Chocolate has a long and tasty Twin Cities history. Abdallah Candies in Burnsville has been satisfying sweet tooths since 1909 (that’s four generations), and St. Paul’s Regina’s Fine Candies isn’t far behind with three generations of artisans making chocolate among its 400 varieties of candy.
Relative newcomers Painted Turtle Chocolatier in Osseo and St. Croix Chocolate Co. in Marine on St. Croix creatively burst onto the scene in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Together, these small-batch artisans have all corners of the metro covered — in chocolate, of course.
When did Easter and chocolate become so intertwined? The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century, according to the National Confectioners Association, and remain the most popular Easter treats. It didn’t take long for the idea of Easter chocolate to hit America, where a Pennsylvania Dutch shopkeeper put up a 5-foot chocolate rabbit to boost Easter sales in 1890.
But Minnesota isn’t one to be left behind. In 1927, Florian’s Pharmacy in St. Paul had a 75-pound chocolate rabbit that beckoned shoppers to come inside.
Hop forward to today: Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind Halloween (sorry, Valentine’s Day). Rabbits and eggs may still dominate the candy case, but they’ve had to make room for lambs, pigs, chickens and hedgehogs.
And if you can’t resist nibbling on the ears of that chocolate rabbit, you’re not alone: 76 percent of people eat the ears on the chocolate bunnies first. Some traditions should never change.
1. Regina’s Fine Candies
St. Paul, West St. Paul; reginascandies.com
2. Painted Turtle Chocolatier
3. St. Croix Chocolate Co.
Marine on St. Croix; stcroixchocolateco.com
4. Abdallah Candies
Burnsville, Apple Valley; abdallahcandies.com