A golden Easter egg, 12 kilos of Belgian chocolate and decorated with delicate flowers, costs almost R$ 6 thousand. The sweet signed by the confectioner Isabella supplicationaffluent celebrities and the wealthy, became a subject on social networks and exchanged barbs even among newspaper columnists. “Anybody buy this?” was the naturally repeated question.
“Yes, buy it. Many people care about beauty, because it is a work of art. Our customers are loyal customers, who like chocolate, know our products, buy every year”, he replied to the TAB the employee of another chocolate shop, also a luxury one, with stores in the main shopping malls in São Paulo. Where she works, there are eggs for over R$700.
Prepared in smaller quantities, with different recipes and flavors (or, sometimes, very similar to the most commercial ones), artisanal eggs have become a trend of refined desserts that are gaining more space in times of instagrammable cooking. “People love to take pictures of these”, the woman pointed to the window with eggs in orange and red, which looked more like decorative ceramic pieces.
Work of art
The almost empty shelves are the first thing that chef Renata Arassiro, 52, showed to the report, as soon as she left the kitchen and entered the main hall of her candy store, in a large house in Campo Belo, a neighborhood in the south of São Paulo. . “They were all full. What we’re doing in there now is ordering products,” she explains.
This is not about promotion or stock clearance. On the contrary. Most labels mark prices with more than three digits, because the chocolate eggs signed by her are a brand of sweets from São Paulo, sold mainly to middle- and upper-middle-class customers, looking for exclusive and refined flavors.
One of the most awarded master chocolatiers in the country, Arassiro produces eggs and assorted bonbons. “It’s not just a product for you to eat. It’s to admire too”, she says, showing a sculptural egg in the shape of a nest, with a hole in one of its ends, filled with chocolates and decorated with dried fruits.
After almost two months of intense production for Easter, last Thursday (14), on the eve of the holiday, the chef was satisfied with the result of another year of sales. “Enough to cover the budget [orçamento]”, he says. The April profit keeps production until December. There were almost 500 kilos of chocolate sold.
A milk chocolate shell, French, with 41% cocoa, filled with more chocolate, biscuit and a honey crunchy with hazelnuts, involves a surprise only revealed when the egg finally breaks: inside, there are little bees and honeycombs. made with chocolate. It’s Arassiro’s new creation, the Bee Positive Egg — as she named it. Elected one of the best of the year by a national magazine, the candy costs R$ 237. There was only one on the shelf.
“This one is the best, isn’t it?”, asked a young customer, in doubt between that one and the other. “It’s less sweet. It has more cocoa. I like it”, replied Arassiro. His audience is mostly adults. That morning, at least three women and one man entered the store to shop. “We made versions for children, in milk chocolate, and we also have chocolates, the ‘egg’ line [que são coloridos, simulando ovos de galinha] and chicks.” They are the cheapest, starting at R$20.
Because she likes chocolate, in fact, the chef left her career as a textile engineer in 1999 to study gastronomy and opened the store in 2008. “The raw material and the creativity in the mix of flavors and the creation of the product are the differentials” , ensures. Because of this, she adds, desserts are expensive. “But they are an average price. There are more expensive ones.”
In a kitchen at the back of the store, Renata Arassiro and an assistant prepare all the sweets. “It has my finger on every step of production. It’s really handcrafted, made with care and love,” she explains. In the small room, the two organize all the stages of preparing the chocolates and finishing the pieces. In another room, the packaging is made. “We use packages that show the eggs. Simple and beautiful. Others use more elaborate, closed packages, which take the shine off the eggs and make them more expensive.”
brand at the table
In addition to the quality ingredients, what distinguishes the eggs is the shine of the shells and the crunchiness. Glow is the first proof that the preparation process was carried out at the correct temperature and that the molds used were of suitable material.
Since Ash Wednesday, chef Cesar Yukio, 38, and four employees (two temporary ones) were huddled together in a makeshift kitchen, in Tatuapé, for the production of the 2022 Easter dessert line. detail. “It’s so small that it barely fits two people,” he joked. Due to the increase in demand during the period of greatest sales for the confectioner, it was necessary to rent extra space in the same neighborhood where, in 2019, he opened his own store.
The eggs sold at the bakery are made in an almost choreographed process of melting chocolate, manipulating the temperature, molding and filling it. But with a particular way: the recipes use spices from Japanese cuisine, such as soy paste, green tea and a citrus fruit called yuzu.
“You can consider it a brand”, he sums up, as he spread and stirred on a marble table the glossy French chocolate syrup (which costs R$ 250 a kilo), before pouring it into a translucent polycarbonate form. “That’s the secret to recreating the crystals that the chocolate lost as it melted. These crystals give it the shine and crunch.”
The Easter eggs signed by Yukio cost from R$89 to R$280. The high price, justifies, has to do with imported ingredients, of high quality, some even rare. But it also has to do with the refinement of making and finishing. There are products decorated, for example, with cherry blossom (sakura) and 24-karat gold leaf.
Yukio grew up accompanying his grandfather in the kitchen of his restaurant, in Vila Carrão, where they sold sushi. “He died when I was 6. Nobody wanted to continue the restaurant,” he recalls. At home, he learned to cook with his mother, when he became interested in the true passion in gastronomy, desserts.
As soon as he graduated, in 2012, the chef started making American sweets, taking a ride on the success of gringo confectioneries that infested São Paulo. In 2016, however, during a trip to Japan, he decided to change. “Brazil is very fond of Japanese food. And I remembered that I almost never found desserts in Japanese restaurants. That’s why I realized that there was a niche to be filled”, he says.
Cesar Yukio’s clientele have a very similar address and bank account. “It’s not quite AAA, but [são pessoas] from class A upwards”, he explained. “And our desserts are sold mainly to the neighborhoods where there is a greater concentration of Asians: Saúde, Vila Carrão, Vila Madalena, Pinheiros and Jardins.”
Cesar’s bakery is located on one of the busiest streets in Tatuapé. On the ground floor of the building, there is a shop and a cafeteria. In the back, an industrial kitchen and, on the first floor, two rooms and a corridor crammed with products. A seductive scent spreads through absolutely every room.
Earlier in the week, an old customer of Cesar’s picked up 27 Easter eggs. “He is president of an association of Japanese companies. I think he will give the eggs to the directors of these companies”, he commented.
In 2022, Yukio still hasn’t reached a ton of chocolate produced for Easter, the mark he’s passed in the previous two years. Contrary to most food outlets, especially bars and restaurants, the bakery helped to make a profit. “I would prefer it to be closed”, he jokes. “With the pandemic, chocolate stores closed. And we, who already had delivery service and bet on social networks, sold a lot. Now, with stores open, sales decrease more in the final value.”