Not that we need an excuse to eat chocolate – but this year London's top chocolatiers have really gone the extra mile for Easter. There are some impressive High Street options – we like the M&S range and you can't lose with Hotel Chocolat – but for something more bespoke, we've rounded up some of the city's best, from golden eggs to a giant extravaganza that might well last you till next Easter!
Hotel Café Royal's executive pastry chef Sarah Barber is proving she's as superb with her chocolate skills as her patisserie. If you want to really splash out – her team have managed to create a dramatic one-metre high egg, weighing in at 75kg, and filled with Valrhona gold Dulcey pecan nut praline. It took them 3 days to create and will set you back £600.
Or you could always get a slightly smaller version – glazed with Valrhona milk chocolate, and filled with salted caramel truffles. That's £45, on sale at the Café. We also had an opportunity to try their simnel cake and that's a boozy delight.
The Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge has designed a very fancy sounding Nest Egg – handmade from 66% Trinitaro chocolate, with a red velvet shell, dark chocolate feathers and golden ribbons, the whole thing rests on an intricate nest made of dark chocolate. It's £26 and available from the hotel.
Claridges also do an exquisitely designed egg, but they only make 100 each year and this year's batch has already sold out. Make a note so as not to get caught out next year.
Paul A Young's shops are literally overflowing with Easter goodies. Too many to mention them all – but we're especially taken by the limited edition Machu Picchu eggs made from Guittard single origin 65% chocolate, decorated with edible gold leaf and Mayan script. with a box of 9 Guittard Machu Picchu caramel ganache truffles thrown in for good measure. There are only 30 of them available, for £75. You can also get Paul's signature 'soft boiled egg' filled with his sea salted caramel – or the Simnel Billionaire's shortbread which has a layer of marzipan and spiced fruits, at £3.95.
We also like Rococo's range – especially their hand painted sea salt milk chocolate egg, in a beautiful sea salt design in shades of blue and cream. It's filled with Seagull Salted Caramel eggs too – available in their shops or online at £26.95
One of our favourite chocolatiers. Terri Mercieca of Fraise Sauvage, has created a "Chocolate a Million Ways" dessert egg – made from Original Beans chocolate, and filled with her signature Harrods dessert 'Chocolate a million ways', which is one of the most delicious chocolate creations we've ever tried. Priced at £35 - you can order them from her website.
The team at Dominique Ansel London are celebrating their first Easter with some signature chocolate treats. Their Royal Guard egg is made from 60% chocolate, complete with authentic uniform and jaunty bearskin hat – at £15. And the Peep a Boo marshmallow chicks hidden inside a real eggshell are irresistible too – lined with dark chocolate, filled with marshmallow and a salted caramel centre: £20 for 6.
Head to Balthazar boulangerie for an Easter half egg filled with truffles and Montelimar nougat at £10 (large); £8 (medium). They've also got boxes of truffles filled with pistachio and apricot ganache or milk chocolate and passion fruit caramel – and chocolate fish, a traditional French Easter gift, which come in three sizes from £6.50 to £13.
Harvey Nichols has all manner of Easter chocolate goodness on sale - from the Bodrato Tartufo egg - complete with high-end truffle shavings (£19.50) to the Chocolate Society Artisan Blonde Chocolate Easter egg made with Valrhona blonde chocolate. If you're after something a little different, the Michel Cluizel Easter bunny is VERY stylish.
Fortnums is offering some rather special golden eggs: a box of six real eggs have been carefully hollowed out, and filled with a very indulgent chocolate praline. They suggest you gently warm up the egg, crack open the top and dip brioche soldiers into the melting praline mix inside. A box costs £25. They've also got handmade dark and milk chocolate eggs at £37.50 made using the same antique silver moulds that were used back in the 1920s.
Selfridges also has an impressive collection – we like the sound of the Artists Impression egg, hand crafted and painted in spring colours, reflecting the 19th-century French impressionists. There are only 200 of them, all unique – at £29.99.