Taste Tests

Quirky hot cross buns: do they really live up to the hype?

By Beatrice O'Dwyer


4 Minute Read


Monday, 16th March 2020

We all know the story behind the humble Hot Cross Bun, right? Baked with spices and juicy currants, these delicious, dough-tastic treats were originally created by 12th century Monks who wished to honour Good Friday/ the end of Lent🙌... fast forward a further 9 centuries and through the doors of UK supermarkets, and it’s clear to see that the nostalgic tradition of hot cross buns remains… well, at least at a first glance! 👀👀

Whilst the majority of UK supermarkets still offer traditional tasting hot cross buns, many are now beginning to introduce a range of weird and wonderful hot cross bun flavours to the mix in order to create a point of difference… but do any of these alternative hot cross buns REALLY live up to their glamorised hype? 🤔 I guess there’s only one way to find out…. Taste test time! 🍽️😋

Kicking the taste test off on a citrusey note, we began by tucking into Waitrose’s ‘St Clements’ variety 🍊 (£1.69 for a pack of 6). Despite its orange flavour undertones, this hot cross bun actually tasted fairly similar to a traditional hot cross bun due to the generous studding of currants and spiced flavouring – a pleasant surprise for the majority of the team indeed! Plus, the texture of this bun was top-notch too which added to our satisfaction 😋…

Moving on to the second hot cross bun– Waitrose’s ‘Bramley Apple & Cinnamon’ variety (£1.69 for a pack of 6)–unfortunately left the majority of team Rawlingson Lane with a fairly bland taste in their mouths, not to mention that you’d be lucky to get a decent mouthful of apple and dried fruit in each bite due to uneven distribution👎…

By contrast, our third hot cross bun variety – Co-Op’s ‘Apple and Cinnamon’ (£1.35 for a pack of 6) – made a great impression on a couple members of the team due to the sharper apple and cinnamon taste🍏. For some of the team though, the fruitiness failed to come through, which after close inspection (and another cheeky bite or two😉) we discovered was once again due to uneven fruit distribution …

Aldi’s ‘Sticky Toffee’ variety (£1.09 for a pack of 6) was the next on the list which left the majority of the team underwhelmed due to its stodgy, dense texture and fairly subtle toffee flavour… we’ll give it to Aldi though, they were right when they described this bun as sticky!😝…

Quickly moving on, we then tucked into Aldi’s ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ variety (£1.09 for a pack of 6) which certainly championed nostalgic flavours! The custard flavour was particularly prominent which pleased the non-rhubarb loving members of the team 😅…

Co-op’s ‘Brioche and Belgian Chocolate’ variety (£1.35 for a pack of 6) were next on the list, and we are delighted to say that these buns certainly hit the spot with our self-confessed chocoholic team members🍫 Luxurious by taste and texture, these brioche buns were extremely moreish… a few members of the team did question if you could really class these as hot cross buns though given that they contained NO fruit or spices at all...

We then went onto finishing the taste test by chomping on Waitrose's ‘Chocolate and Cherry’ variety (£1.69 for a pack of 6). The cherry flavour tasted very artificial and unfortunately overwhelmed any chocolate taste... but hey, if you are cherry lover, then this hot cross bun could be for you 🍒

…So, after sampling 7 alternative hot-cross buns, what’s the final verdict? Do quirky hot cross buns: do they REALLY live up to the hype?...

Well our top-scoring buns (Waitrose St Clements & Co-Op Brioche and Belgian Chocolate) tell a story of two tales really 🏆… Our first winning bun (Waitrose St Clements)was fairly traditional in taste, yet with a subtle twist, whilst our second bun(Co-Op Brioche and Belgian Chocolate) hardly resembled a hot cross bun at all….But perhaps that’s the key to hot cross bun perfection…. You either have to virtually forget about traditional flavours in order to score high, or play it safe and make sure your traditional offering is truly sensational!

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