Taste & Tell

Buy the best: we rate supermarkets' hot cross buns

From classic to chocolate, there are so many different flavours of hot cross buns to choose from these days. Here's which ones came tops in our Easter taste test

14 April 2019 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday and it's a South African tradition is to enjoy them with pickled fish.
Hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday and it's a South African tradition is to enjoy them with pickled fish.
Image: 123RF/rubinowadama

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

The Taste & Tell series is a monthly feature where the same or similar supermarket items are put to a blind taste test by a panel. (This one was made up of members of the SA Cake Decorator’s Guild.)

We bought traditional and non-traditional hot cross buns from five big retailers and asked our tasters to score them according to various criteria such as taste, appearance (including the cross on each bun), aroma, and whether or not they'd buy the product. 

To ensure the tasting was fair, the products were stripped of their packaging and numbered under the watchful eye of food expert Jenny Kay before being served to the panel.

Auditor Mellicent Mashell oversaw the process and collated the scores.

It's important to remember that taste is subjective and what is good for one may not be good for another.

THE RESULTS

TRADITIONAL HOT CROSS BUNS

FIRST PLACE: WOOLWORTHS 

6 Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Price: R24.99 less R5.46 for two

What the judges said:

  • Helma: Does have nice fruit but would be nicer glazed.
  • Jackie: Good appearance, great taste.
  • Debbie: Good distribution of fruit.
From left: hot cross buns from Woolworths, Food Lovers' Market, Spar, Checkers and Pick n Pay.
From left: hot cross buns from Woolworths, Food Lovers' Market, Spar, Checkers and Pick n Pay.
Image: Christoph Hoffman

SECOND PLACE: FOOD LOVER'S MARKET

6 Hot Cross Buns Traditional

Price: R16.99 per pack or 2 packs for R30

What the judges said:

  • Franco: Nice glaze and cross, bun good colour.
  • Bernice: Nice glaze, good variety of fruit but not much spice flavour or aroma.
  • Pam: Good texture but lacks spice and fruit.

THIRD PLACE: SPAR

Freshline 6 Hot Cross Buns

Price: R21.99

What the judges said:

  • Ann: Not glazed, strong smell of cloves and could have more fruit.
  • Anastacia: Flavour bland and cross tough.
  • Franco: Even fruit distribution but no peel.

FOURTH PLACE: CHECKERS 

The Bakery Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Price: R14.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Deon: More fruit and spice needed.
  • Debbie: Appearance pale and underglazed.
  • Ann: Soft texture but appearance could be better by more glazing.

FIFTH PLACE: PICK N PAY 

6 Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Price: R17.99 per pack less 20% for two

What the judges said:

  • Sue: Pale appearance, very little fruit and spice.
  • Ann: No spices tasted and texture dense.
  • Franco: No glaze, not spicy although I can taste a little cinnamon. Very few raisins and no citrus peel.

NON-TRADITIONAL HOT CROSS BUNS

FIRST PLACE: FOOD LOVER'S MARKET

Hot Cross Buns, Chocolate

Price: R18.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Debbie: Very appealing, moist and balanced
  • Mbone: Eye-catching appearance, nice even glaze and tasty. Balanced distribution of chocolate.
  • Pam: Excellent glaze and palatable spicing.
From left: chocolate and/or caramel hot cross buns from Food Lover's Market, Spar, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
From left: chocolate and/or caramel hot cross buns from Food Lover's Market, Spar, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
Image: Christoph Hoffman

SECOND PLACE: SPAR

Freshline, Caramel & Chocolate Flavour Hot Cross Buns

Price: R21.99 - R24.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Bernice: I taste caramel and chocolate, but needs spice.
  • Helma: Tasty, well baked.
  • Sue: Appearance and texture good.

THIRD PLACE: PICK N PAY

6 Chocolate & Caramel Hot Cross Buns

Price: R22.99 for six, less 20% for 2 packs

What the judges said:

  • Jackie: Kids will love this.
  • Helma: Yum, soft caramel. Spicy and chocolaty.
  • Sue: Difficult to eat and not for everyone.

FOURTH PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

6 Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Price: R29.99 less R5.42 for 2 packs

What the judges said:

  • Mbone: Lovely colour but no glaze. Bun dry and dense.
  • Bernice: There's a good amount of chocolate in bun.
  • Sue: Appearance good. Can taste chocolate, but dry.

FIFTH PLACE: CHECKERS

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns with Frey chocolate chips

Price: R19.99 for six

What the judges said:

  • Debbie: Soft, one dimensional and doughy.
  • Jackie: For people who enjoy dark, bitter chcolate.
  • Sue: Bun soft and doughy.

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