Before she was a chocolatier, Nicole Patel was an engineer, working in the semiconductor industry. Though the disciplines might seem very different, Patel, who runs Delysia Chocolatier in Austin, says she’s applied some of her technical aptitude to making sweet treats. She’s also drawn on memories of a childhood spent making very special Easter eggs with her Ukrainian grandmother to create her own painted chocolate eggs for the holiday.
How a Ukrainian delicacy inspired handmade chocolate Easter creations
Chocolatier Nicole Patel makes egg-shaped treats you can decorate using a chocolate-filled pen.
“Chocolate’s pretty fickle, really difficult to work with. If the temperature is not just quite right or humidity’s too high or it’s raining outside, things just won’t work. And so it really played off my engineering mindset, and before I knew it, I was in business.”
“My dad’s mother – my grandmother, who is 97 years old, – she is Ukrainian. As a young kid, I remember spending time with her and making these incredibly intricate, decorated eggs. They’re called pysanky. The closest thing that most people would probably identify them is – it’s kind of like the details of a Faberge egg.”
“When it came to creating our East chocolates for Delysia Chocolatier, I came up with this idea for painted eggs with these decorating pens. At the time it didn’t resonate with where that inspiration came from until I was talking to [my grandmother] a couple of years ago and… She was like ‘oh, just like the pysanky we used to decorate – the ones that we used to make when you were little.”
“My great grandfather and great grandmother snuck out of the country to avoid was at that time. And they never talked about it much. Even my grandmother doesn’t know a lot about their history. That’s, I think why having that little piece from my childhood of Ukrainian Easter eggs from my childhood is so important.”