Vegan Chocolate Rescue Bunnies
It’s everywhere this month — crunchy, chocolate, Peep-y Easter candy. It fills our drug store aisles and taunts us with milk derivatives and smooth bunny shapes. My own Easter memories are warm with huge baskets stuffed with chocolate eggs and character Pez dispensers. My brother and I would stalk around our Irish-Polish Catholic grandparents’ backyard in Antioch, Calif., sniffing out brightly colored eggs then pouring our finds across the living room carpet.
But grown-up Easter has changed in innumerable ways for me. Instead of galloping through the yard with family, I’ll be dashing through the streets of San Francisco to catch the annual Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Easter event and Hunky Jesus Contest. And instead of overdosing on sugary candies with unpronounceable artificial fillers and Franken-ingredients, I’ll indulge in a select few rich and decadent vegan chocolates crafted by Rescue Chocolates.
“[Rescue Chocolates] tastes more like real food, and less like the plastic taste you experience by comparison with some mass-produced dairy-laden chocolates,” says Rescue Chocolates owner Sarah Gross, 25.
Gross, who works with executive chef Jean Francois Bonnet at the Tumbador chocolate factory to make her dark chocolate creations, chooses an animal rescue charity to support each month with her profits. This month, Gross chose the House Rabbit Society.
Her decision was twofold — to encourage people to purchase vegan/cruelty-free chocolate if they are buying Easter candy, and to dissuade people from irresponsibly adopting bunnies just for the holiday.
It’s sad but true — every year families adopt baby bunnies for their children on the holiday, but the animal is not always kid-friendly, and they generally do better within a calm, adult environment. Or the child simply loses interest after the all the excitement.
Explains the House Rabbit Society: “Easter is coming up, and for rabbits, that often means bad news, as people buy rabbits as impulse gifts for their children. This leads to countless rabbits being abandoned months later when they are no longer “cute.”
It pains me to say it, but I know this from experience. I adopted a rabbit from my fourth grade classroom. While it wasn’t Easter time, it was at an age (10) when I was still not ready for the responsibility and did not understand how to properly care for my bunny. While children may be great with dogs and cats, rabbits are much more fragile and typically do not like to be held for long periods of time, which is all I wanted to do when I was that age and I know my rabbit, Snickers, was very unhappy. Had I known the facts, perhaps that could have been avoided.
House Rabbit Society was obviously pleased when Gross chose them as beneficiaries this month. “They were very happy to embark on the partnership,” says Gross. “Rescue Chocolate offers a really fun and palatable way for rescues to get their message out there.”
Gross, who started the chocolate line in 2010 after adopting her pitbull Mocha a year before, names most of her treats after an animal rescue issue. There’s “Pick Me Pepper” and “Peanut Butter Pit Bull.” For Easter she’s selling “The Good Egg” and “Bunnies-Make Mine Chocolate!” The Good Egg is the antidote for Cadbury Cream Egg envy. It’s a large dark chocolate egg filled with lush cream — and it’s totally cruelty free!
Rescue Chocolates are now available in Whole Foods in New York and in stores and cafes across the country, along with the website.
But Rescue Chocolates aren’t the only vegan Easter candy available this year. Blogger Laziest Vegans provided a handy list of options last week, including VeganSweets Vanilla Cream Eggs and Sjakk’s Crunchy Peanut Butter Easter Egg. There are even vegan Peeps-style options — Dandies Tweets and Sweet & Sara’s adorable Easter Peepers & Skippers.
So this year, do more than simply ignore Easter treats like you may have in years past, disgruntled by the mainstream offerings. Eat some delicious chocolates, save some bunnies lives. It’s win-win.
Photos: Jolene Torr, Rescue Chocolates