You can buy hot cross buns any time from Boxing Day but it definitely feels better to eat them as Easter approaches. And they'll always taste better if you buy them from independent bakers.
Mork Chocolate Brew House
The chocolate specialists sold 600 buns a day last year and they reckon their 2021 sticky bun recipe – modelled on a Swedish cinnamon scroll – is even better. It's orange-scented and big on nutmeg, coriander and cloves, as well as classic cinnamon.
Price: $32 for six. Pre-order at morkchocolate.com.au.
150 Errol Street, North Melbourne, 03 9328 1386
You can count on the sourdough kings of Caulfield to keep it classy, and their Easter bun delivers the goods. Laced with sour cherry and dark chocolate and baked nice and dark, you can queue up, order ahead, or make them yourself via a Providoor kit and video cooking class with Baker Bleu's Mike Russell.
119-121 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North, 03 9532 4786
These buns are carefully calibrated to strike a balance between pull-apart dough, chewy citrus peel and sweet pops of dried fruit. A sticky orange glaze seals the deal. "We pack loads of spice in, they're super fruity, tasty, fluffy and moist," says baker Matt Forbes.
Price: $22 for six. Pre-order: cobblane.shop.
1-3 Taylor Street, Yarraville, 03 9939 5579
Christy Tania's Glace crew has done all the tricky bits so you can be a hot cross bun hero at home. Order an ingredient kit for pick up or delivery (choose between traditional or chocolate), watch an instructional video and get ready for your kitchen to be filled with fragrant wafts of spice.
Price: $25 for 12.
48 Punt Road, Windsor, or Emporium Melbourne, level 1, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 03 9533 8455, glacedessert.com.
It makes a lot of sense to pipe Sicilian citrus-studded ricotta into hot cross buns: the flavours meld and the fluffiness factor is exponential. Cannoleria will do it for you or you can order a DIY bun-filling kit for delivery.
Price: $6 each or $23 for the kit, available from March 26.
Pick-up locations: cannoleriabythatsamore.com.au/locations.
Black Star Pastry
Sydney's strawberry-watermelon cake kings have been marinating orange peel all year in preparation for their hot cross buns, now available in Melbourne for the first time at Black Star's St Kilda outpost. All hail the fragrant frankincense glaze.
Price: $4.50 each or six for $25.
113 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery. Also available at Sydney CBD, Moore Park and Newtown stores.
Gelato wizards at Messina have created an Easter snack pack of epic proportions. Part one is a hot cross snail featuring dough enriched with choc chips, vanilla custard and cinnamon malt caramel.
It's made to be finished in the home oven and topped with part two: a one-litre triple-choc gelato tub starring Ecuadorian cocoa and toasted white chocolate mousse. Cue the couch and streaming service of your choice.
Price: Serves six for $65. Pre-order at gelatomessina.com for pick-up April 1-4.