Easter egg-stravaganzas in Sonoma!

According to, Americans consume, or at least purchase, 90 million chocolate bunnies each year, and 16 billion jelly beans. How did this happen?

Easter celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead and is one of Christianity's most important holidays. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21.

In addition to Easter's religious significance we now have mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring.

Eggs were thought to be signs of fertility, for good reason, but were once forbidden during Lent, so decorating eggs at Easter became part of the celebration. You can now even buy pre-dyed Easter eggs at Safeway.

In case you want to make Easter treats with others, Sign of the Bear Kitchenware offers bunny cookie cutters and spring muffin cups, while Williams-Sonoma has Nordicware Peter Rabbit Loaf pans and Sweet Tweets Baby Chick cakelet pans, bunny and chick spatulas, and Easter egg cookie cutters. Sounds like fun.

Cooking breakfast after the hunt and taking a family walk or ride are part of the relaxing ritual for many, but here are some local places to go feast away from home, listed by ascending cost:

Breakaway Café: Bob Rice features Easter treats on both Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend with a spring omelet of duck confit, asparagus, caramelized onions and brie with potatoes and toast; breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs and chorizo in organic corn tortillas, pico de gallo and avocado; waffle with blueberries and bananas and orange honey butter, Eggs Benedict, and salmon cakes with avocado Eggs Benedict. ($11 to $15). No reservations.

Saddles Steakhouse: Complimentary sparkling wine, smoked salmon and prosciutto platters, croissants, Danish, bagels, brioches and muffins, Sonoma County cheeses, granola, and yogurt parfait; seafood buffet with King Crab and jumbo prawns, oysters on the half shell and New Zealand Green Lip mussels and steamer clams; cold buffet of kale and Caesar salads, chilled penne with tomato and Swiss chard, tri-color carrots and asparagus. The hot buffet offers leg of lamb and prime rib, ham, crepes, cheesy grits, mac-n-cheese, chicken apple sausage, eggs Benedict and potatoes. Dessert buffet forever. $65 adults, $35 children 12 and under. 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 29 E. MacArthur, Sonoma. 933-3191.

Ramekins Culinary School: Ideal for the whole family and fun with buffets of freshly made omelet and waffle stations, carving station and oatmeal bar; kale salad, Rosemary marble potatoes, maple tick-cut bacon, chicken apple sausage, frittatas with wild mushrooms, spinach, Fontina and goat cheese; pastries and sweets including blueberry muffins, croissants, scones, bread pudding with maple bourbon glaze, chocolate ganache brownies, and lemon mousse.

Enjoy an Easter egg and cookie decorating station for the kids. Cocktails available for purchase. $65 adults, $25 kids 6 to 12, free ages 5 and under. Seatings at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. 450 W. Napa St., Sonoma. Must be pre-registered in advance. No sales at door.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn: Perhaps Sonoma's most elegant Easter Sunday Buffet with omelet and carving stations, shellfish and dessert stations, all at Santé Restaurant that will include jumbo shrimp cocktails, housemade pâtés, ballotine of organic chicken, Loch Duart salmon, deviled eggs, French style poached egg, Fra 'Mani charcuteries, local and imported cheeses, salads, Dungeness crab coleslaw, smoked and cured fish, bagels, caviars, Niman Ranch filet mignon Wellington, leg of lamb, and breakfast specialties. Easter egg hunt at 11:30 a.m. for brunch guests. $99 adults, $49 ages 5 to 12, free for children 4 and under. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations at 939-2415.

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