Easter Eggs – the Spanish do those better too.
I know I’m forever praising the efforts of my European neighbours rather than my own here in England, but there is something about continental Europe that just exudes a class and elegance which has been long since forgotten here in the UK. Take Easter Eggs – here the shelves are loaded full of Easter Eggs, but for the most part they are covered in branding, a boring shell in a huge box with plenty of space for adverts and promotion – of Mars, of Milky Way, Twix, Kit Kat and After Eight. Admittedly, there are some exceptions in the higher end market, but otherwise your typical UK egg is likely to be little more than smoke and mirrors, mass produced and devoured without as little thought as went into making it.
By comparison check out these eggs currently to be found gracing the well stocked shelves of local Marbella cafe favourite, Goyo. Yes, there is some branding, in the form of cartoon characters made into eggs, but there is also a wonderful hand made element, an intricacy in the skill shown by the chocolatiers, and a sense of fun and Easter-tide joy. And this runs pretty consistently across the board when it comes to Easter eggs in Spain – all handmade, all intricate, all worthy of this celebratory festival. Even the foil covered eggs are brightly wrapped and spill, as though from Pan’s cornucopia, in all their multicoloured vibrancy from Easter baskets and displays. Beautiful. Only problem is, the calories.
For me, it’s the little things in life that bring the difference between the UK and continental Europe into sharp focus. As I’ve said before, the UK is, and has always been economically driven. Here it’s about mass production, value for money, business efficacy. On the Continent however, precedence is given to the good things in life – taking time to achieve a better, more satisfying finish, prioritising aesthetics, and allowing time to enjoy the joie de vivre. It’s the same with art – take Damien Hirst, currently enjoying an even bigger spotlight than previously at his Tate retrospective. He’s all about lazy art – mass produced, and painted/ created by a factory of assistants. But he’s also about the brand, the business, the marketing. Did Van Gogh care that he hadn’t sold? Not nearly as much as he cared about creating beautiful paintings. And I can guarantee that fewer people will be queueing to see Damien Hirst’s rotting shark in 100 years than queue every day to see Van Gogh paintings around the world.
Happy Easter everyone!