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  • Writer's pictureKäthe Wohlfahrt

"Osterhasi – Nikolausi"

Do these words also make you think of Gerhard Polt's classic? Yes, we love them, the sweet #Easterbunnies and #Santaclaus made of chocolate. According to the Federal Association of German Confectionery Manufacturers, 144 million Santas/Nicolas were produced for Christmas 2015 alone, and 200 million Easter bunnies for the 2016 Easter season - in all sizes, motif variations and flavors, although the most popular and thus best-selling variant has always been and remains milk chocolate. But that wasn't always the case with chocolate.




Red sugar bunny instead of chocolate egg

Before chocolate became affordable even for ordinary people, sugar figures were the classic sweets that made not only children's eyes light up. The best example is the red sugar bunny. The thin-walled, hollow figures made of sugar, water, glucose syrup and coloring substances have been known as sweets in noble circles since the 18th century. But it was not until the expensive imported cane sugar began to be replaced by sugar from beet, which was cheaper to produce, that sugar figures became popular.

From 1870 - 1950, red "sugar bunnies" were part of every Easter nest in southern Germany. They were produced by bakers, confectioners and candy makers. Very quickly, Christmas and secular motifs were also available throughout Germany, and they continued to be sold at fairs, markets and in bakeries until the 1970s. The hinged metal molds used for mold casting were thick-walled so that the hot, liquid sugar mass cooled quickly after casting. It was not until 1950 that chocolate replaced sugar figurines. Also due to the complex production that requires a lot of practice, there are only a few people today who still master the craft of icing.


From sweet treat to nostalgic home decoration

Many of the beautiful, historic molds for chocolate or sugar figurines today serve completely different manufacturers for your bread and butter. They are the prototypes after which molds made of rubber for chic, nostalgic decoration molds. Because Easter or Christmas "as it used to be" is an unbroken decoration trend that expresses our longing for "the good old days" and revives many a childhood memory.


Are you a rip off guy?

However, before you can head the chocolate figure and eat it with pleasure, the procedure of unpacking belongs to the anticipation. Many a connoisseur takes the trouble and with a delicate hand very carefully develops the fragile figure, even smoothes the packaging and even enjoys the printed motif. However, most people are relatively indifferent to the actual packaging motif, the main thing is delicious #chocolate inside. They scratch a corner free and tear off the body its garment. But what is the wrapper of the figurative chocolate dream actually made of? In 1911, the first chocolate bars were wrapped in thin aluminum. This is still the case with chocolate figurines today. It has a thickness of 0.015 - 0.007mm, making it thinner than a human hair. Nevertheless, today it can be printed in color or even embossed and gives the contours of the chocolate mass their equal and appealing appearance.


From Santa Claus to the Easter Bunny and back?

When people think of "Osterhasi - Nikolausi", they usually also think of the myth that unsold goods are returned to the manufacturer after the respective season, melted down there and cast in the other form to end up on the shelves again. In view of the armies of chocolates at the beginning of each sales season, this is a thought that inevitably suggests itself. And who wants to eat a chocolate Santa in his fourth reincarnation as an #EasterBunny? But here the all-clear is given. In addition to extensive legal regulations that prohibit remelting in Germany, it would even be unprofitable for manufacturers. In addition, it is now possible to adjust production precisely to retailer demand, so that there is usually hardly anything left over. And this small remainder finds thanks to price-reduced sales its friends also still after Easter. Those who still don't quite trust the chocolate body in colorfully printed aluminum foil, but don't want to do without the sweet festive messenger, still have three alternatives: make it yourself, buy it from a chocolatier or confectioner you trust, or go back to the roots and find a sugar bosser (that's what confectioners used to be called) who still artfully and elaborately casts the red or brown sugar figures in small batches. This makes the sweet tooth once again a very special gift for the feast.

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