Sunday, April 12, 2009

Paques, Poisson and Paris

Oh to be in Paris in the Springtime! And, Easter, delicieux! Paris known for its fabulous chocolate shops goes all out to celebrate. There are the wonderful white and dark chocolate rabbits, ducks, bunnies, and--fish! O.k. this may seem odd to those of us who are used to chocolate rabbits and eggs, but chocolate fish? Poisson d'Avril fill shop windows in Paris.

The French celebrate April fool's day by pinning a paper fish on someone's back when they're not looking--and they celebrate by eating a ton of little chocolate fish. The origins of Easter Poisson d'Avril can be a bit cloudy. Does it have to do with Lent? Pisces? No one is quite sure. What we do know is that the chocolate fish appear at Easter when chocolate fish are consumed. Easter is sometimes in March, remember. These chocolates come in all shapes and sizes and ganache fillings.

For more on Fish and chocolate, read Sally Peabody's great article on Chocolate Atlas.

For some fabulous photos and drawings of chocolate fish in Paris, go to Paris Breakfasts. Carol Gillott is an artist/photographer and has a great handle on the Parisian chocolate scene.

Easter egg hunts have been popular for many years, and in France, hidden Easter fish were often the norm. See the excerpt below from Every Woman's Encyclopaedia by Gladys Beattie Crozier(1910):

Given a fine, sunshiny spring day, nothing could more delight children than the merry hunt round the flower-beds, under the shrubbery, amongst the nooks and corners of the kitchen garden, and along the banks of any gold-fish pond or tiny ornamental stream, where the realistic-looking Easter fish, whose in-sides are filled with chocolates - "poissons d'avril," as they are called in France - are hidden.

I think this is a very interesting and delicious twist on the Egg hunt. And, some of the chocolate fish have eggs under their gills!

Have a great holiday!

No comments: