Sunday Times Food Awards

Where to buy the best hot cross buns this Easter

Our taste testers have spoken: here's which supermarket bakes the most scrumptious hot cross buns

18 March 2018 - 00:01 By Hilary Biller
Hot cross buns are delicious toasted and served with lashings of butter.
Hot cross buns are delicious toasted and served with lashings of butter.
Image: 123RF/whiteboxmedia

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

Taste is a subjective thing, but when you gather a group of experts and ask them to blind-taste hot cross buns from four major supermarkets, you have a fair way of assessing quality.

For this taste test, the judges were Professor Gerrie du Rand of the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria and 30 of her final-year students.

Using the facilities at the department, the products were unwrapped, numbered and where required prepared exactly to package instructions. The students were asked to judge each product according to appearance, aroma, taste and texture, as well as to say whether they would consider buying it.

What is interesting is that there is always a clear winner in each category and the comments reflect similar sentiments.

From top to bottom: traditional hot cross buns from Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Checkers and SPAR.
From top to bottom: traditional hot cross buns from Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Checkers and SPAR.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

THE RESULTS

FIRST PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Traditional hot cross buns

Price: R21.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Robyn: I'm not a big fan of hot cross buns, but these have a fruity aroma with a good amount of fruit, which is tender and not hard.
  • Courtney: The buns look appealing with a nice brown colour. They have a fruity flavour and are not over-spiced; they're enjoyable on their own.
  • Michelle: Smells like bread, not over-spiced, gloss appealing.

SECOND PLACE: PICK N PAY 

Traditional hot cross buns

Price: R14.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Amogelang: Looks appealing, smells great but lacks flavour.
  • Taryn: Good, but flavour doesn't connect to smell.
  • Jessica: Nice glaze, good colour but no flavour and sterile aroma.
  • Kelsy: Good glaze, average smell and taste.

THIRD PLACE: CHECKERS 

Traditional hot cross buns

Price: R16.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Jessica: Very dry, I needed water to swallow. Very dark and unappealing.
  • Marcelle: Product is a bit dry and could be more spicy. Nice glaze.
  • Bronwyn: No flavour at all, smells spicy but there's no spice flavour - like brown bread. They look homemade.

FOURTH PLACE: SPAR 

Traditional hot cross buns

Price: R19.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Chere: Very dry, tastes like soap and smells like cloves.
  • Sofia: Smells savoury, like a boerie roll and tastes of anaesthetic.
  • Paige: Can't really see the cross on the top of bun. No glaze, little fruit and smells like ground coriander, a bit like boerewors.

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