Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

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See update at the end of the page.

In most countries with a sizable Christian population, Easter candies are abundant at this time of year. Switzerland is no exception. Here, while Easter eggs are quite plentiful, the candy of choice seems to be the chocolate Easter bunny (Osterhase). Window upon window is filled with rows of Easter bunnies, from the cute to the comical to the frankly grotesque.

I spent Sunday afternoon learning how to make chocolate Easter bunnies in the kitchen of a small artisanal pastry and confectionery maker in the sleepy town of Kaltbrunn in the canton of St. Gallen. Chocolate, fresh spring air, gorgeous Swiss mountain scenery. Life doesn't get much better than this.

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Half of our fellow classmates for the Easter bunny course were kids, and the rest were eager adults. The class was lead by Martin from Isler Torten and Robert from Lienert Konditorei, and held in the kitchens of Isler Torten. We all had loads of fun, and best of all we got to take home all of our creations.

In 3+ hours, we learned how to decorate a chocolate mold, how to coat it, and finally how to fill it. Each step was carefully clearly demonstrated by Robert and Martin. I've always wondered how molded chocolates were made, and I learned a lot.

Here are some pictures from the afternoon.

The stages of making a molded chocolate. First the mold is painted and decorated on the inside surface, then coated with a layer of chocolate. Then it's filled and cooled, and finally it's unmolded. In the background are the chocolate tempering pots, which hold the melted chocolate at a constant 45°C.

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Martin shows how to decorate the inside of the mold with small parchment paper piping bags, pastry brushes and your fingers, while the students look on intently.

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Our chocolate molds, painted strategically on the inside with white and dark chocolate. (We used white and dark chocolates for decorating, and filled them with milk chocolate.)

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Martin shows how to coat the inside of the painted mold with a thin layer of milk chocolate.

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Some of our decorated and coated chocolate molds, clipped together and ready to fill.

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Filling the molds with melted chocolate. Lots of sticky fingers of course.

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Nothing says heaven like industrial sized slabs of chocolate. Mmm. Incidentally, the milk chocolate here was just wonderful. I've been rather into those trendy varietal dark chocolates recently, but this really restored my faith in really good, smooth, creamy milk chocolate. (To attest to how good it is, one of the bunny creations has already disappeared...) One lady purchased a slab of the chocolate to take home, besides all the molded ones she and her 4 kids had made.

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Molten chocolate is poured over a large sheet, on which the molds are placed bottom (open) side down, then placed in large refrigerators to cool.

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Taking the cooled molds off the sheets and unclipping them, very carefully...

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Our chocolates all came out intact, looking adorable. In the back are some small chocolates made by someone else.

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Presentation is important. Robert shows how to wrap the chocolates in cellophane and tie them up with pretty ribbons.

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Our proud creations make it home intact. In front is a chocolate cup made by Insler Torten.

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I made two molds, but my favorite is this jaunty bunny-with-child on a Vespa, sporting a headband and a polka dot shirt.

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Vielen Dank to our wonderful teachers, Martin and Robert!

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This class was conducted in Swiss German, but Robert (who very kindly gave us a lift back to the train station) told us that they also do chocolate seminars in English all over Switzerland and Germany too, especially specialized events for corporations. They also sell their own handmade chocolate and other sweet creations from their web sites, and Isler Torten provides party catering and a cooking class too.

I think it's people like Martin and Robert that make Swiss chocolate so good. Besides the well known large corporations like Cailler and Lindt, and multi-store boutiques like Sprüngli, there are the small artisanal chocolatiers like them who make people happy with their handmade creations. Is there any wonder why the Swiss are the world leaders in per capita consumption of chocolate?

They are going to be offering a Weihnacht (Christmas) chocolate seminar too. I've already marked it on my calendar.

Information (all links are in German, but most Swiss companies speak English!):

Update: Posted July 2009

As far as I know, Isler Torten still conducts chocolate workshops. As I wrote in the article they are in Swiss-German, unless you can get together a big enough group for them to do a private English class. Several people have emailed me in the last 3+ years since this article appeared here, asking me to get into contact with the company for them, sign them up for a workshop, and so on. I can't do that, but honestly, they do speak English (most Swiss people younger than say, 50 or so do) even if their site is in German! So don't be scared, go ahead and email or call them directly please.

I did take their Christmas chocolate truffle class a year after the Easter Bunny workshop. It was great fun too, but the bunny one was more involved. If you have a choice, I'd go for the bunny workshop.

Finally, I also can't help you with where to get Easter bunny molds/moulds like the ones you see in the photos either. Google/Yahoo/Bing/your search engine of choice is your friend!

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Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

Oh, fun! That looked like an absolute blast. Those slabs of chocolate made my mouth water...

Karen | 4 April, 2006 - 04:08

Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

What an afternoon! I just love the idea of visiting an easter bunny factory... And I thought that Switzerland is a dull place - silly me ;)

Anna | 5 April, 2006 - 00:10

Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

oh fun! here in italy, they eat chocolate eggs, not bunnies--and they are filled with surprises:)

tracie b | 5 April, 2006 - 18:16

Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

Anna, Switzerland isn't that boring :) It's peaceful and tranquil yes...but boring? naah.

(and during Street Parties and such it's not even peaceful and tranquil!)

Tracie, we have Easter Eggs filled with pralines and truffles and things here too, but bunnies seem to be a bit more popular somehow.

maki | 6 April, 2006 - 19:11

Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

hey i think its really cool how you guys can do that and i hope someday i can come and visit Switzerland from the United States

Breann Garhart | 11 April, 2006 - 21:03

Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

That's great. I wonder if there is a course like that in Canton Berne. My wife would be eager to learn how to make chocolate Easter bunnies. who says Switzerland is a dull place?

Mark | 28 April, 2006 - 10:20

Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

One source to ask about would be the editors of Annemarie Wildeisen's cooking magazine, as they are located in Bern.

Otherwise, you might get friendly with your local chocolatier; if they make their own bunnies, it might be possible to arrange for some kind of workshop.

If all that fails, your wife might convince the local women's organization ("Frauenverein"), or another club of your hometown that such a workshop would be great. Lienert/Isler go out and do such workshops on-site.

And if even that fails, Kaltbrunn is not really thaaaat far away .

max | 28 April, 2006 - 16:36

Easter Bunny Molds

I’m a retired man living in New Jersey. My father was a candy confectioner for thirty years in Atlantic City. My family are all gone now and our store closed it’s doors in 1970. I inherited our entire collection of candy molds and for the first time in thirty five years made bunnies with my grown daughter yesterday. I would love to research the molds that I have out of curiosity to find out where they came from and if they have any value. While searching on line I could find nothing until I looked at this site. The plastic molds and little round metal clips look exactly like the molds I have. My question to you is…..” Can you tell me anything about your molds so I can research mine.” I noticed that they have a round trade mark or brand and are only numbered…150a, 112b,…etc. Any information you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time and trouble. Ed Maltz

Edward Maltz | 23 March, 2007 - 17:25

I'll try to ask

Edward, I really dont know anything about the chocolate molds, but I will see if I can get in touch with the chocolatier we took the class at this week.

maki | 24 March, 2007 - 15:52

Oh my, what a wonderful

Oh my, what a wonderful read! Thanks so much for sharing.
I’m just glad that I’m far away from all that chocolate … ^-~

PS: The biker bunny is my fav!

Monika N. | 6 April, 2007 - 03:49

delicious chocolate

i saw your picture of how to make a chocolate…
i find it interesting

maeann | 3 December, 2007 - 09:08

giant candy molds

I have been looking for very very large chocolate molds. I have had no luck with anything over 18” but am looking for something like 3’ with Easter bunnies and Santa Clause could you direct me please
Thank you very much
Debbie

Debbie | 18 March, 2008 - 23:08

Re: Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of ...

i have been look for large easter mold i have had no luck.could you direct me please

anon. | 25 January, 2009 - 21:01
Dr Deepali | 25 June, 2009 - 10:50

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