Easter Thursday – The Hot Cross Bun Survey

by The Editor

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The Canberran’s Twitter feed is a curious beast. Increasingly it becomes a multi faceted conversation on all manner of subjects regarding our town and it’s culture. Recently though, we were confronted with one of the big issues – where in Canberra are the best Hot Cross Buns. The question came from avid reader Amy Woods, and we felt it well within our powers to call in our followers to assist with her request. We threw the question out to the Twitterverse, and various suggestions came from @Swamp_Ophelia, @Miffyg, @beneb, @clairek_g, @msbhavur, @thecanberralife, @afl4act.  Armed with that info, our correspondent went off to investigate.

So, let’s hand over to Amy:

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you hot cross buns, and that’s kinda the same thing”, says the sign outside 210 Degrees Patisserie, otherwise known as Hughes Bakery. Truer words were never spoken (or indeed around this time of year!).

I embarked on the mission to find the best hot cross buns in Canberra after moving back here from interstate. After enlisting the help of family, friends and random acquaintances, I turned to social media, and the Twitterverse who follow @TheCanberran – surely a cultured reader out there knew of a bakery flying under the radar somewhere with the goods?

Armed with suggestions, I embarked on an extensive product test, recruiting my father (aficionado of all things dried-fruit) and good friend Myf (avid cyclist, so could exercise them away) to assist – such was a task that could not be achieved alone.

Asked what I was looking for, I set my terms: fluffy like a soft roll (not too ‘cakey’), an even amount of spice, a good ratio of fruit to bun, and minimal peel. And so the tasting began.

I can’t honestly remember all of the details of each particular offering, but I did write them down in the ‘Notes’ section of my phone with a tick or a cross. As follows, the majority filled my broad criteria, and I had a delicious selection of tastings but only a few really stood out.

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  • Bruno’s Mawson (1 star). They only appeared to make them on certain days (or perhaps had already run out?) as when I first tried to buy one the kind lady said ‘We will make them tomorrow’… Oh, well.
  • Then it was off to Woolworths Mawson (1 star) for the chocolate ones in the bakery cabinet to fill the void, ultimately making the trip worthwhile (well, who doesn’t love Cadbury Dairy Milk in a bread roll?)
  • Café D’Lish at Deakin Shops (1 star) Hughes Bakery (2 stars) and only $1 each or 6 for $4 if you get them close to closing!)
  • I tried Knead Patisserie at Belconnen Markets twice – both times ‘sold out’. This is a a good sign, however coming from the Southside it was a grave effort which went unrewarded. (no stars) for them!farmers-daughter-logo
  • Farmer’s Daughter in Yarralumla’s buns were tasty, although a little dense, but the macarons were (three stars) – a forgivable distraction after reading from this week’s Food and Wine they are from Lu’mon. Well worth the $3.50 each and the next best thing to any Hot Cross Bun!
  • Danny’s Bakery in Narrabundah (of the sourdough fame) was the perfect post-ride pick-up. I went from Manuka to Narrabundah to back home just to buy one bun. And the result was (three stars) – a huge sourdough-like bun with the sweet smell of spice as soon it was cut open and finished with a dusting of icing sugar.
  • Lonsdale Street Roasters (two stars) – coffee and a bun for $5? Done.
  • Last but not least: Cornucopia in Braddon (three stars) – glazed, fruity, fluffy goodness. But at $13.50 for 6, they don’t come cheap.

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So my votes went to Cornucopia as the Centenary of Canberra Hot Cross Champion with Danny’s a close second. This weekend I’ll be toasting them with a bit of Lurpak butter for breakfast, and enjoying the fruits of my labour. Well played, Canberra, the great debate has been solved – at least for this year.

Fantastic work, Amy. Your scientific vigour deserves the respect and admiration of our epicurean and hedonistic readership.

Happy Easter!

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