Since I was a wee one, hot cross buns have come a long way. Gone are the days where you had one type of HCB to choose from - the standard buns made with white flour, raisins or sultanas with cinnamon that you get from the supermarket or local bakery.
These days, HCB have turned into almost an art form - where bakers are keen to create the ultimate/definitive HCB or their version of this traditional Easter treat. It's a testament to how seriously we take this humble treat as there are foodie guides as to where to get the best HCBs across town - ones with raisins or none, with candied peel or none, with cinnamon and spices or none, chocolate ones, ones with the cross on top or none, ones that are breadier or those that are light as a feather... the variations are almost endless.
I was super excited when Cafe Vue contacted the Eat And Be Merry Crew to try out their HCBs. For as long as I've been a foodie, I've known about their wonderful food, and I knew that they would do something different with the HCBs.
Last week, I traversed to Collins Street to collect my lovely box of HCBs. Six were in the box - three chocolate ones and three made from spelt and cranberry. Needless to say, I had no difficulties finding volunteers at work to help me try out these beauties.
Of the two types, both were my favourite! However, they're my favourite for different reasons. I loved the chocolate ones just as they are. Mr P and I liked the dark chocolate that was used in the buns - the chocolately flavour was deep and mellow but wasn't that sickly sweetness. I particularly loved the little nuggets of softly molten chocolate that was evenly dotted out throughout the bun. There's a lovely warmth and aroma coming from the citrus and ginger puree that's mixed into the bun... heavenly!
I loved the spelt and cranberry buns when I toasted them and had them with butter. These tasted more like your traditional HCBs. I'm not a fan of raisins, so I was glad that there weren't too many of them. I loved the inclusion of the fat, juicy cranberries in it to give it a slightly tart burst of flavour. The spelt flour gave a nice coarser texture to the bun - I reckon this would be a favourite for those who a bit more health conscious, as they're not too sweet. These buns tasted more fruity than the chocolate ones.
The texture for both buns are definitely heavier than your mass produced HCBs. The guys agreed that it almost verged on being a muffin. While they are heavier, the buns are not dry and are fairly moist, and have a pleasing slight chewiness to them.
Although the size is about the same as your typical HCB, these ones are quite substantial buns. I'd say they're equivalent to two typical buns.
The buns are available from Cafe Vue's online shop. They're $3.50 each or $18 for six. Click here for the chocolate buns and here for the spelt and cranberry buns. Coeliacs, don't despair, they even have gluten-free buns. You can also get them in store at the cafes.