- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

Wendy Johnson walked out of the Godiva Chocolatier candy store in Union Station yesterday afternoon with a bag full of chocolate Easter bunnies.

She bought one large milk chocolate bunny — an Easter gift for her husband — and four miniature milk chocolate and white chocolate bunnies, which she planned to distribute to her stepson and a co-worker.

“I should have gotten one for myself,” said Mrs. Johnson, 47.

Mrs. Johnson and her family are not alone in their love of the rabbit-shaped Easter treats.

Ninety million chocolate bunnies are made for the holiday every year, according to the National Confectioners Association in Vienna, Va.

The Johnsons also aren’t the only adults to continue what is typically a childhood tradition. According to the organization, 88 percent of adults continue to prepare baskets for their children as they grow older.

Jennifer Legel purchased a solid chocolate bunny from Godiva Chocolatier for her 23-year-old daughter, who is a fan of anything milk chocolate.

“She likes Godiva [chocolate] the best,” Ms. Legel said.

Chocolate bunnies aren’t the only Easter snacks, though, that are tickling taste buds this year.

Jim Wakefield, as well as several other people interviewed yesterday, said by far his favorite Easter candy is miniature Cadbury eggs.

“I’ll go through bags of them,” said Mr. Wakefield, 25, who was returning to work at the Bureau of Labor Statistics from his lunch break with two co-workers. “My mom knows that was one thing that had to be in the basket.”

Mr. Wakefield, who enjoys the egg’s creme filling, said he no longer gets a basket, but his parents still give him candy.

John Venegas, who was waiting at Union Station with his wife Kristen, said he likes Cadbury eggs, too.

“The inside is pretty good,” said Mr. Venegas, 26. His wife, Kristen, disagrees.

“They’re disgusting,” said Mrs. Venegas, 24. She said she prefers Reese’s treats.

Helen McCulley, one of Mr. Wakefield’s co-workers, said she is partial to egg-shaped malted milk balls “because they’re kind of old-fashioned and nostalgic, and bring back memories for me.”

Ms. McCulley, 35, said her late father used to eat them at Easter, and she continues to buy them.

Peeps, the chicken-shaped marshmallow treats that come in pastel colors at Easter, and other marshmallow products are also an Easter basket staple for some Washingtonians.

Georgetown University Law Center student Bethany Katz, who was in Chinatown yesterday afternoon, said Peeps are her favorite Easter snacks because she likes marshmallows and because the treats are available once a year.

When told there are Peeps for other holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas, Ms. Katz jokingly said, “I don’t want to know about it.”

Five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are made each day to keep up with the demand for the products when Easter rolls around, according to the National Confectioners Association.

Loretta Behm’s husband, Patrick, is proof that the joy of waking up to a candy-filled basket Easter morning never ceases. Each year Mrs. Behm, 59, fills up a yellow and red plastic basket with Jelly Belly jelly beans and assorted chocolate treats for her husband, who is 55.

Mrs. Behm, who was shopping for candy at the CVS Pharmacy on Seventh Street in Chinatown, said she took over filling her husband’s basket after his mother died.

“When she passed away I kind of took over the position,” she said.

Mrs. Behm acknowledges that her husband isn’t as fickle as some candy lovers.

“He likes chocolate, period,” Mrs. Behm said.

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