Melbourne's best hot cross buns
Woodfrog Bakery specialises in uncompromised, naturally leavened, hand-shaped, sourdough breads, but it's the generosity of currants and sultanas, high tones of unintrusive citrus and soft interior that pushes this finely glazed bun to our number one spot. Another plus is you won't need to order ahead to avoid disappointment as their production is plentiful across all branches.
These buns are of the sourdough nature, so expect a dense and complex bun. The Australian fruit is organic, the lemon and orange peel is candied in-house and a dark malt syrup adds lustre to the glaze. It’s only a few steps from Dench Bakers, putting Fitzroy North high on the bun-lover’s radar.
You must order ahead for these hot cross buns, as they usually disappear well before midday. These popular buns are on the softer side, studded with juicy raisins, sultanas and currants. The zesty spice mix is warmed up with cinnamon and clove, which is a little more Christmas than Easter, but nevertheless delicious.
Brioche is the base of these hot cross beauties, so if you're a fan of a softer, richer bun spiked with warm spices, these are right up your alley. These may not be chock full of fruit, but the sultanas present are plump and juicy and don't distract from the bun itself. This is certainly an unconventional front-runner worth lining up for.
Orange and ginger purée flavour these sourdough buns, which are spiked with juicy currants. Rather than cooking up a new recipe each year, chef Dan's traditional Italian formula plays on repeat. Fair warning, though, these buns are on the hefty side, so if you're more used to a traditional treat, these benefit from a light toast.
Dense, chewy, flavoured headily with pureéd whole oranges and Australian vine fruits and spiced with a secret blend that includes – drum roll, please – coriander: Dench's hot cross buns are rightly famous and are best eaten the day of purchase.
This French boulangerie isn't too French to get in on the hot cross bun action for Easter. Tradition doesn't play a part in these buns, as they include a mix of mini dark chocolate chips and currants, which edge them closer to the confection side. A thick glaze kicks the sugar levels up, which means this bun benefits from a thick slab of butter. Not a bad thing, really.
Melbourne's best *not* cross buns
If croissants are the benchmark of a good patisserie, Agathé Kerr’s are among those that set the bar. In a most unconventional move, she's doctored up her recipe by spicing up the dry ingredients and incorporating raisins for a hot "croiss" bun. Get in early at the market for these, because they're flying out the door.
If you're a chocolate fiend, we'd recommend you grab a sixer of these super moist, triple-choc, sweetly spiced buns that are packed with sour cherries, orange peel, raisins and Madagascan chocolate chunks that melt into a decadent goo when eaten warm. Toast carefully, as these will definitely set off the smoke alarm. No butter required.
Melbourne's best patisseries
It's amazing that pastry, at its simplest, is just flour, lots of butter, sugar, and maybe an egg or two. Yet Melbourne's best bakeries and patisseries have made a craft out of baking croissants and bundt cakes. Here are the best of the bunch.