Shopping around: Hot Cross Buns
As stated in last week's column, I'm happy to take part in religious festivals and ceremonies as long as I get to enjoy the copious eating that goes hand in hand with such feast days.
But like Christmas cakes and barmbrack, the rich medieval fruit flavours of hot cross buns can be a little love-hate. I do remember not liking their flavour as a child. They were so perfectly representative of the Lenten fast with their paltry effort at sweetness, no replacement at all for the coming joy of Easter eggs.
Then there was the guilty feeling they evoked. While you were breaking your fast with sweet buns, the cross on top of the bun (from which they take their name) served to remind you of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. It was a complex, bitter-sweet feeling.
I now love any sort of fruit bread, brack or tea cake, so hot cross buns are right up there with some of my favourite seasonal cakes.
Delicious cold, heated up or toasted like a crumpet, all you need to enjoy these cakes is to add butter (and try not to feel too guilty).
MARKS AND SPENCER: 4 LUXURY HOT CROSS BUNS
Verdict: Good value for money and a great buttery taste. These have a very traditional flavour with lots of evocative rich spices and dark fruits that brought me right back to my childhood.
Per 100g, you will get 270 calories, 6.5g protein, 25.2g sugar and 3.1g of fat.
TESCO: HOT CROSS BUNS 6 PACK
€2 (NORMALLY €2.95)
Verdict: These are fabulously fresh straight from the in-store bakery. They have a lighter, more contemporary bake but still have that strong unmistakable cinnamon flavour essential for a proper hot cross bun.
No nutritional information available.
ALDI: 4 HOT CROSS BUNS
Verdict: Brilliant value for money as always, coming in at under 20c per bun, and while they are nice, they are not quite as tasty as the other offerings.
Per 100g you get 269 calories, 8.3g of protein, 20.4g of sugar and 2.9g of fat.