April is here, along with spring and the much anticipated arrival of the Easter Bunny. This year, the National Confectioners Association estimates that upwards of 90-million chocolate rabbits will be sold across the United States! That’s a lot of bunnies!
The rock stars of Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies are well known as the most popular Easter treat. In fact, the origin of the symbolic yummy bunnies can be traced back to the 18th century, when German immigrants settled in the United States and brought with them tales of the “Oasterhase.” According to legend, the Easter hare would wake up after a long winter’s nap and proceed to hop around and lay brightly colored eggs in the grass for children to find.
As the legend spread, chocolate bunnies also began making appearances. In 1890, Pennsylvania drugstore owner Robert L. Strohecker featured a chocolate rabbit that was five-feet-tall as an Easter promotion. Chocolate bunnies were in demand, and by 1939, advertised in newspapers for five-cents per bunny.
But in 1942, the bunnies, which had become even more popular with the help of mass market automation, had to take a break. World War II resulted in cocoa rations — which meant no chocolate bunnies for a few years.
After the war ended in 1942, the bunnies began to emerge again. They hopped back into the spotlight in 1948, soon after soldier Richard Palmer founded his chocolate company. Palmer’s inspiration for his popular ‘Baby Bink’ bunnies was actually a dog toy!
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest chocolate Easter bunny ever made was in 2011, when it took a team of four people in South America to sculpt the enormous rabbit, which stood 12-feet tall and weighed a whopping 6,635 pounds.
While we don’t have a bunny that big here at River Street Sweets, we have plenty of Easter gifts and bunnies for you to choose from. Visit our Easter guide for more information, or hop on in to one of our stores.