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Chocolate eggs and shortbread rabbits hopping out before Easter

The final touches being iced onto the rabbit shortbread cookies.
The final touches being iced onto the rabbit shortbread cookies.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

Being surrounded by chocolate for months on end might sound like most people's dream, but for the real life Oompa Loompas of Adora Handmade Chocolate, it's just a part of the job.

In the backstreets of Marrickville, a group of dedicated bakers and chocolatiers have been working hard since Christmas Eve in preparation for this year's Easter rush.

Producing eggs, cookies and delicious treats into the thousands, both quality and quantity are important for this local Sydney business.

Adora Handmade Chocolates founder Tina Angelidis in her Marrickville commercial kitchen.
Adora Handmade Chocolates founder Tina Angelidis in her Marrickville commercial kitchen.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

Business founder Tina Angelidis, the Greek-Australian version of Willy Wonka, has dedicated the past two decades of her life to the art of chocolate.

In a year-round production, the lead up to Easter is always her team's busiest time.

"Having good staff really helps," laughs Tina.

Concentrating hard to get every white chocolate dot and blue line of icing perfect, Tina's staff don't have a lot of time left over for sampling.

"When we're working out the quantities every year, we evaluate how many eggs we need to make for the following year, because every year it's more and more."

Over 25,000 little chocolate eggs are being produced in the lead up to Easter this year.
Over 25,000 little chocolate eggs are being produced in the lead up to Easter this year.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

On Christmas Eve they kick off Easter production with their first batch of little eggs, and over the next three months produce in excess of 25,000.

"Easter chocolate is normally plain chocolate, so there's nothing added to it," Tina says.

"So you're looking at the purity of the chocolate quality."

Coming all the way from Belgium, Tina makes sure her chocolate is of the highest calibre.

"It's just like wine from a particular region," she says.

"I go and try a lot of chocolate all over the world, just to make sure that we're keeping up."

On her travels to discover the world's best chocolates, Tina spotted a rabbit and duck mould in Paris that she just had to bring back home.

"Unfortunately all the moulds are made from the one manufacturer, so all chocolate companies inevitably have exactly the same moulds."

Unique rabbit and duck moulds sourced from Paris are used during Easter production.
Unique rabbit and duck moulds sourced from Paris are used during Easter production.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

"So you have to choose something that you haven't seen on the market yet, and that particular rabbit and duck I hadn't seen."

After studying nutrition and dietetics at Sydney University, Tina decided to start a home business with her sister.

"Food was always a high priority for me," says Tina.

Ellice Tsiaprazis concentrates on making the chocolate eggs just right.
Ellice Tsiaprazis concentrates on making the chocolate eggs just right.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

Even though chocolate isn't in the top five food groups, she says: "Everything in moderation is always my big belief."

Particularly over Easter time, when people are more likely to indulge.

Rabbit shortbread jumping out of the dough during Easter production.
Rabbit shortbread jumping out of the dough during Easter production.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

"With good quality chocolate, you'd be hard pressed to be able to eat most of the block," Tina says.

"Wouldn't you want to give something a bit smaller that is a good quality chocolate and it's more natural, so they won't crave the sugar and they'll actually enjoy the chocolate?

"It's changing that mindset of the sugary type of chocolate and confectionary, which isn't good for you."

As an Australian of Greek heritage, Tina embraces both cultures over the Easter period when it comes to food.

"We don’t necessarily have that connection with Easter eggs as such, but we do a Greek Easter bread," she explains.

"It's a brioche bread which rises, because Christ has risen. In Greece it's become quite popular to add chocolate to this bread."

"Whether you're Greek or not, that particular bread… people love it."

Taryn Ewens carefully decorates the rabbit shortbread before packaging them up for sale.
Taryn Ewens carefully decorates the rabbit shortbread before packaging them up for sale.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

Being the founder of a chocolate company can occasionally have its downsides.

If Tina is heading to a dinner party and only brings a bottle of wine along, the hosts are not impressed.

"I think 'Oh, great. Is that why I'm invited? For the box of chocolates, and not for me?!'"

She's knows deep down though that while working in the business of chocolate is hard work - particularly in the lead up to Easter - the effort is worth it to bring a bit of joy to people's lives.

Ivory Cai adding coconut to a chocolate batter in the Adora commercial kitchen.
Ivory Cai adding coconut to a chocolate batter in the Adora commercial kitchen.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

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