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The History of the Chocolate Bunny

Do you ever wonder how chocolate bunnies became a staple in Easter traditions? Rabbits and eggs have long stood as symbols of fertility, renewal, and rebirth across many traditions to welcome the springtime. The first written record of an egg-laying bunny came from Germany in the 1600s, and her name was “Oschter Haws,” translating to “Easter Hare.” Oschter Haws would bring children colored eggs as a gift, but eventually, she would hide them in the garden for them to find, much like we do with treat-filled plastic eggs today.

German immigrants (later called the Pennsylvania Dutch) came to the Eastern United States in the 1700s, bringing Oschter Haws and a long-established tradition of chocolate. While history does not know exactly who to credit for creating the first chocolate bunny, a Pennsylvania drugstore owner named Robert L. Strohecker was dubbed “Father of the Chocolate Easter Bunny” after crafting a five-foot-tall chocolate bunny in his shop to advertise for Easter. 

By 1925, the chocolate Easter bunny craze had…multiplied, and some were decorated with accessories like bows, baskets, and hats to harken back to its mythical origins. Almost all chocolate bunnies sold at that time were solid until World War II when the War Production Board put rations on chocolate and cocoa. Chocolatiers had to get creative, so they used their bunny moulds to make hollow chocolate bunnies for customers to enjoy without depleting their rations.

Even today, chocolate bunnies are the highlight of any Easter basket and come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest chocolate rabbit was created by Equipe da Casa do Chocolate from Brazil in 2017 and weighed in at a whopping 9,359 pounds. Nine professionals worked eight days straight to build a rabbit that stood almost 15 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and 6 feet long.

Sugar Plum’s bunnies may not be that big, but we have revived some from the dead and provided victims at your convenience. She may or may not be capable of hiding eggs for the kiddos in attendance, but our solid half-pound bunny is waiting to be the center of attention at your Easter dinner table.