The $500 Egg: Michael Recchiuti Prepares for Easter

The $500 Egg: Michael Recchiuti Prepares for Easter


Today, there might be more chocolatiers in SF than you can shake a stick at, but Michael Recchiuti—the man who started the movement here with Michael Recchiuti Confections, back in 1997—continues to makes some of the finest chocolates and confections in the US. He preys on weak food editors like myself, sending samples of his delights with every holiday. Right now, on my desk there's a box of his beautiful honeycomb-filled chocolate eggs that I'm trying to ignore. (Though of course I've had one. Or three.)

As part of very serious 7x7 "Best Of" research, I just finished my fifth fried chicken sandwich in a matter of days. And, despite an aching stomach and a fleeting sense of self loathing, I topped it off with a few Recchiuti candied hazelnuts covered in milk chocolate with just a touch of burnt caramel—little orbs of joy that I want to eat like popcorn. Recchiuti's chocolates make me very irrational.

So rather than seeing this big egg in person, I just got off the phone with Recchiuti—who's working on getting his new shop open in the soon-to-be-former Piccino space in Dogpatch—to get a taste of Easter cheer. Talking is so much less caloric.

How much does this egg in the picture weigh?
It's about 30 pounds and took me, plus two production people, about 15 hours to create. It's about 2 feet tall.

How do you make it?
It's basically like a chocolate version of terrazzo. We make all these little colored, white chocolate pebbles. Then we bind it with 100 percent cocoa butter, line the inside of the egg with it and set it up. Once it's set, we sand it down with a warm knife to let the colors show through.

Can you eat it?
Well, you could but it's made with cocoa butter. It's more of a decorative egg. I have a chocolate piece I brought back from Paris nine years ago. So this will last a long time. You can bring it out for Easter every year.

How much?
$500. But we've got smaller ones, the size of ostrich eggs that sell for $50. One that's about 1 1/2-feet tall is being raffled off at our Ferry Building shop. If you buy something over $25, you get a raffle ticket.

What are you doing for Easter this year?
Easter's a bigger deal in Europe. Jacky [my wife] and I are going to Paris on Easter Day. (We've been developing a custom-blended ganache with Valrhona.) I love walking around looking at the window displays. I'll probably stop by Laudurée, Christian Constant, and Partrick Roger.

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