New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Easter just went by with people the world over celebrating the resurrection of Christ three days after being crucified on Good Friday. It also provided an opportunity to the hospitality industry to showcase various kinds of goodies including some innovative confections - a tradition that is fast catching up in India as well.
This year, a giant record-breaking Easter egg was created using 44,858 coloured eggs in the Czech Republic as part of a local tradition. Another chocolate Easter egg from Argentina towering over 27 feet and weighing four tons was unveiled earlier this week at a chocolate festival.
According to legend, a bunny brings baskets full of painted eggs, toys and of course candy to children on Easter. In fact, Easter is gradually becoming as big a festival as Christmas, where Santa Claus brings gifts to children on its eve.
Historically, Easter eggs were painted or dyed chicken eggs. These days, chocolates or confectionery inside plastic eggs have substituted the real shells. Unlike Christmas Eve, where children are told that Santa leaves the gifts in socks, it is the bunny that takes over on Easters.
Among the favourite confection is Marzipan, similar to almond burfee. The ones made by Niederegger at Lubeck in Germany are international favourites. The store is famous for making marzipans for over 200 years. Its marzipan is classed as 100 percent and contains much less sugar in comparison to others.
Typically an almond paste with sugar, in Germany they grind whole almonds with sugar and partially dry the paste to make it. The French called it massepain and make it by combining ground almonds with sugar syrup. The Spanish make marzipans devoid of bitter almonds.
And at Tallinn in Estonia, they date back to the medieval times. In those days, one needed to walk into a drug store with a prescription to have some of the bitter-sweet confection, which supposedly cured different ailments.
Back home in Delhi, Wengers, Godrej's Nature's Basket, ITC Maurya and The Imperial had traditional Easter goodies that are in great demand.
This year in India, the piece de resistance was an Easter egg weighing over 115 kg that was created in The Claridges Hotel at Surajkund on the outskirts of the national capital. Claimed as the largest in the country, it was created on the base of bamboo sticks and plaster of Paris, with the egg coated with chocolate and sprayed with edible paint.
"This is one of the biggest attractions on Easter for the past few years and the Easter Brunch was completely sold out," remarked Oliver Martin, area general manager for the hotel.
Many elaborate Easter Brunches were sold out at several hotels. The Pavillion at the ITC Maurya had Easter delights like clove-studded braised ham with glazed pineapple and cinnamon. The roast turkey glazed with honey and the lamb stuffed with mushrooms were in great demand at The Oasis at Claridges, Surajkund.
"We chose to celebrate Easter in an unconventional way this year," said Barun Jolly, general manager of Crowne Plaza Today, referring to the celebrations at ChaoBella authentic Chinese and Italian Restaurant. "Unlike the continental spread, our team put up an 'eggalicious' act together with exotic varieties of Easter eggs."
Foodies were not complaining. After a long weekend, it provided the perfect backdrop for some more indulgence -- and this time, the kids too had their share of fun!
(15.04.2012 - Suvendu Banerjee is president and chief executive of Business Images, a public relations and image management consultancy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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