Easter equals chocolate for Greater Victoria

Local chocolatiers pour it on for spring holiday weekend

Kees Schaddelee

Kees Schaddelee

One week before Easter he is covered in chocolate from chest to knees and Kees Schaddelee is happy.

“When you’re working like this five hours a day, I feel like I’m 20,’ says Schaddelee, 62, of the Dutch Bakery on Fort Street.

Schaddelee officially retired last year but was back at it making chocolate eggs, bunnies and a multitude of other shapes for the shop.

He started making the shop’s trademark bombiers – 20 centimetre two-part milk and dark chocolate hollow eggs – when he was 23. His parents, baker Kees Sr. and wife Mabel, emigrated with their four sons from Holland to Canada in 1955 and brought their chocolate-making experience with them.

“Molds were tin then and there was no machine like this,” Schaddelee says, pointing to the chocolate bath with a 50-centimetre spinning wheel that keeps melted chocolate moving. He pulls a handful of chocolate wafers from a 10-kg box and tosses it in the bath – that helps keep the mixture at an even 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This is so old fashioned I can’t believe it,” he says about the temperature gauge and how he coats, chills, then coats again the inside of a mold to make a bunny. Everything, from 40-cm high hollow bestselling Thumper bunnies down to solid three-centimetre eggs are made by hand in a one-week period before Easter. Over 1,200 kg of chocolate is used.

Langford resident Maria Lironi received her first chocolate bunny from the Dutch Bakery when she was seven. Her grandmother bought everyone in the family chocolate bunnies at Easter and when she died, Lironi, 48, took up the tradition in her early 20s.  “I always buy the same bunny for each family member: motor cars for dad and my brother and a mommy bunny for my mom. The sad thing is no one buys me a bunny so I have to buy one for myself, this year a little chicken. Easter for me is the memory of my grandma,” she says, “and Dutch Bakery bunnies are a part of that.”

University of Victoria religious studies professor William Morrow says humans adapt traditions to fit changing times and Easter is no exception.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s religion or chocolate bunnies, we’re creatures of the Earth and we respond to the cycles of the Earth,” he says. As a species, whether we go to church or a synagogue or down some chocolate this time of year, we’re repeating ancient rituals.

“Easter has a long pedigree before Christians ever got hold of it because most ancient peoples celebrated the coming of spring, the spring equinox, the renewal of the Earth, with some kind of religious festival.” After the dark of winter humans feel better when spring arrives, he says, and express it by sharing feasts and treats.

Chocolatier David Booth doesn’t make chocolate eggs of any kind but does agree that chocolate makes people happy. “I have fun taking raw ingredients and making something beautiful out of them.” A chocolate purist, he makes 30,000 creme-filled truffles each year in the basement kitchen of his family’s Humboldt Street bed and breakfast that are sold in Victoria markets and shops.

Beginning in late February Rogers’ Chocolates chocolatier Cornell Idu and his staff of 12 make about 20 different kind of chocolate items dedicated to Easter.

Idu says chocolate at Easter has its roots in the ancient traditions of Lent and Ramadan when people abstain from eating or indulgences. Those with chickens would end up with an excess number of eggs and so decorating them became a spring tradition, once Lent ended.

The first chocolate egg, Idu says, was made by Cadbury in the late 1800s. And how many chocolate bunnies does his team make for Easter? “No idea. Lots. Oodles.”

By the numbers

$1.5 billion: Total revenue from manufacturers of chocolate and confectioneries from cacoa beans in Canada in 2009.

221: Number of manufacturers of chocolate and confectioneries in Canada in 2009.

$1 billion: Value of egg sales in Canada in 2011.

27 million: Average number of hens laying eggs each month in Canada in 2011.

 

Just Posted

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

North Saanich has started the design of a crosswalk at the intersection of Mills and Littlewood roads near Garden Child Care Centre, whose owner Tracey McCullough has been calling for such a sidewalk. As such, she has been echoing a previous appeal by the building’s owner, Heather and Cory Hastings, standing respectively with seven-year-old Jack Hastings and five-year-old Felix Hastings. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich moves ahead with crosswalk near child care centre

Crosswalk proposed for Littlewood and Mills roads parts of approved active transportation plan

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read