It's quite possible that I have never been on time for anything in my life. I am the antonym of punctual.
I've known for weeks that Easter is rapidly approaching. I have collated and curated my picks for tasty, locally made treats. But here I am, delivering this to you the afternoon before Easter Friday. But you know what they say - better late than never.
The point of this anecdote is that hopefully, some of you reading this are tardy just like me - kindred spirits, so to speak. And with Easter nigh upon us, you are feverishly scanning this article, hoping the perfect gift for your cousin, colleague, companion or comrade will fall into your lap, because you too have left it to the last minute.
So with all that said, here's Newshub's last-minute guide to Easter gifts, which consists entirely of offerings from local businesses. I can personally testify that the following are all delicious - perhaps the most crucial component of an Easter treat - and almost all are extremely affordable.
Of course, gifts, chocolates and four-day weekends aren't the true meaning of Easter - the holiday actually marks the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his death by crucifixion. But try telling that to your seven-year-old.
Whittaker's Chocolate Kiwi, $7
If you're looking for a sweet token that's affordable but doesn't compromise on chocolatey goodness, it's hard to look past Whittaker's Chocolate Kiwi. Plus, it's always a good time to support local businesses - and as with all Whittaker's chocolate, the adorable Kiwis are crafted at its one and only factory in Porirua. The kiwi bird and its egg are moulded from super-smooth, five-roll-refined creamy milk chocolate or dark chocolate, which contains 50 percent cocoa sourced from Ghana.
Additionally, purchasing a Chocolate Kiwi supports a great cause, with 20c from every treat going straight to Save the Kiwi, a national charity that works alongside whānau, hapū, iwi, conservation groups, communities and the Department of Conservation to reverse the decline of the national kiwi population. The portion from each sale will be donated to their breeding programme - so that chocolate egg is entirely guilt-free.
Black Pineapple's Cocktail Kits, from $59
If you're buying for a classically overworked adult whose favourite part of Easter is the four-day weekend, they're probably hankering for something a little stronger than 70 percent dark chocolate. The cocktail connoisseurs at Auckland-based Black Pineapple make it easier than ever for anyone to create stunning concoctions in the comfort of their own home - but look (and taste) like they were prepared by a certified mixologist.
Black Pineapple's range of cocktail kits make a beautiful and luxurious gift for a special someone who deserves to be treated this weekend. Perhaps consider the delicious Espresso Martini Kit, a beautiful balance of premium local vodka, cold brew coffee and Italian coffee liqueur, or for a more Eastery-themed offering, the Blood Orange and Cacao Negronis could be their bag - a classic cocktail featuring a chocolatey-orange twist.
Although they have officially sold out nationwide as of Wednesday, Black Pineapple's Hot Cross Bunny Cocktail Kit is still worth a mention, purely because of how delicious they are. The ultra-indulgent, limited edition cocktails combine dry gin, lemon oil, white cacao and homemade hot cross bun syrup, topped with a chocolate rabbit. Although you may have missed out this year as a fellow procrastinator, the kits will be available once again come 2023.
Cookie Smash Choc Cross Buns, $8
If you're looking for a last-minute treat that doesn't break the bank, you can't go wrong with a classic. Hot cross buns are almost always a good bet - but we can do better than a stock-standard six-pack. Countdown and Cookie Time teamed up last month to put a unique twist on the traditional Easter treat, creating their limited-edition Cookie Smash Choc Cross Buns. The little pillows of soft dough are laden with chocolate chunks and peppered with cookie crumbles, complete with a cocoa cross and mini chocolate chip cookie nestled on top.
The hot cross buns are a great option if you need to bring something along to an Easter Sunday gathering, or make a tasty treat for your chocolate-loving chum. They'd also make a lovely offering at the office or for your overworked colleague if they're taking some well-deserved time off this weekend. If it's worth anything, they were also awarded my boyfriend's stamp of approval.
Allpress x Bennetts Chocolates Coffee-Spiked Chocolate Easter Eggs, $18
For your favourite coffee drinker, you can rarely go wrong with coffee-spiked chocolate. It combines two of life's simple pleasures - delicious, creamy chocolate with a rich, bitter hint of the beloved brew. The coffee connoisseurs at Allpress have once again teamed up with the chocolatiers at Bennetts to re-release their limited edition Easter eggs.
Both widely regarded as local legends, Bennetts have been hand-crafting their premium chocolates in Mangawhai since 1998, while coffee kingpin Michael Allpress launched his eponymous brand in 1986. The collaboration pairs the flavour of fresh, roasted Allpress coffee with Bennetts' decadent, hand-poured chocolate.
There are two flavours to choose from: Flat White, a velvety milk chocolate with hints of Allpress Espresso, and Double Espresso, an indulgent dark chocolate spiked with Allpress Espresso for a rich, bittersweet finish. Each box contains three of each flavour, packaged in a fully recyclable cardboard egg carton. They are shoppable at Farro Fresh and Allpress stores.
Wellington Chocolate Factory x Duck Island Ambrosia Milk Chocolate Easter Bar, $12.50
The classic Kiwi dessert Ambrosia - a delightfully sweet and creamy concoction teaming yoghurt, berries and marshmallows - has made the leap from sought-after ice cream to chocolate bar. Wellington Chocolate Factory has now reimagined the beloved, best-selling Duck Island flavour into a limited edition, decadent Easter treat.
To put their own signature spin on the classic, Wellington Chocolate Factory's artisan chocolate-makers took dark Vanuatu chocolate with its notes of blackberry and burnt sugar, similar in taste to crème brûlée, and added echoes of Ambrosia with hints of cherry and yoghurt throughout, as well as a chewy topping of vanilla and raspberry flavoured marshmallows. The bar is available for sale at Wellington Chocolate Factory and at Duck Island.
De'Longhi x Giapo Easter Treat Box, $60
For a tasty treat that's sure to be a hit with the whole family, De'Longhi - one of New Zealand's leading brands in bean-to-cup coffee machines - has partnered with artisan Auckland ice cream parlour Giapo to offer a limited edition Easter Treat Box (it's worth noting here that De'Longhi is in fact Italian, and not New Zealand-owned).
The box, which is entirely gluten free, features delicious, handmade items including Giapo's take on the quintessential hot cross bun, milk and dark chocolate Easter eggs, a carrot cake ice cream, and a bespoke recipe for a decadent cinnamon-s'more coffee.
The box of Easter-inspired delicacies marks the fourth collaboration between the brands, establishing a solid partnership based on their shared love of crafting contemporary takes on traditional favourites. The Easter Treat Box is available in-store and by pre-order from the Giapo app until April 17.