Now’s the Time To Order Woods Hill Table’s Giant Chocolate Bunny for Easter
Artisan marshmallows, bonbons, and shortbread cookies are a fine addition to any locavore Easter basket—but a stately rabbit made entirely of chocolate that’s nearly as tall as your child herself would make this holiday especially memorable.
Woods Hill Table, the farm-to-fork destination that debuted last year in Concord, will make such a treat to order. From a blend of fairly-traded cacao and cocoa butter, pastry chef Douglas Phillips is hand-molding 2-foot tall, 4-pound chocolate bunnies.
Phillips studied chocolate-making with chef Francisco Migoya at the now-shuttered Hudson Chocolates early on in his culinary career, and he fell in love with the art, he says. He’s created chocolate confections throughout Woods Hill Table’s first year, including champagne ganache-filled hearts around Valentine’s Day and an eggnog bonbon around Christmastime. But for Easter, he decided to bypass the standard, few-ounce chocolate bunny, and go giant.
“Chef Migoya used to always say go big, or don’t go at all. That was my mentality for this,” Phillips says. He doesn’t have a smaller bunny mold, so he had to buy one anyway. “I thought, let’s see what we can find as far as something that’s really giant, and really awesome, to showcase not only the product we’re getting, but the technique.”
The chocolate is a 68 percent cacao, a multi-origin blend from TCHO New American Chocolate in Berkeley, Calif. Phillips has been working with the company since his Hudson Chocolates days. “They help [people in Madagascar, Africa, and elsewhere] set up farms and learn the practices of harvesting cacao,” he says. “It’s a really good company, and I wanted to showcase that by not doing anything more than molding the chocolate.”
The giant bunny has a solid base, which allows it to stand upright in its cellophane wrap, but the body is hollow, so it can be easily broken apart and eaten. “It’s meant to be consumed,” Phillips says.
After Easter, he recommends using chunks of the dark chocolate to make brownies, cookies, or other baked goods, or just eating it by itself. Without the addition of any water or dairy, the chocolate has a standard shelf life of at least a year, he says. Part of the molding process is tempering the chocolate, which gives it the shiny texture and appetizing snap you look for in a chocolate bunny. The technique also prevents chocolate from blooming, or separating, which is when chocolate turns white—and it makes it keep at room temperature or even slightly warmer, Phillips says.
Woods Hill Table is asking for 72 hours notice on orders of the chocolate bunnies, though Phillips says he would take orders on Friday if necessary. He recommends buckling the bunny in with a seatbelt when you go to pick it up.
“I mean, it’s about as tall as a small child.”
Call the restaurant to order.
Giant chocolate bunny, $100, Woods Hill Table, 24 Commonwealth Ave., Concord, 978-369-6300, woodshilltable.com.