Come Easter time, everyone loves a chocolate bunny. The question is, which one?

Most people go for the classic side-profile rabbit that sits upright nicely in an Easter basket full of fake grass, gazing off into the distance, unaware that its ears are about to be savagely bitten off. But there are plenty of other options, especially at candy stores such as Haven’s Candies and Wilbur’s of Maine, each of which has 30-plus different styles of chocolate bunny molds in their collections. If you want an active bunny, choose the daredevil bunny that rides a motorcycle, or the weird one that rides a rooster as if it were a horse. For the avid golfer, consider the bunny who would rather play a few holes than hop down one.

“It gets so bad we have to name all of our larger ones,” said Art Dillon, master candymaker at Haven’s, “because it’s easier to remember their names than to remember whether it’s a sitting bunny or a walking bunny or a sitting-on-a-mushroom bunny.” (Herbert, a 3-foot, 30-pound hollow bunny, is named after company founder Herbert Haven.)

Here’s our own guide to local chocolate Easter bunnies to help you match the right bunny with the right person.

FOR FANS OF DOWNTON ABBEY

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, Bunny: “I’ve lost our entire fortune in an unfortunate business deal.”

Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, Bunny: “Oh Robert, not again! How ever will we marry off our daughters?”

You’ll spend hours playing with these Edwardian bunnies as they fight the Spanish flu, sleep with Turkish diplomats, and throw elaborate dinner parties for their friends, the marshmallow chicks and chocolate ducks. Don’t put them in any cars.

These solid chocolate bunnies, made with old metal molds, live at Harbor Candy Shop in Ogunquit, and can be purchased separately or as a pair. ($38/pair)

FOR THE STUDENT OF MODERN ART

Origami Bunny Photo courtesy of Christopher Hastings Confections

Billy the Bunny ($10) should have been named Jackson the Jackrabbit. He is 7 inches of awesome abstraction, the Jackson Pollock of Easter bunnies. Chocolatiers at Christopher Hastings Confections in Waterville hand-paint and airbrush each bunny so that no two are alike. The edible paints splashed onto Billy are made of colored cocoa butters – the chocolatiers use about 30 different types and colors in all.

Christopher Hastings also makes Origami Bunny ($3), who has sharp edges where his soft round curves ought to be. His mold is a “style forward” European creation, says Nate Towne, co-owner of the candy business, the polar opposite of the Edwardian Bunnies’ vintage look.

FOR THE HORROR FAN

Angry Bunny, as we have dubbed this stern-looking guy (his actual name is Harvey), is the Easter Bunny equivalent of the monster under your bed, falling into the same Stephen King oeuvre as Pennywise, the scary clown from “It.” He’s supposed to be cheery and cuddly, but you never know when he’s going to pull out a hare-sized hatchet and come after you. Andy Wilbur, owner of Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections in Freeport and Brunswick, says that the bunny ($3.95) with the frowny face and narrowed eyes used to be known around the store as Mean Bunny “because he just looks like he’s mad. It sells well.” Wilbur says the bunny is made using a tin mold that could be 100 years old, back when chocolate bunnies “were not necessarily as cutesy as they are now.”

FOR THE WORKER BUNNY

Maybe give this one to your boss, to remind him or her how hard you toil. The employees at Haven’s have named him Drone because he is clearly a worker rabbit, with a basket full of eggs on his back. Have you ever wondered what the bunnies are doing with all those eggs? Do they eat them? Pass them on to little children at Easter egg hunts? Ship them to China to be decorated before selling them back to Americans? Throw them at passing cars? This one would pair well with Angry Bunny.

Art Dillon, candymaker at Haven’s in Westbrook, with some of his chocolate bunnies, including some hard-working ones hauling packs of eggs on their backs. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

FOR THE FARM-TO-TABLE FANATIC

Mushroom-sitting bunny looks as if he’s been out foraging all morning and is just taking a rest. His walking staff looks like a carrot, and the gleam in his eye says, “I wonder how much restaurants will pay for these artisanal, locally sourced eggs?”

FOR THE TEENAGER

OK, so your teenager will probably actually roll his eyes when he sees Hip Hop Bunny, a popular bunny at Len Libby’s in Scarborough. But you know your kids want a chocolate bunny on Easter, whether they are 6 years old or 16. Hip Hop Bunny ($13.75) might score you some (begrudging) parental points and is cooler than a cutesy bunny. Better yet, pair Hip Hop Bunny with Angry Bunny – the perfect Easter gift for someone battling raging hormones.

FOR THE RABBIT-EATING PREDATOR

Flop-eared bunnies are the most popular chocolate Easter bunny, more than one candy store told us. Probably because the ears are long and easily accessible, and the bunnies come in different sizes.

FOR THE EXERCISE ENTHUSIAST

Walker, as this bunny from Haven’s is named, is almost a foot-and-a-half tall and walks on his back legs. This bunny is for that endorphin-addicted friend who goes to the gym every day or walks 5 miles through rain, sleet and snow. That person needs – and deserves – a little chocolate in his life.

… OR THE ENGINEER

Calico

If you have an engineer in your life, you’ll understand this one immediately. Engineers like to explain how things work, so the first thing they’re going to say when they see Calico ($20), a natural-looking bunny with white and dark chocolate spots, is “How’d they do that?” Colleen Osselaer, the manager at Harbor Candy Shop in Ogunquit, explains that the shop’s candymakers separate the two halves of the mold and paint the insides with white and dark chocolate accents. Then they put the mold back together fill it with milk chocolate.

FOR THE LUCKY CHILD OR THE EASTER DINNER HOST

All the local candy shops we talked with make two or three really big chocolate rabbits each Easter for display and possible sale. They’ll make custom-decorated bunnies as well – hopefully ones with deep pockets because these bunnies will cost you. One custom bunny at Harbor Candy Shop is about 21/2 feet tall, while others are 15-18 inches tall. Chocolatiers hand-paint the bunny molds with dyed white chocolate and then the milk or dark chocolate is poured in. They cost $65 to $150, depending on their weight. One customer at Harbor Candy buys a big bunny every year for her nephew. Others bunnies find homes with customers who are hosting big Easter dinners. They use the giant rabbits as centerpieces and then serve them for dessert.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

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