The gargantuan glass jar of mini eggs is emptying worryingly rapidly. Conveniently situated in the prime real estate just to the left of my keyboard, as an estate agent would have it, the tiny foil-wrapped ovoids are tantalisingly close- and the perfect reward for finishing an article. A paragraph. A line. Oh, let’s be frank: a word.
Rather more upmarket than the standard waxen mouthful, these have a melting quality and a haunting nutty flavour not quite haunting enough to prevent you reaching for the next one. Jazzy jackets of rainbow pastel foil mean they’re fancy enough for a festive favour, too- and surely no grateful recipient would miss one or two siphoned off the top.
To compound my exquisite agony, there’s a cardboard carton full of multi-coloured eggs. Sadly not the product of a creative chicken coop, the shells of these ‘scatola di uova confettate’ are hewn from crisp coloured sugar- Smarties writ large. Reinforcing the carapace is a thick layer of milk chocolate, but no yolk. No joke, either- or pun intended- these babies are hollow.
So to fill that gap it’s the dove from above- or Colomba tradizionale as the folk at Carluccio’s would have it. The traditional bird-shaped Easter cake has a crisp, meringue-like hazelnut coating strewn with sugar nibs and almonds, richly flavoured with honey, almonds, sultanas and candied peel. And, trust me, you won’t believe you can fly after demolishing the lot.
For offbeat ways of celebrating, Carluccio’s always bring out the big guns, and their Easter range is no different. In-store, the bambini can indulge in a spot of biscuit decorating, whilst us disgruntled old folk excluded from the hands-on festivities seek solace in rainbow-sprinkled Raffaioli cakes and chocolate-coated meringues pepped up with crunchy fennel seeds.
This year, do yourself a favour, spread those wings and step outside the overpopulated chocolate henhouse that is the supermarket Easter aisle. Instead, visit the Carluccio’s menagerie and liberate a sugar lamb, a fish-shaped sweet bread, or that colomba for a rather different festive mange. After all, eggs is eggs.
For the full range and info on in-store Easter events, see www.carluccios.com