Consumer NZ did the hard work of blind taste-testing 11 classic and non-traditional hot cross buns from across New Zealand’s main supermarket chains.
Sharing the title of the best classic hot cross bun, FreshChoice hot cross buns (half a dozen for $4.99) and Countdown traditional hot cross buns (half a dozen for $3.50) were the clear crowd-pleasers. The panel loved these two equally.
The winning hot cross buns were described as traditional with a soft texture perfectly balanced with spice and fruit, that was warmed then slathered with butter.
“Dark and enticing. Good spice and got a nice chew going on. A whisky of a hot cross bun,” said taste tester Hamish, describing the FreshChoice hot cross buns.
“Tasty! Gentle spice, good texture. It tastes of Easter,” said taster tester Caitlin on the winning Countdown buns.
“Price isn’t really an indicator of a good hot cross bun. The Countdown one that took out top spot was the cheapest we tried. Other buns at similar price points were a mixed bag,” said Consumer NZ test content team leader James le Page.
Taste testers were scathing about some of the non-traditional offerings, calling them “imposter” hot cross buns. Countdown’s Cookie Time smash choc cross buns (half a dozen for $8), was the only raisin-free option that scored well.
New World’s gooey peanut butter choc cross buns (half a dozen for $5.99) didn’t fare well with the panel, with what they described as an unusual flavour and texture combination.
Countdown’s other two non-traditional offerings, white chocolate and raspberry hot cross buns and chocolate orange hot cross buns (both half a dozen for $5.50) were both panned by the taste-testers, who were also upset with chocolate being added to hot cross buns.
Several years ago, brioche buns were introduced as an upgraded dough to hot cross buns, but the three options from Pak’nSave, New World and Countdown also didn’t rate highly with the testers. They were described as underwhelming, bland and lacking spice, with a panellist stating that it “doesn’t even taste like a hot cross bun”.
“The panel has spoken,” said le Page. “Traditional is the way to go. Without spice, it doesn't taste of Easter. Our advice: Get rid of all the imposters!”
Read more about our hot cross bun taste-test here.