Some bunny to love: An Anchorage shop's 37-year tradition of Easter chocolates
A small, family-run shop in South Anchorage is known for its European pastries, but when spring holidays roll around, the attention turns to chocolate. For Easter, that means plenty of chocolate bunnies.
Frieda Koper is the lone pastry chef and chocolatier at the Flying Dutchman Pastry Shop that her father opened in 1982, years after he emigrated with her mother from the Netherlands. When Ben Koper died in 2002, Frieda Koper took over. She's been making chocolates ever since.
Koper figures she'll melt and pour more than a hundred pounds of chocolate into molds that include rabbits, chicks, a moose, a snowboarding bunny and many more. The shop will also make plenty of other Easter treats by the end of the week.
"We also do some eggs and then we glue 'em together with chocolate so they're like a clam and we fill them with our truffles and other little goodies," said Koper. "So it's just a big variety. I have never even counted."
She said the shop sells both hollow and solid Easter chocolates. Despite the variety, Koper's chocolate Easter treats come in just one flavor: semi-sweet.
And the chocolate comes from one place: California.
"Dad always smiled that people wanted the fancy European chocolate and he found that Guittard and Ghirardelli make some of the best, best chocolate," she said. "And so he always stuck with California chocolate and we've stayed with it the same for 37 years."
Pouring chocolate into a mold can be a messy business but Koper said she doesn't aim for precision.
"Not too many flaws, I never say perfect," she said.
Koper said she's purposely kept the business small and concentrated on making things the old-fashioned way, putting in lots of hours every week. She uses the same business model her father did.
"We haven't expanded, we haven't gotten bigger. If anything, we are trying to go smaller," she said. "Just to keep it really, so we can maintain it and keep the quality that we want and the way our customers have grown to want it."
Koper said their chocolate Easter treats are popular with customers and advises people to shop early because they often run out before the holiday.
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