Afternoon Edition: Cost of cocoa brings Easter Bunny blues

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

If you’re celebrating Easter this year and planning to stock up on some chocolate goodies, you can expect to shell out more cash than in previous years — thanks to rising cocoa prices.

In today’s newsletter, we’ll look into the reason for the global rise in cocoa costs and its local impact.

Plus, we’ve got another update on the Cook County state’s attorney race, a story on how Bad Bunny fans are dressing for his Chicago concerts and a list of five things to do this weekend and more.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Rising cocoa prices have Chicago chocolate sellers feeling the pinch

Reporting by Amy Yee

The cost of cocoa: Chocolate makers and food businesses big and small are feeling the impact of soaring global prices for cocoa — the main ingredient in chocolate — and it’s also hitting consumers.

Easter bunny blues: Ahead of Easter on Sunday, prices for chocolate treats at Katherine Anne Confections in Irving Park have gone up. One truffle now costs $3.25 compared to $2.75 in 2019. A box of eight eggs or bunnies, new this year, sells for $32, about 20% more than what prices would have been in 2023, said owner Katherine Anne Duncan.

Industry impact: Blommer Chocolate Co. last week dropped a bombshell when it announced the closure of its iconic factory, citing high costs of running the original 1939 chocolate factory. But its parent company, Fuji Oil Holdings, also cited “skyrocketing cocoa prices” for the candymaker’s “extraordinary losses” in fiscal year 2023.

Global chocolate prices to rise: Cocoa futures have surged this year, roughly doubling since the start of 2024. Rising temperatures and weather conditions have stressed and damaged cocoa crops in West Africa, which produces more than 70% of the global cocoa supply. Sugar prices are also rising. Futures for a pound of sugar are up about 8% in 2024, after rising 2.7% in 2023.




🎭 “Force! an opera in three acts”
Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
📍Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.
This performance from Anna Martine Whitehead features a live band mixing gospel, folk, pop and jazz with experimental dance, song and spoken word. 
Admission: $30+

🚲 Community Peace Ride
Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
📍Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, 2850 W. 24th Blvd.
Hop on your bike for a 6-mile ride, meet some new friends, enjoy some good food and build community. 
Admission: Free

🥚 Spring Egg-Stravaganza
Saturday, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
📍Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.
Celebrate spring at the zoo with this family-friendly event, featuring multiple egg hunt zones for kids up to 12 years old, photos with the Easter Bunny, music, carousel rides, games, learning opportunities and more. 
Admission: $25

🇲🇽 An Evening of Mariachi
Saturday, 7 p.m.
📍 National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.
Paired with the opening of the new exhibit, “Mariachi Potosino — The Sound of Home,” this event will honor women in Mariachi music and feature music from Chicago’s own Mariachi Sirenas.
Admission: $35

🎶 Amirtha Kidambi’s Elder Ones with Angel Bat Dawid
Sunday, March 31
📍Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.
This ensemble is set to explore the boundaries of free jazz and definitions of avant-garde. Their new album, “New Monuments” serves as the jump-off point for sonic exploration. They’ll be joined by prolific composer and clarinetist Angel Bat Dawid.
Admission: $15


Bad Bunny inspires fans’ fashions as his Most Wanted tour arrives in Chicago

Reporting by Cindy Hernandez

Sandra Walker, 27, and Dane Blackwell, 31, said they tried to mesh western wear with Bad Bunny’s origins in trap music.

“We were inspired by his whole cowboy vibes, but he’s also a trap artist, so I was trying to go for trap meets western,” Walker said. “I love everything about him. His music, his style, the way he writes his songs, he’s so real.”

Brothers Oliver Pantoja, 23, and Isaac Pantoja, 19, said they threw their outfits together after getting tickets to the show at the last minute. Both wore sunglasses — the singer is well-known for sporting many styles — and Isaac donned a cowboy hat.

“He represents a lot of underrepresented groups, and it’s cool that he welcomes a lot of them,” Oliver said. “Whether you’re a person of color, gay, straight, trans. His music falls under this huge umbrella that it’s for anyone. I’m looking forward to the whole thing. We’re just really excited.”

For 19-year-old Sandy Yanez, Thursday’s show was her first concert ever. She wore a cowboy hat with jeweled hearts dangling from the brim.

Mother-daughter duo Teresa Mata, 57, and Carolina Mata, 24, have made seeing Bad Bunny live a tradition: Thursday’s show was Teresa’s third Bad Bunny concert, while Carolina has been to five.

“You’re never too old for Bad Bunny. I love everything about him,” Teresa said.



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Editor: Satchel Price
Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore
Copy editor: Angie Myers

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