If you’re looking for an alternative to the chocolate bunny this spring, try British Easter eggs.
These giant chocolate eggs, about the size of a large navel orange with a point, are a tradition overseas. The British Gourmet in Scottsdale sells a variety, most made by Cadbury or Nestle, for $7 to $9.50.
What makes them special?
"The chocolate, for one thing," said British Gourmet owner Steve Heathcote. "British chocolate has to be made from full cream milk," so it’s rich and creamy — not waxy.
The eggs used to come in two halves and were filled with more candy, but now they’re hollow. They come in colorful packaging and are made in several styles, such as "Aero," which has air bubbles in the chocolate, or Flake, a flaky chocolate that’s popular among Brits, Heathcote said.
Likewise, the rest of the store — which has been in business for 15 years — stocks food native to the British Isles. The freezer holds pork bangers, Irish sausage and Yorkshire pudding, and the fridge contains steak and kidney pie, Scottish meat pies and cheeses such as Gloucester and Cheshire.
If you’re wondering why Heinz canned goods line the shelves, Heathcote will explain that Heinz canneries worldwide cater to local tastes. Take the baked beans, for instance. "They don’t have that horrible little piece of white fat in there," he said. "They’re a lot better. The juice with the British baked beans is a lot thicker and more tomato-ey."
Other specialties at the British Gourmet: Weetabix, assorted chutneys, jams and preserves, and HP brand sauces in fruity, curry "chili," barbecue and original flavors, as well as British tea and coffee.
Not surprisingly, Heathcote’s already heard the inevitable cracks about "British Gourmet" being an oxymoron. His comeback? "It’s like American culture," he jokes.
Where: 7901 E. Thomas Road, Scottsdale
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Information: (480) 994-3837