Though Halloween, with its trick-or-treaters and grab bags of bulk candy, and Valentine’s Day, with its heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, get most of the sugary glory, the truly candy-obsessed know that the best holiday for candy consumption is Easter. (If you don’t believe me, know that in 2016, more Americans bought candy for Easter than for Halloween.) It’s the time for Easter baskets full of chocolate bunnies, chocolate Easter eggs, and, of course, marshmallow Peeps. And to help you find the best Easter chocolate and Easter candy to put in your family’s baskets this year (or your own, we don’t judge), we asked 11 chefs, from New York and Miami, to share their favorite Easter chocolates, candies, and treats.
“Their seasonal availability alone is enough to make me crave Cadbury Creme Eggs regularly. I’ve tried to stock up and save them; it never works. They also signify spring approaching, so I immediately associate them with sun and happiness. Pro tip? Don’t eat all at once: Bite off the top and scoop out the filling. A childhood habit I will never give up.” —Alexandra Shapiro, owner, Flex Mussels
“I have a special fondness for chocolate eggs for Easter, mostly because my mother went through a candy-making phase. When Easter came around, she inevitably tried her hand at rabbits and eggs. She wasn’t an expert in any way, but what did a 10-year-old boy know from nothing? To me, they were better than the Easter ham and all the jelly beans combined! Usually, I buy myself just one Cadbury or Kinder Egg every year at Easter time, just to bring about that memory. But yesterday, I bought an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. Maybe I’m feeling homesick heading into this chilly Easter.” —Ryan Tate, chef, Deer Mountain Inn
“My favorite Easter candy is, hands down, a good old-fashioned Palmer’s hollow chocolate Easter bunny. There’s something kind of punk rock about nibbling the face off of a cartoon rabbit. I love the irreverence of snipping the top of the ears and using the rabbit as a drinking vessel for an Easter Sunday white Russian, spicy chocolate Martini, or Irish iced coffee. This hack also leaves the chocolate delightfully booze infused for when you decide to eighty-six Peter Cottontail.” —Nick Korbee, chef, Egg Shop
“My grandma always gave me this German candy called Softi. Best stuff in the world. The texture of it is amazing, and it’s been part of every Easter since I was a child. It’s not a traditional one by any means, and I was the only kid who gave it to my friends because no one knew of it. Also, I like the flavor, which is completely ambiguous. Everyone who eats it thinks its something different, which I think is super cool. To me, it tastes like pineapple, to others like a light cherry flavor.” —Greg Proechel, executive chef, Ferris
“Most people know I am from the South, but little know I was born right off the banks of the Mississippi River in New Orleans. I grew up getting NOLA classic Elmer’s Gold Brick Eggs in my Easter basket. Such a decadent chocolate and seeing the packaging just takes me back to my childhood.” —Richard Hales, chef and owner, Bird & Bone at the Confidante, Miami
“PEZ. Every holiday, my mom has PEZ for me with a dispenser that is fitting for the time of year. Santa for Christmas, heart for Valentine’s Day, and a bunny on Easter.” —Greg Baxtrom, chef, Olmsted
“We’ve never really been allowed to eat chocolates and candies at home, but Easter was always a great opportunity to break the family rules. The Kinder Schoko-Bons are by far the most addictive thing to me on earth. I still remember sneaking at night to the kitchen to eat at least one. One time I finished the pack in one night.” —Vincent Marino, co-owner, Loosie Rouge and Loosie’s Kitchen & Cafe
“My wife got me hooked on Peeps, as it’s her favorite Easter candy, and I buy them for her every year. We’ve even teamed up with Peeps to create a CrazyShake milkshake at Black Tap for the third year in a row — it’s a huge hit.” —Joe Isidori, chef and owner, Black Tap Burger
“I love the chocolate colomba, a traditional dove-shaped cake that is only made around Easter in Italy. It is great on its own with coffee or even better when done as French toast the next day. The combination of chocolate and almonds make it a great crowd-pleaser. It reminds me of lazy weekends with family over coffee and conversation.” —Adam Hill, executive chef, Manzo at Eataly Flatiron
“Turkey joints from Nora’s Candy Shop are my absolute favorite candy. They are made in my hometown of Rome, New York, and they instantly take me back to my childhood. They are a mixture of hazelnuts and chocolate, and they have a silvery sugar coating on the outside.” —Kevin Adey, executive chef and owner, Faro and General Deb’s
“These delicious lollipops are made in my hometown of China. They have a sugar coating on the outside and a soft and sweet center. The candy reminds me of my childhood years growing up, and I recall eating them by the boxes when I was a kid. The lollipops are difficult to find now, but they bring me back to a nostalgic time, so instead I’ll eat these marshmallow rabbits.” —Skinny Mei, executive chef, Jade Sixty Asian Steakhouse
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