It's that time of the year — when store shelves are stocked with chocolate bunnies and tiny little marshmallow chickens.
When it comes to Easter treats, some Anchorage shops do things a little differently.
At The Flying Dutchman Pastry Shop, 2101 Abbott Road, it's chocolate moose, not rabbits.
"The chocolate moose is always a favorite," said Frieda Koper, owner and pastry chef. "Truth, they all are. Some want something bigger, some want just a little treat. We have something for almost anyone."
Koper said other highlights include traditional chocolate bunnies — some snowboarding, others in race cars — chocolate eggs filled with truffles and cake balls, Easter-themed cakes and tarts, and brown sugar butter cookies shaped like bunnies and dipped in chocolate.
"We make everything in our shop ourselves," Koper said. "It is hard to explain what we all carry."
Sweet Caribou, 701 W. 36th Ave., will have a huge selection of springy Easter options. No bunnies, but lots and lots of macarons. "We have designed special gift boxes of Easter macarons, using pastel colors customized box to match the holiday mood," said owner James Strong. "These adorable boxes are a perfect replacement for the hollow chocolate bunnies, with special flavors designed to impress the most discerning palate."
Strong said the boxes will contain some of Sweet Caribou's Easter specialties, like marshmallow peep and orange ginger carrot, as well as two new flavors, hot cross buns and pineapple coconut. Other flavors include Easter birthday cake, cookies and cream, passionfruit, lemon lavender, espresso and others. Boxes are available Thursday through Saturday. They are $15 for six and $25 for 12. Strong suggests contacting Sweet Caribou to reserve, via Facebook or by text at 907-223-5160.
Sweet Caribou also has a large selection of cupcakes and vanilla bean sugar cookies, too.
Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge, 530 E. Benson Blvd., is another option for gourmet treats. Options include the traditional chocolate bunnies, solid chocolate chicks and rockets, and large ganache and brittle/butter-filled eggs.
"Our chocolates are made in-house using quality ingredients and no preservatives," owner Zoe Oakley said.
"We carry a variety of vegan dark chocolate as well as milk and white chocolates made from unique antique metal chocolate molds. We also have an amazing selection of our truffles, toffee, drinking chocolate and sugar-free options."
Over at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop's two locations (1343 G St. and 2530 E. 16th Ave.), the combination of the Easter and Passover holidays creates the perfect setting for old and new favorites.
"It makes it a really special time for us," owner Janis Fleischman said. "With these two holidays together we're reminded that this week is about joy and community, despite any differences we may have."
For those celebrating Passover, Fire Island will have a flourless chocolate orange cake, chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, a lemon curd tart with a nut crust, and matzo crackers dipped in chocolate and drizzled with caramel. For Easter, the bakery will highlight a variety of cakes including their signature fresh fruit Charlotte filled with lemon mousse and topped with fresh berries as well Tsoureki and hot cross buns. The organic hot cross buns will be baked fresh every morning this week with a blend of whole wheat, rye and bread flour; honey; butter; warm spices; lemon, lime and orange zest; and currants.
"Every element of this traditional bread is done from scratch," Fleischman said. "And, don't forget about the 'peeps,' hundreds and hundreds of pastel chicks piped with fresh marshmallow!"
At AK Cake Studio, 608 W. Fourth Ave., Easter specials include handmade shortbread cookies and cupcakes in a variety of holiday themes, said Will McDonald, owner and pastry chef. Cake Studio will be closed on Sunday.
At the markets
The Easter holiday is also front and center for Alex Davis at the Center Market.
Last week, Davis offered his bone-in loin roast for half off. "I've decided to keep the sale going and make it even better," Davis said. But he only has a few bone-in roasts left. "I don't like to disappoint, so I have decided to broaden the sale to boneless loin roasts as well. The boneless will be 1/3 off; they are 2 to 5 pounds," he said.
Davis also will have live lettuce, storage vegetables, raspberry jam, eggs and items from Evie's Brinery, Tonia's Biscotti, Alaska Flour Co. and Alaska Sprouts. He will be at all three markets.
On Wednesday only, look for Alaska Seeds of Change, with leafy greens and herbs, including kale, lettuce, chives, chervil, bok choy and dill.
Earthworks Farm will be at all three markets with body care products, including spring flower soaps, and some Alaska honey. Also at all three markets will be Catherine's Cupcakes.
Far North Fungi and Monica's Confection Connection will be at the Wednesday and Saturday markets, while Rempel Family Farm will be at Saturday's market with storage vegetables and yak meat.
The lineup for this week's Thankful Thursdays market includes Duane Clark, Three Bears Farm, Farm 779, Non Essentials and Drool Central.
Vendor highlights include jams, jellies, honey, salsa, birch syrup, krauts, kimchi and treats for the dogs.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at email@example.com.
Local farmers markets
Monday in the Valley: Colony Farmers Market, noon-6 p.m., 610 S. Valley Way, Palmer
Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Thursday in Anchorage: Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Saturday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street