Fedora’s Artisanal Chocolate Eggs

By Lauren Mulvey

This spring at Florence University of the Arts’ pastry shop, Fedora, head pastry chef Simone De Castro is working on his latest round of chocolate eggs with his students. De Castro’s spring collection will feature 11 eggs of varying designs based around the natural environment and sustainability, as well as a mini collection of specialized chocolate eggs for children. During the spring season, chocolate eggs pop up in nearly every market and pasticceria in Italy’s city centers. Chocolate eggs are an Italian Easter tradition that rose to popularity following World War II. The chocolate eggs themselves are a special treat, but they serve to hold gifts for family members and children. On Easter day, families in Italian homes around the country can be found cracking their egg open to find a secret surprise inside. De Castro has been making collections of eggs every spring for years, and each year, he has selected a theme that presents a string of thoughts and feelings he has experienced. In Fedora this spring, you can expect to find chocolate eggs embellished with earth-inspired textures like wood,
stone, leaves and flowers. “Nature is the only place that calms me,” De Castro said of his choice to utilize these themes. Not only will the eggs include imagery of nature, but their packaging and production will also be sustainable. De Castro ensures the chocolate is free trade, packaging is recyclable and the production of the chocolate excludes the usual use of non-sustainable tools.
“I don’t want to dirty the world with the creation of rubber molds or plastic molds,” De Castro said. “I prefer to use my hands and some techniques for modeling that use tools that can be sustainable.”
The process of making these eggs is straightforward, but requires precision. De Castro explains in simple terms, one must temper the chocolate, pour it into a molded shape, wait for it to crystallize and place the Easter gift inside before closing and decorating the final product. For now, De Castro works alone on the eggs. However, students in Fedora’s Chocolate Artistry course, starting in FUA’s fourth session on April 4, will assist De Castro in completing his vision and crafting the chocolate carefully for families and gatherings throughout Florence. Through this process, students will not only practice their chocolate crafting skills, but will immerse themselves in Italian culture at one of the most joyous times of year in Italy. To see De Castro’s 2022 chocolate egg collection in-person, visit Fedora between March 22nd and the end of the Easter season.