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Chocolate Bunnies, History Of
The very first written record of any kind of egg-laying bunny comes from the 1600s, in Germany.The Oschter Haws (Easter Hare) brought coloured eggs as gifts for children. In later versions of the story, she hides the eggs in the garden for children to find. Yes, she.The Oschter Haws was decidedly a female hare. Hares have never been domesticated (unlike rabbits) but they are closely related to rabbits. So how did the Oschter Haws become the Easter Bunny, which most people identify as a male rabbit? In the 1700s, German immigrants (later called the Pennsylvania Dutch) brought the Oschter Haws to the Eastern United States—along with an established tradition of chocolate. There’s no record of who invented the chocolate Easter bunny but chances are good it was someone of German descent. Tins for chocolate moulds that date back to 1890 have been found in Munich, Germany. Meanwhile circa 1890 in Pennsylvania, drugstore owner Robert L. Strohecker crafted a 1.5 meter (5’) chocolate rabbit as a way to advertise Easter. And that's all it took. By 1925, chocolate bunnies had, ahem, multiplied in popularity. Some even had accessories like bowties or hats, which gave them a gentlemanly vibe. We dug through the Purdys archives and found a fabulous photo (dating circa 1980s) of chocolate bunnies on display at our Kingsway Factory Kitchen in Vancouver, Canada, which is where we still craft all of our chocolates.The largest bunny on the right is Charles, our 12 kilogram bunny named in honour of Charles Flavelle, then-owner of Purdys Chocolatier. You can still buy Charles today in select Purdys shops (look for him in the display window, you can’t miss him!).And did you know that a group of bunnies is called a fluffle?We have a whole fluffle of chocolate bunnies, some hollow, some solid but all made from only 100% sustainable cocoa, to guarantee a Hoppy Easter for everyone.
Matcha, Matcha Man: How matcha green tea became a thing
If you’ve been by our website or a shop recently, you might have spotted Matcha or Matcha Coconut Bar.But what exactly is matcha, how’s it different than other teas and why is our chocolatier Rachel McKinley excited to creatively craft chocolate confections using matcha?Matcha and regular green tea come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis, native to China. But sometime in the early part of the 12th century, Japanese Zen Buddhist monks brought back from China a new kind of tea: one that had been steamed and ground into a fine powder.In other words, matcha.And while matcha became less and less popular in China, it became a staple of meditation for Zen Buddhist monks and then a favourite of the warrior class and the Shogun rulers. Today, matcha is essential for tea ceremonies throughout Japan, and around the world it has gained in popularity as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes.Matcha tea leaves are prepared in a special way. A few weeks before harvesting, the tea bushes are protected from direct sunlight with cloths, and these shaded conditions stimulate the plant to create more chlorophyll and amino acids, deepening the flavour of the tea leaves.Whole leaves are expertly picked, steamed to preserve the colour and nutrients, then dried, deveined and destemmed. The leaves that are deemed ideal for matcha tea are known as tencha.Tencha is ground into a fine powder in a very slow, gentle process done with large granite wheels. The process is done this way to avoid scorching the leaves. That fine powder is called matcha, literally “ground tea”.Matcha has a strong, robust umami flavour that plays really well with cocoa. Try it and delight yourself!
Put on your baking hats, it's World Baking Day!
It's World Baking Day today!That's a whole entire day dedicated to cookies! crumbles! pies! shortbread! cheesecake!It's also exactly 1 month and 1 day to Father's Day, so we thought we'd do something for World Baking Day and create a recipe that's a cool nod to dads everywhere.Enter Shawn Taylor, Culinary Advisor (and Photographer!) at Purdys Chocolatier. As Culinary Advisor, Shawn has created or collaborated on hundreds of both savoury and sweet recipes for Purdys, either online at purdys.com or for our special eBook collections.And as Photographer at Purdys, Shawn has also styled and shot every single one of your favourite chocolates. We know, we know, it's a sweet job and somebody's gotta do it.Shawn (that's him in the photo with his son) is the father of two impossibly adorable children, and he took inspiration from them: "I’m really into baking and cooking, and I love showing my kids how you get to enjoy something you made yourself and how it’s easy to work with chocolate when you follow the steps."Licorice Caramel Shortbread SquaresIngredients:2/3 cup + 1 tbps butter1/4 cup sugar1 1/4 cup flour, sifted10 Purdys Licorice Caramels4 Purdys Vanilla Caramels4 tbsp cream100 g Purdys Classic Dark ChocolateInstructions:Preheat oven to 350°F.Prepare a 9 inch square pan with cooking oil or line with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, use a mixer to cream 2/3 cup butter and sugar together until fluffy.Sift flour and stir it into creamed butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. Be careful not to over mix or shortbread will become tough.Press into a 9 inch square pan and bake for 20 minutes. When finished, set aside to cool.Cut caramels into quarters and melt in saucepan with cream on medium heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Be careful not to burn the mixture as the chocolate will melt quickly but the caramel will need another 1-2 minutes to melt. Continue stirring until emulsified, for another 2-3 minutes.Spread caramel onto cooled shortbread and set aside to cool.Chop dark chocolate into small pieces and melt in heatproof bowl in microwave for 20 seconds at a time until melted. Stir in 1 tbsp butter until mixture is smooth and silky.With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate on top of the caramel layer and chill for 20 minutes in fridge or for 1 hour at room temperature.Cut into 2 inch squares to serve.You can also grab the printable version of this recipe.
Together, we can help Ecuador & our cocoa farmer partners
UPDATE: Thank you for your incredible help and support! Together, we donated $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross Ecuador Appeal. If you would like to make a further donation, please contribute at redcross.ca/ecuador. Ecuador experienced one of the largest earthquakes in its recent history this past Saturday, April 16th. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has caused widespread and extensive damage to homes, infrastructure and tragically, a great loss of life and many injuries to people of all ages. Purdys’ President & Chocolate Scientist Peter Higgins has been in touch with our Sustainable Cocoa partners (TCHO) on the ground in Ecuador. Sadly, the provinces where our Ecuadorian cocoa is grown – Manabí and Esmeraldas – are two of the most badly affected provinces in the country. We have confirmed that a number of cocoa-processing facilities and communities associated with our co-op program have been damaged, but thankfully, with no fatal casualties to report. Our condolences, thoughts and well-wishes go out to all our farmer partners and their families and communities affected by this disaster. In light of these recent events, Purdys would like to show our financial support via a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Ecuador Appeal that is currently providing essential humanitarian assistance in the region. Purdys’ team will continue to stay in touch with our partners at TCHO and provide more updates from our cocoa communities as they become available.
We did it (and we're not done!)
I know I speak for everyone at Purdys Chocolatier when I say that we're all incredibly proud of the results of our Clean Water Project, where $2 from the sale of each Clean Water Project chocolate bar went towards raising funds for LifeStraw Community water filters. We launched the program just a few short weeks ago, on April 3rd, and it's specifically focused on raising funds for LifeStraw Community filters to be distributed in cocoa-growing co-ops that are part of the Purdys Sustainable Cocoa Program. Our Sustainable Cocoa Program itself continues to support our cocoa-growing co-ops around the world by providing our farmer partners with better wages, medical care and community programs that help to raise the standard of living for themselves, their families and their communities.LifeStraw Community filters, made by Swiss company Vestergaard Frandsen, are award-winning devices that are easy to use and provide clean, safe drinking water without the use of any chemicals, electricity or other special treatments. These filters remove 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoan (disease-causing) parasites—which means that fewer children miss school because of illness from dirty water or because they must fetch water from places that aren't easily accessible.Just one LifeStraw Community filter provides safe, clean drinking water for about 60 children for three whole years. We initially hoped to raise enough funds for 35 LifeStraw Community water filters. But thanks to your enthusiatic support of the Clean Water Project, we've already met our goal...and we're going to keep going.We want to see how many more LifeStraw Community water filters we can fundraise for, so we're hard at work at our Factory Kitchen crafting more Clean Water Project bars (milk chocolate with crunchy salted butter toffee pieces).Thank you for your continued support and for helping make clean water possible in rural cocoa-growing communities.Sincerely,PeterPeter Higgins, President & Chocolate Scientist at Purdys Chocolatier
Whiskey, Whisky, What?
What better way to cheer on St. Patrick's Day than with whiskey, Ireland's unofficial official drink?Specifically, Irish Whiskey Truffle, which is a deep dark chocolate truffle made with Bushmills Irish Whiskey from Ireland’s oldest distillery (licensed in 1608, whoa).Whiskey (or whisky, more on that in a bit!) is crafted from a mash of malted grains like barley, corn or wheat. The amount of each grain used, where the whiskey is distilled, and how the whiskey is aged is what creates different types like Irish whiskey, Scottish whisky, bourbon, scotch and moonshine.‘Whiskey’ comes from the Gaelic phrase uisce betha, meaning ‘water of life’, a translation of the Latin aqua vitae, which was used to describe spirits (not the spooky kind, the drinking kind!).Whiskey with an ‘e’ refers to the Irish or American liquors. Whisky without the ‘e’ refers to liquors distilled in Scotland, Canada and Japan. The plural of whiskey is whiskeys while the plural of whisky is whiskies. Still with us? An easy way to remember which is which is by keeping in mind that there's a 'e' in Ireland and America but there's no 'e' in Scotland, Canada or Japan. And while you can buy whisk(e)y made in the USA, Canada or Japan, it's the Scots and Irish who are best known for it. Whisk(e)y was most certainly invented in either Scotland or Ireland sometime during the Middle Ages (and we hear they're still 'discussing' who should claim the credit for inventing it).The process of making whiskey (or whisky) is as individual as the maker. It all starts with the grain, generally barley, steeped in water and then left to germinate. During this process, starch in the grain is converted into sugar by special enzymes. After about 6-7 days of germination, the grain (now called malt) is dried to halt the germination process.The dried malt is ground into grist, mixed with hot water, then yeast is added to begin the fermentation process.Lastly, the mixture is distilled at least twice, and then aged in wooden casks, traditionally oak casks.However, the Bushmills Irish Whiskey we chose specifically for our Irish Whiskey Truffle is aged in former Oloroso (a type of sherry) casks, which gives the whiskey rich, fruity notes that are the ideal complement to our rich dark chocolate.So grab a few Irish Whiskey Truffles and get ready to cheers, or as the Irish say, Sláinte (pronounced slawn-cha, meaning 'health').