It only seems like yesterday we were celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now we've moved on, it's his resurrection on our minds, driven by the quick appearance of hot cross buns on our supermarkets shelves. One hundred and eleven days before Easter Sunday.
Is there anything more divisive than the appearance of hot cross buns in December? One on hand there are those who believe the move is a travesty. Horrified that mince pies no longer have a place on the morning tea menu.
On the other hand, a hand whose fingers are sticky with glaze and a little greasy from an over abundance of butter (is there such a thing?), there are those of us who wish the delicious buns would be available all year round. Which they pretty much are these days.
Coles sold 2 million hot cross buns in December 2020, proving there is a demand for their early release.
And they're shaking things up this year with the release of a cheese and Vegemite hot cross bun in collaboration with Bega Cheese and Vegemite.
Bega Cheese Limited executive general manager Adam McNamara said combining the iconic Aussie spread and one of Australia's favourite bakery treats made perfect sense.
"Vegemite is one of those things that makes Australia wonderful. We couldn't think of a better way to bring together two of Australia's favourites - Vegemite and hot cross buns. We think that Vegemite fans will be delighted with this new combination," said Adam.
Coles general manager of bakery, deli and seafood Andy Mossop said customers had responded positively to Coles' previous twists on traditional products, and he expected Vegemite hot cross buns would be no different.
"We know how much our customers love hot cross buns at Easter, and we know how much they love Vegemite, so we decided to merge these two icons to create a delicious, savoury spin on hot cross buns that champions iconic Aussie flavours," he said.
"It's important to us at Coles to have some fun with flavours, and we always want to give customers something they've never had before, but ultimately it has to taste great."
In previous years Coles have released flavours such as lamington, raspberry and white chocolate; salted caramel; and sticky date and butterscotch flavours.
The cheese and vegemite ones are available in stores now at $3.50 for a pack of four. The classic range is also available in traditional and chocolate flavours a pack of six.
A spokesperson from Woolworths said their team has been busy concocting new flavours for 2022 as well.
"Our team has been baking up some exciting new flavours as part of our hot cross buns range this year and we're looking forward to delivering customers indulgent and innovative treats to help close off 2021," the spokeperson said.
"We encourage customers to keep an eye for an Australian-first exclusive announcement over the coming days."
If we have to try more buns, we will.
But how do they taste?
The Canberra Times taste testing team braved the stores and grabbed a pack of Vegemite buns which were selling like the proverbial hot cakes.
On initial poking they seemed a little more dense than a regular bun, infused as they are with all that parmesan cheese.
While we were expecting them to be more like a cheese and Vegemite scroll, available at bakeries around town as well as the supermarkets, they were surprisingly bun like, with a lighter dough than expected.
Amother debate revolves around how much Vegemite is appropriate to spread on your toast, it's strong umami flavour can be overpowering. But that's not a problem with these buns, there's a kick, but it's not strong. They have the percentages of spread, cheese and dough worked out.
While perhaps not my cup of tea to have with a cup of tea, give me cinnamon and nutmeg any day, these buns would go down well in a working man's lunch box. Hearty and fulfilling.
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