If you’ve ever stepped foot into Wilbur’s of Maine at Easter time, you’ve met the BFB (that’s Big Friendly Bunny). He’s typically in the front of the store, waiting to greet you and while he is seated on a sturdy table, he towers over most customers (or at least meets you eye to eye). We look forward to his arrival each year, marking our hopeful return of Spring and warm weather!
While we know all BFB’s secrets, you may have a few questions. How tall is he? How much does he weigh? Is it solid? Have you ever sold one? Well let’s end the mysteries of the BFB and tell you how this scrumptious treat came to be.
In the Beginning
We first started making BFB about 20 years ago. Obviously eye catching, he was awe inspiring to our pint size customers and a little comical to our adult patrons. That was enough to turn BFB into a tradition around these parts. “He was originally solid chocolate,” Andy Wilbur, owner of Wilbur’s of Maine, tells us. BFB is hollow now. So how is he made?
First our chocolatier Lydia begins by painting the basket portion of the mold with dark chocolate so BFB will have a little visual contrast.
Next, the two sides of the mold are held together with dozens of nuts bolts and washers, turning our BFB from two to three dimensional.
Then, Lydia begins to fill the mold with our smooth milk chocolate. She is not trying to fill up BFB, she is just adding enough chocolate to make a solid coat on the inside, creating a shell. Lydia checks for an even coat and to make sure there are no big air bubbles in this first coat, rotating the mold for full coverage. The process continues adding more chocolate, rotating, etc. Lydia uses her Ninja Chocolatier Sense to “feel” when BFB weighs about the right amount and visual checks for thickness to know when to stop the coating.
What about a bottom? There is no bottom to the plastic mold, so Lydia lets gravity do the work. When the sides are ready she turns the BFB onto his bottom and slides it into the cooler. The chocolate that is still warm and melted inside the mold slides on down and forms a solid bottom!
Sounds easy? Well since BFB is about three feet tall and around 20 lbs. so it’s a bit of a wrestling match. Then the real nail-biter comes when Lydia is trying to get BFB out of the mold. “He likes to crack before fully separating from the mold. So I basically have to babysit with it half out of the cooling closet, poking and prodding and gently convincing the mold to release.” And she has lost a few: “you mutter a few choice phrases, take it out and start again.” Lydia enjoys the challenge of BFB and might actually look forward to it every year, but she’d never say so.
We have been known to sell a BFB a time or two, but it’s not very often and that’s OK with us. He’s for the show, the conversation, the fun. If you haven’t seen BFB for yourself it’s time to make the pilgrimage to Wilbur’s of Maine and see what confections this Big Friendly Bunny has brought with him this year; before he hits the bunny trail again.