Destination chocolate – where to get your sugar fix

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Maison François, London

Until 17 April, fans of François O’Neill’s French-style St James’s brasserie can celebrate spring with a playful “Cochon de Pâques” – a limited-edition Easter egg in the shape of a pig (£30).

Maison François Cochon de Pâques, £30 © Jodi Hinds

Head pastry chef Jérémy Prakhin has hand-crafted the creature – which is filled with hazelnut gianduja – from chocolate supplied by Valrhona, a luxury French chocolatier based in the small town of Tain-l’Hermitage. Order online or pick up in-store. maisonfrancois.london


Baltic Bakehouse, Liverpool

2am starts are a regular occurrence for the owners of this Merseyside bakery – not least during spring, when the award-winning pastry selection includes American-inspired “crack pie” (£25), cinnamon buns (£2.50) and, of course, hot-cross buns (£6 for six). Baltic Bakehouse’s recipe for the latter involves slow-fermented, gently spiced dough and a smattering of currants and raisins. Order early to avoid disappointment. balticbakehouse.co.uk


Pasticceria Marchesi 1824, Milan

Easily one of the world’s most stylish pâtisseries, Pasticceria Marchesi 1824 has been serving up fresh pastries, signature chocolates and classic Milanese panettone on Via Santa Maria alla Porta since 1824. Top of the list for spring should be the Sicilian orange-flavoured Colomba (from €42), a traditional Italian Easter bread that takes 48 hours to prepare. pasticceriamarchesi.com


Ladurée, Paris 

Ladurée is celebrating its 160th year

In 1930, French pastry chef Pierre Desfontaines had the idea of glueing two macaron shells together with a layer of creamy ganache. With that, the Parisian macaron was born, and Desfontaines – cousin of Louis Ernest Ladurée – turned his family bakery into a culinary institution. Now in its 160th year, Ladurée sells macarons all over the world, but the branch on Champs-Élysées remains the pâtisserie’s beating heart. And it’s not just macarons on offer (€18.50 for six) – Easter specialties include chocolate hens and eggs filled with pastry-shaped figurines. laduree.co.uk


Yu Chocolatier, Taipei 

Yu Chocolatier in Taipei specialises in seasonal chocolate bonbons © Hey!Cheese

“Chocolate works every time, for everyone.” So goes the slogan of this Taiwanese chocolate brand. Inspired by both French chocolate and the “terroir” of Taiwan, Yu Chocolatier specialises in seasonal chocolate bonbons (from NT$640 – about £17), which combine dark cacao with ingredients such as mango, basil and local whisky. yuchocolatier.com


Niederegger, Lübeck

The secret of this shop’s marzipan has been handed down by members of the Niederegger family since the turn of the 19th-century. Characterised by its intense nutty flavour – a result of the recipe’s high quantity of almonds, which are “kissed by the sun” before being roasted over an open fire – Niederegger’s version is served alongside nougat, praline and nut cakes at the brand’s café in central Lübeck (otherwise known as the world’s capital of marzipan). niederegger.de


Shane Confectionery, Philadelphia

“Colossal” chocolate bunnies, sour gummy chicks, marshmallow robin eggs… Market Street’s Shane Confectionery is a haven for Easter confectionery. Based in the same duck-egg-blue shop since 1863 – and widely credited as America’s oldest candy store – the business is now run by brothers Ryan and Eric Berley, who honour its history with rows of glass jars, vintage cash registers and a range of “nostalgic confections”. shanecandies.com


Chocolaterie Mary, Brussels

Pralines and truffles on display at Chocolaterie Mary in Brussels

It was rue Royale, the street in Brussels frequented daily by King Albert I, on which chocolatier Mary Delluc chose to open her eponymous sweet shop. More than 100 years later, Chocolaterie Mary’s handmade pralines, truffles and caraques still draw crowds – as much for the elegant packaging and extravagant window displays as the treats themselves. Celebrate Easter with a box of colourful “petits œufs” (€23 for 250g). mary.be


The Meadow, Nob Hill, Portland

The Meadow in Portland; the stores has five outlets across the US and Japan

More than 400 different chocolate bars are to be found on this leafy corner of Portland’s Nob Hill neighbourhood, with plenty of flavours for the adventurous sweet tooth (think tomato, fig and “vanilla smoke”). Originally opened in 2006 to sell its owners’ favourite treats – an eclectic menu of salt, chocolate and cocktail bitters – today The Meadow has five outlets across the US and Japan, each showcasing the best artisan makers around the world. themeadow.com


Confeitaria Nacional, Lisbon

Portugal isn’t just known for its pastéis de natas: as well as Christmas “King Cake” (or bolo-rei), this part of the Iberian Peninsula is also home to folares, cinnamon-flavoured sweet breads traditionally baked with whole, unshelled eggs at Easter. Find them, alongside yolk-coloured egg candies (€6.75 for 15) and fruit cake (€39.80), at Confeitaria Nacional, Lisbon’s oldest bakery. confeitarianacional.com

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