitors can watch candy makers in the factory pour chocolate ducks and white chocolate lambs.

Mackenzies Chocolates, 1492 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz; (831) 425-1492,

Truckee, Calif., and Reno

If size is your goal, Sweets Handmade Candies creates a solid, 26-inch-tall, 22-pound bunny. Using only natural ingredients and working by hand in small batches, candy makers shape gourmet peanut butter, chocolate, chocolate nut and rocky-road fudge eggs, hand-dip them in silky Belgian chocolate and then individually hand-decorate them. Owner Rebecca Cavender recommends the homemade marshmallow eggs.

Sweets Handmade Candies, 10118 Donner Pass Road, No. 1, Truckee, Calif.; (530) 587-6556, and 4991 S. Virginia, Suite C, Reno; (775) 827-8270, (888) 248-8840,

Eugene, Ore.

Foil-wrapped bunnies at family-owned Euphoria Chocolate Co. have been a local favorite for 30 years, and kids who tasted their first chocolate carrot at Euphoria in the 1980s are now bringing in their own children.

Euphoria Chocolate Co., 6 W. 17th Ave., Eugene; (541) 343-9223, Two other Eugene locations, plus a factory store.

Spokane, Wash.

The Chocolate Apothecary is decorated with apothecary drawers as well as masks, elephant curios and lots of plants meant to evoke tropical lands where cacao, the basis of chocolate, is grown. "I wanted to reflect the tradition of apothecaries traveling to distant lands and bringing back new treatments and remedies," said owner Susan Davis. Among the Chocolate Apothecary "remedies" are bunnies from Spokane chocolatiers Pixie Dust Chocolates and Chocolate Myracles.

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