Like in America, Easter is celebrated widely throughout Paris. Decorated eggs and candy are plentiful and church bells ring out. However, unlike America, the Parisians commemorate the Pâques (Easter) with not only chocolate bunnies, but also chocolate fish. You can discover this tradition, among many others, with a Paris cooking class.
The Easter chocolate season begins several weeks before the holiday. Pasty and candy shops are decorated with white and dark chocolate rabbits, chickens, ducks, bunnies, bells, and fish. But the chocolate fish are the most abundant of all of the candies.
The chocolate fish, called Poisson d’Avril (April Fish), usually show up right around April 1st. The custom of giving chocolate fish to friends, family, and children, actually started as a result of an April Fool’s Trick. As the tradition goes, Parisian children stick paper fish on the backs of adults and then run away as they scream “Poisson d’Avril!” The adults respond by offering chocolate fish to the children.
Poisson d’Avril come in various packaging and sizes. In fact, some are packed in shiny boxes that contain “small schools of fish” wrapped up in foil. The smallest of the chocolate fish, known as ‘friture’, include 70% milk, dark, or orange flavored chocolate. The larger pieces of chocolate fish are often shaped to look like a carp or pike.
Chocolate can be celebrated at any time of the year in France. See for yourself and book one of our French culinary tours that include a guided walking tour in St. Germain des Prés where you will sample some of the finest chocolates, macarons, pastries and breads from top purveyors of Paris!
What will you be making for Easter this year? Will chocolate be a part of your repertoire?
By Kerry Herbst
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