COLUMN: Move over Reese’s: It’s Church Lady Egg season

By Candace Nelson - 3:44 PM

Here's my latest column for the newspaper:

Spring paints a landscape of blooming tulips, chirping birds and light rain showers across West Virginia.

It also ushers in a season of new life and rebirth, celebrated as part of the Christian holiday of Easter. And Easter means “Church Lady Eggs” in much of Appalachia.

Sure, there are plenty of types of eggs due to their symbolism during this time of year: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs, and Whoppers Robin Eggs Malted Milk Balls.

But Church Lady Eggs hit different.

They are sweetened peanut butter mounds formed into the shape of an egg and dipped in milk chocolate — often handmade by women from a local church and sold to raise funds for the congregation.

The tradition likely developed in Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish communities in the mid-to-late 1900s when churches began crafting and selling the creamy confections to both boost attendance and revenue.

From there, the tradition grew in popularity — to neighboring places of worship and regional nonprofits. Today, the eggs can be found across religious denominations and beyond state lines.

New flavors have developed over time from just peanut butter to cookies & cream, caramel, maple nut, coconut and more.

Chocolate companies have also taken to producing their own versions, like Sarris Candies in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania who makes my personal favorite: the Peanut Butter Meltaway Egg.

The tradition spans the Appalachian region and thrives in smaller communities. It’s lovingly regarded as a favorite pastime around Easter for many and is the highlight of the season for others.

Local food traditions, like church ladies making peanut butter eggs, are crucial to the region because they showcase the region's cultural heritage, fostering a strong sense of identity and community. These traditions bring people together through shared experiences of cooking, eating, and celebrating.

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