How to spend lots of money on Easter eggs

Doing a survey of bizarrely expensive Easter eggs has become a sort of tradition here at Notes.

Did you notice how I slid that statement by using “has become,” as if I had nothing to do with the process? But I write this mess. So why do I do a yearly survey of overpriced Easter eggs? Because there’s something magnetic and horrible about watching the world’s insanity.

And since I’m taking responsibility for what goes on here, I should stop and issue a serious-content warning: I can lose my sense of humor over this stuff all too easily, so if you read the next three paragraphs (one is short, so call it two and a half paragraphs) you do it at your own risk. And if you lose your own sense of humor, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Britain’s been living with austerity budgets since 2008. Or 2012. It depends on who you believe and, I guess, how you count. Schools–not all of them, but a canary-in-the-coal-mine few–are so short of money that they’re no longer teaching a full five-day week. Food shelves–which were somewhere between rare and unknown when my partner and I moved here fourteen years ago–are everywhere and overwhelmed. The waiting list for mental health services is long, as the news reminds us periodically when someone with a bit of public appeal gives up on waiting and walks off a cliff. That’s a small and random sampling of the effects of austerity, but you get the drift. Money’s tight. We can’t afford frills.

Did I say frills? We’re not affording basics.

What’s that got to do with overpriced Easter eggs? Everything. Do you know how many British bankers were paid over a million euros a year in 2017? The answer is 3,567. Of those, 30 were paid more than 10 million and one got 40.9 million. I’d give you data for a more recent year but 2017 is what I can find. And I’d translate that to pounds, which my keyboard offers me a sign for, but you don’t want me juggling numbers. I’m dangerous when I get around numbers.

If you think spending that much money is easy, think again, and here we rejoin our topic, Easter eggs, and I hope my sense of humor. Easter eggs are a great way for those beleaguered bankers spend their hard-earned cash.

At the, ahem, lower end–really, too low to include here but I don’t want to look like a snob–you can buy a hamper of organic chocolate for £55 from Green and Black’s. It’s “perfect for indulging all your family and friends at Easter.” They mention that in case you didn’t know what to do with an entire basket of chocolate and thought you had to eat it yourself. It’s “delivered in a beautiful black twisted paper woven onto black metal frame hamper with black faux leather with two silver metal clasps.”

It’s funny how much better fake sounds when you say it in French.

Still on the low end, Betty’s of Harrogate sells a chocolate egg for £57.50. For that, you get a “sumptuous hand crafted egg that’s equal parts craft skills, dedication and wonderful chocolate.”

Are craft skills and dedication edible? Are craft skills different than craft and skill? I wouldn’t have said so, but what do I know? They’re the chocolatiers and they’re not about to give away their recipe. 

The egg’s also stunning, traditional, stippled, smooth, delicate, and–no wait, it’s already been stunning. We don’t want to stun people twice. My apologies. It comes in an elegant box.

You might be able to get it for a mere £57 if you can make do without the adjectives. But go on, splurge. Spend the extra 50p.

For £80, Hotel Chocolat sells an ostrich Easter egg that’s “40% milk chocolate, 50% dark chocolate” and since that adds up to 90%, 10% verbiage.

More apologies: I didn’t need to add the extra 10%. Half of it (that’s 50% where I come from) is made from 40% milk chocolate and the other half (again, 50%) from 50% milk chocolate. You can see why I ran into trouble. The British system of selling chocolate lets you know the percent of actual chocolate, as opposed to sugar, milk, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, vanilla, and (if we’re talking about, horrors, inexpensive chocolate) wax. They don’t all contain all of that.  I’m just giving you a general sense of the possibilities here.

The egg comes with a neatly boxed squadron of chocolates and the whole shebang weighs more than a kilo. That’s 2.2 pounds. Your family and friends aren’t mentioned, so we can assume every bit of it is for you. Try not to eat it in one sitting.

And now we have to switch briefly to dollars and inedible eggs. I know, this comes from the wrong country, but bear with me. I found these online and I hate to waste research. For $179.95, Williams Sonoma offers a box of alabaster eggs in an “array of cheery colors,” but they aren’t available in the European Union because of “technical challenges due to new regulations.” I have no idea what regulations those are or why they’re challenging, which is a shame because I was going to order three boxes. Or a full dozen. Nothing exceeds like excess.

If I got the quote about the cheery colors wrong, I apologize. I had to grab it quick before the page and its photo disappeared and got replaced by the you-can’t-have-it, blame-the-EU notice.

We’ll call them Brexit eggs. Even though the U.S. isn’t leaving the E.U. It might, but that’s hard to predict when no mechanism exists for a country to leave when it never joined and by virtue of geography isn’t eligible. So we don’t know who’d get to make the decision or which way they’d jump.

We’ve had the same problem–we don’t know who gets to make the decision or which way they’ll jump–in Britain lately and the mechanism for leaving’s quite clear. Apologies if that crack’s gone out of date. It only means I forgot to update this before it posted.

Further up the scale, Betty’s of Harrogate offers the Imperial Easter Egg for £250. You can’t find this one by going onto Betty’s website. That’s one way to filter out the riff-raff. Since I’m a dedicated bit of riff-raff myself, I had to find my way to it by way of a magazine article. If I was the sort of person who had an inborn right to buy one of these, I’d have just known. But now that I have found it, I’ll open the door and let my follow bits of riff-raff follow me in without needing to look at Cosmopolitan magazine online.

In case it’s not already clear, Cosmopolitan is no more a part of my natural habitat than this (or any other) section of Betty’s website is.

The egg is made to order (Betty’s, understandably, doesn’t want to get stuck with a few dozen when the season’s over) and weighs 5 kilos. If you translate that to pounds and melt it, you’ll find it’s enough chocolate to float a full-scale replica of the Titanic.

Ah, but it’s not only made to order, it’s personally delivered. The website doesn’t say personally by who. (For that much money, it should really be delivered by a whom, not a who, but let’s not let the money intimidate us into being pretendting we’re formal.) My experience with delivery is that it always involves a person. Usually two of them, me and someone driving a delivery truck and working under a contract whose conditions come right out of the  nineteenth century. But maybe Betty delivers this one herself. I just don’t know.

If the Imperial Egg strikes you as cheesy, try Betty’s Centenary Imperial Easter Egg for £495. It weighs over 5 kilos, although I can’t tell how much over. A gram? An ounce? A half pint? Never mind. What matters is that it’s heavier than the plain ol’ imperial version.

It’s also made to order. It doesn’t seem to be personally delivered, but it comes heavily gilded with adjectives, although not as heavily as Betty’s £57.50 egg. At this price, they can trust themselves to the elegance of minimalism. If it counts as minimal when you include shimmering, hand moulded (I’ve left the U in place because for this much money you should at least get a spare U), delicate, and nestled. Maybe we should call that relatively restrained instead on minimal and attribute it to the self-confidence of people dealing in bizarrely expensive Easter eggs. Or maybe they wrote up the cheaper eggs first and used up all the adjectives. 

If all that isn’t expensive enough for you, we’ll switch countries and currencies again. Tiffany sells a sterling silver bird’s nest for $10,000. It’s “whimsical design was inspired by a 1969 engagement ad from the Tiffany Archives. Woven from delicate strands of sterling silver and housing three custom Tiffany Blue® porcelain eggs, this design transforms an ordinary object into an extraordinary sterling silver piece.”

It’s not edible and it comes with a registered trademark symbol on the word blue, which justifies the price. What’s Tiffany blue? A robin’s egg color. The trademark it doesn’t mean that robins can’t lay blue eggs anymore. All they have to do is pay a small tax on each egg and they’re free to use the color as much as they like.

Tiffany doesn’t predict any technical difficultires sending it to the European Union. That will be relevant if Britain’s still in the European Union by the time you order it.

*

I haven’t written any of this to argue that we go back to a traditional religious Easter. I mention that because periodically someone leaves a comment saying that we should. I’m not religious, and in any case Easter isn’t part of the religion I don’t have. I did, for whatever relevance it has, grow up with the secular version of the holiday and I still have a weak spot for Easter baskets.

I’m not really advocating anything else either. I could, but I’d lose even more of my sense of humor. You could probably say that I’m just having a moan.

For anyone who’s not British, I need to explain moaning. It’s a fine old British tradition that I’ve lived here long enough to adopt. It involves complaining but never, ever to anyone who might be able to fix the problem. If you complain to the right person, you’re no longer moaning, you’re being–. Um. Something. Awkward maybe. Or bolshie. I haven’t been here long enough to know the right word, although I expect it gets used now and then when I leave the room, but I don’t get to hear it.

With that said, if you’re determined to complain to the right person, you’re welcome here anyway. There’s not reason to limit ourselves to moaning. I’m not actually sure that restricting the conversation to moaning is part of the British stereotype. I trust folks will set me straight on all of the above.

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, whether it’s something religious or the first spring flowers (or the start of fall if you’re on the bottom half of the globe–or more warm weather if you’re right in the middle), I wish you a good one.

75 thoughts on “How to spend lots of money on Easter eggs

  1. I suspect that Williams Sonoma can’t comply with GDPR, or perhaps it’s VAT they can’t get to grips with. Either way, it seems foolish of them to cut themselves off from Europe’s millionaire bankers.I don’t really eat chocolate, so I’m not in the market for any of these.

    PS How can Betty’s egg be both smooth and stippled?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was so busy being horrified that I didn’t stop to ask myself that. Let’s assume the answer is that if you apply enough money to the problem you can reconcile any two opposites.

      And let’s not believe ourselves for a minute.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the tip-off regarding Bettys. I shall order their deluxe eggs for every one of my blog’s followers, but first I need to remortgage my home …
    Its amazing how children can be made happy with the simplest of things. As a child I remember getting a pottery steam train with eggs in it. I kept that train for years and I suspect that it didn’t entail my family extending their overdraft to buy it!

    The amounts you mention do sound crazy to me. However I guess that, ultimately things are worth whatever people are prepared to pay for them. There is also a certain amount of subjectivity entailed when we make choices as regards how to spend our hard earned cash. For example a lover of rare books may well feel that £450 is a price worth paying for a book he/she wishes to possess, but feel that people who spend that sum on chocolate eggs are barking mad, while the lover of chocolate may be bored to tears by books and feel that £450 is well worth paying for a deluxe egg. So our tastes (pun intended) do, to some extent inform how we view such matters.

    Best wishes for Easter – Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

    • My memories of Easter (and before I go on I should say that my parents were Jewish atheists) are of waking up to find an Easter basket my mother had put together–fake grass, jelly beans, a panorama sugar egg with some little scene inside it, and a chocolatey rabbit, sometimes coated with wax. I loved it, and the candy lasted for days–or as I remember it, weeks, although that’s probably an exaggeration. I can’t imagine why everyone who celebrates Easter doesn’t put together exactly the same combination for their kids, except that I haven’t seen panorama eggs anywhere in years.

      I suspect that part of the problem comes when we measure the value of things we love in money. It makes them unreachable for some people who would love them and valueless for people who on the one hand take the money too seriously and on the other hand have too much of it to feel it as it goes out of their pockets.

      Just a hunch, though. Your train sounds wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You obviously had loving parents. I really like the sound of that Easter basket. Yes it was a great train, but I have no idea what happened to it. I agree that problems come when we measure everything in purely monetary terms. Friendship, love etc should not be viewed in this manner. However, human nature being what it is a woman (and a man also as one should not be sexist about such things) often does find a financially stable individual a better bet than the charming (but stony broke) alternative. We humans are a mixture of the selfish and the altruistic and Easter, Christmas etc brings out both sides. Kevin

        Liked by 1 person

        • We are, I think, a difficult species, but I’m kind of attached to the idea that we continue to exist. And yes, both sides are there. But I dont’ think everyone would choose the financially stable person over the one who’s broke. I know a few who’d go for the individual, not the checkbook.

          Like

  3. It is interesting to see the bran Tiffany jump on the easter egg bandwagon too. For a moment I thought they were making their own brand of edible chocolate.

    On the subject of chocolate, I prefer Cadbury UK over the Cadbury we have here in Australia. So much of the chocolate here in Australia tastes powdery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always though Easter was weird.
    First, it won’t stay still.
    Second, when I was too young to know what it was meant to be about, it was just a time various members of the family called around to bring us chocolate eggs. We had no idea why but we ate chocolate for a week and didn’t go to school. That’s all we knew so we liked that.

    Then, when we did understand what it was meant to be about, we couldn’t understand what chocolate eggs had to do with it.

    These days, having the full understanding and choosing to be umm.. ambivalent about it, someone has to tell me when Easter is. Apparently it’s now and that, to show how weird it is, means we can’t take our dogs on the beach from Sunday.

    So Happy Egg and dogless beach day Ellen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The religious significance of banning dogs from the beach is beyond me, but if we’d listened to Radio 4 all day I’m sure someone would have explained it. You know, the thought-for-the-day types who start out by saying, “I used to have a red bicycle,” and when they’ve got you lulled into thinking this is about bicycles take a 183 degree turn and are suddenly saying, “which is very much like what Jesus said about dogs on the beach.”

      Or did I get some of that wrong?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Who buys these eggs? That’s what I want to know.

    Also, who studies the market and decides, yes, the price point shall be $2.00 then someone else comes along and moves the decimal point to the right, a place or two. Because that’s what the market will bear. What market? Do the bankers buy the eggs? Do enough bankers buy enough eggs to make it worthwhile for egg makers to market the eggs?

    It does make one want to weep.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It does indeed. Our species is facing the possibility of extinction–taking lots of others with us–and this is what we do with our resources?

      Sorry–lost my sense of humor there for a minute. You can probably see why.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I gave up adjectives for Lent. I’ve also reduced my egg consumption to over-easy, in a western omelette or the Reese’s Peanut Butter variety. I don’t know what you guys call what we call a western omelette, or even why we call it that. In any case, it’s off-topic today.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Gave up adjectives for Lend? That’s brave.

      No, that’s an adjective. So–at least arguably–is western in the context of a western omelette. I’ll stop there. This isn’t going to be easy. Worthwhile though. More writers should do it.

      Anyway, I seem to live in a western-omelette-free zone. You could probably ask for one ingredient by ingredient if you just had to. But Wild Thing and I stopped for lunch the other day at a place that had all-day breakfasts and she asked for two eggs sunnyside up. What she got instead was a blank look. She had to settle for two eggs, fried.

      We didn’t try to discuss over easy. We’ve lived here thirteen years without ever learning that neither phrase was part of the language.

      Have a good Easter. Eat lots of things I wouldn’t eat.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Betty’s and Brexit eggs should go well with a new egg I’ve invented across the pond called the Mueller Easter Egg, but don’t worry about trying to find one. No colors can be found to do justice to the false statements made by an American President who, as my granddaddy used to say, is a liar and the truth ain’t in him. Let’s see…maybe a mixture of Red for Russia and Blue for my mood whenever I hear him talk about the Mueller hoax.
    Ok…now I’m moaning. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used to work in a candy factory, but it never made Easter eggs. Still, it’s the reason chocolate Easter eggs don’t tempt me. On the other hand, given the tradition of eggs and chocolate and Easter, giving someone a silver next with chocolate-less eggs does seem like a ripoff. Especially for that kind of money.

      Like

  8. BLIMEY! I just about notice a few eggs in my local Tescos, but these are incredible. No wonder you had a good rant about austerity Britain before you got round to the crazy-priced eggs. I couldn’t eat such expensive things but then I guess I am not the target market. Mind you, I did quite like the Betty-from-Harrogate egg.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back when I was still young enough for my mother to make me an Easter basket, it took me ages to work my way around th eating the wax-covered chocolate rabbit. They were so pretty. Someone had gone to all that trouble and it seemed heartless to just tear the wax off and eat them. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I got stuck somehow with one of the Betty’s eggs. Put it on display, probably. How do you eat something like that?

      Like

  9. Easter in the American South (or at least Louisiana, Mississippi, & Alabama) wouldn’t be Easter without Elmer’s Gold Brick egg, made in New Orleans since the ‘30’s. Not fancy chocolate but I’ll put it up against any others! I was going to share a picture but it looks like the husband ate them all already. He’s in trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: How to spend lots of money on Easter eggs | John 19:30 When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.”And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

  11. Pingback: Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! – PainPalsBlog

  12. Wow! Now, don’t get me wrong I love chocolate and wouldn’t begrudge anyone their stash…..but who in their right mind spends this much on an Easter egg??!! Great rant…hope you don’t mind I have shared it on my reg PainPalsBlog feature “Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!”, Claire

    Liked by 1 person

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