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Ears, feet or tail: where does one start eating?

Joyce Walter writes about chocolate Easter bunnies
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

I knew it all along, but it has been confirmed: “The ears have it.”

These particular ears are seasonal, coming atop those oh-so-popular chocolate bunnies that appear in candy baskets and gift boxes, or hidden under the backyard trees in proximity to the decorated eggs.

The chocolate bunnies are the most important secular part of the Easter weekend, with about 90 million of them sold annually across the world. It is believed we have Germany to thank for producing the first chocolate rabbit in the 1890s, with a drugstore display of an early bunny standing about five feet tall.

As I was reclining there in part dream-land, part wakefulness, I wondered: “How many kids eat the ears first off the chocolate rabbits?” I have no idea why I was posing such a question to myself, but the next time I was sitting upright, I called on my research resources and learned that companies have actually done surveys to answer that very question.

One survey result indicated the “norm” was 76 per cent of respondents saying they ate the ears first. It was important to me to learn that at least in something I am considered “normal.” The same survey found five per cent chewed off the feet first while four per cent went for the tail.

It is ironic that a dental group did a similar survey to learn that 59 per cent ate the ears first; tail and feet were tied for four per cent; while 33 per cent couldn’t seem to come to a decision. Those folks are considered nibblers, sinking their teeth into any part of the rabbit that is easily reached or is conductive to nibbling. Or they might simply smack the rabbit on a hard surface to break it into manageable pieces. 

None of the surveys I found had a definitive explanation as to why the ears went first, but I suspect it has something to do with their prominent positioning at the top of the body, giving eaters easy access.  

In another survey, it was revealed that solid chocolate rabbits are the most popular, with hollow coming second and marshmallow-filled chocolate placing third. But some respondents indicated they actually preferred hollow rabbits because they are easier to eat.

Those solid rabbits were every child’s dream, but I recall the first year I unwrapped my Easter-morning treat to discover half the rabbit was missing. What was there was still solid chocolate but it was flat on the side inside the box. I howled in outrage but the parents could do nothing about the dilemma and by the next year, there was acceptance that manufacturers were either trying to save production costs or were aligned with dentists and doctors opposed to chocolate consumption.

Another fact from one of the bunny surveys: 65 per cent prefer milk chocolate while the rest voted for dark chocolate. And the chocolate eggs with the toys inside are the most popular of the dozens of varieties of eggs on shelves at Easter.

My choice between rabbit or egg: solid milk chocolate rabbits with large ears.

Now if only I could find a survey that shows another trait that slots me into the “normal” category. Maybe some more time in dreamland will provide an answer.

Happy Easter.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.