Chocolate bunnies and antique chocolate molds

Col—Trash—4.23.14

Col—Trash—4.23.14As you probably had a bite or three of one of these over the weekend, I thought I would share the history of Easter chocolate bunnies with you. Bunnies, eggs, and chicks all came from pagan traditions, and the Easter Bunny itself can be traced as far back as 13th century Germany. Pagan feasts in honor of the goddess of spring and fertility named Eostra were held on or around the time of the vernal equinox. The symbol for Eostra was the rabbit because of its high reproduction rate. Eggs are also an ancient symbol of fertility and evolved into an early Christian symbol of the resurrection of Christ.
The Germans put these two concepts together, Easter stories resulted and were eventually brought to America. The first chocolate bunnies were made in Germany in the mid 1800’s, and they were an instant hit. Bakeries and chocolatiers demanded molds of all sizes, shapes and for every occasion. The largest examples, as big as 36” in height, were used in display windows. The largest manufacturer during this period was Anton Reiche, which produced over 50,000 designs, most made of tin or silver-plated copper. The molds worked well, but if the tin or silverplate wore off, the poisonous copper was exposed. Only use antique molds if still in nearly pristine condition.
Many molds have beautiful details and are being replicated and sold today. Collectors seek out originals, which can be used if they are in good condition. Typically, the molds are appreciated as art and put on display.  Prices for antique metal molds depend on shape, condition, and maker (look for a stamp), and range from $10 to upwards of $3,000 for the largest examples. The Anton Reiche chocolate bunny mold pictured is currently for sale for $135. A museum completely dedicated to chocolate molds with some interesting facts and pictures can be found at www.schokoladenformenmuseum.

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