Friday 25 March 2016

Hot Cross Bun & the Australian controversy

A home-made attempt of hot cross bun

There is rarely any baking item in this world being subject to as much controversy as the hot cross bun.

This moist, fluffy, raisin studded delight bursting with sweet aroma of mixed spices is so divinely delicious, it is not difficult to comprehend why the Australian retail giants such as Coles and Woolworths started stocking up their shelves with the buns as early as New Year in January, several months before the advent of Good Friday.

Such commercially driven decision was frowned upon by some as a retail tactic that waters down the true meaning of the hot cross bun. Yet the immense consumer appetite leaves the major supermarket chains with no choice but to continue to relent to the public demand.

Certain Australian bakers and supermarkets avoided the contention by stripping the religious connotation of the bun. Different variations of “Not Cross Buns” were launched, including buns adorned with smiley faces instead of the traditional crosses. Creative versions are invented; chocolate chips and fragrant coffee powder are added into the mixture of juicy currants, raisins, sultanas and fresh spices, producing alternative choices for the lucky Melbournians.

Those esteemed bakers that joined in the “Not Cross Buns” movement include the Melbourne 5th generation family owned business Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses. In fact, a group of bakers in Melbourne held a protest last December in front of the State Library of Victoria, urging Coles and Woolworths to stop selling hot cross buns until 6 weeks prior to Easter.

Worldwide, this incredibly delicious spiced sweet bun continues to be the topic of heated debates. Its origin is still ambiguous. The hot cross bun is generally believed to be of Christian symbolism: the bread signifies the communion, spices represents those used in Jesus’s entombment, and the cross is a reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus. But some argue that the buns existed way before the birth of Christ, and can be traced back to the pagans’ practice of serving tiny cakes adorned with crosses at the time of spring festival.

Regardless of your belief and what the bun actually means to you, let’s just grab a dozens of those scrumptious buns and served them with a good cup of Melbourne coffee.

Have a blessed Good Friday. 

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