Chocolate for mature sweet tooths

Any chocoholic who needs a reason to indulge will be keenly aware that Easter is upon us.

But for those who may feel shamefully un-adult sinking their teeth into a goofy-looking, milk chocolate bunny, never fear. The Swiss-
Master Chocolatier on Bayview Ave. is offering 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate bunnies to satisfy more mature tastes.

“Children definitely go for milk chocolate, so there’s a huge selection,” says owner Ingrid Laderach Steven. “But because a lot of adults want to get in on it too, we also brought in the dark. It caters to the older crowd.”

It seems crowd is the right word. Along with Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Easter is one of the busiest times of the year for the chocolate industry, Steven says. Each spring, those preparing Easter dinners often find their way through her door in search of a novel item to set the scene.

“There are any number of ways to make it look really pretty at the table,” Steven says. “Sometimes (customers) will take a big Easter egg and use it as a centerpiece in the middle of the table. I had a customer come in this morning and she’s having 60 people in for an Easter hunt, so she wanted 60 things for people to find.”

With grown-ups going in for bunnies too, Steven plans to sell hundreds of them this season. From the backpack-toting bunny she calls “Spelli” to the mini-skirt wearing cell-phone bunny, there are plenty of sizes, expressions and styles for everyone.

“People buy dozens of bunnies for their friends,” says Steven, who’s celebrating her store’s 25th anniversary. “They don’t just buy for children; they buy for adults. And because we’ve been here for so long, people who were here as kids and are now adults still crave the bunnies.”

And it’s that craving that has kept Steven’s shop going over the years.

“We are so fortunate because this is a small store. To be in business for 25 years is such a milestone. This is the third recession we’ve gone through.”

Steven also credits competitive pricing (Easter offerings range from $1.50 for an egg to $19.99 for the costliest bunny), quality and
customer service for her store’s longevity.

The last point about customer service she emphasizes with gift wrapping — literally.

“Everything that we sell in the store is always gift wrapped so you have nothing to do except give it,” Steven says.

And when you do that, she has one piece of advice:

“Do it with love.”

About this article:

By: Joshua Freeman
Posted: Apr 5 2010 11:53 am
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto