Every year my quest for Melbourne’s best hot cross buns starts the day after Shrove Tuesday. I don’t give anything up for Lent – instead I start eating a lot of fruit and spice bread products.
Rather than write a long-winded post about all the good, bad and ugly hot cross buns I’ve eaten (it’s been done before here, here and here), I’ll lead you straight to my #1 pick. And the Oscar goes to….Baker D Chirico.
For me their buns have the right combination of lots of juicy moist fruit, a lightly spiced sourdough base and not too much sticky glaze on top. They’re not gluey or stodgy and are just as good eaten fresh (my preference) or toasted. They are on the expensive side being $3.20 each (or 6 for $18) but I think worth the extra couple of cents for the quality of the product.
Of course Baker D Chirico aren’t just notable for their hot cross buns. Every visit to St Kilda involved a buying frenzy at their tiny store and I raved about their products, packaging and service before in their city pop up store a few years ago.
In 2011 a second shop finally opened northside in Carlton and I’m a semi-regular customer. It’s a beautiful place. The back wall displays snug loaves of bread among the ebbs and flows of curved plywood that creep up to the ceiling, creating an interior like a modern concert hall. The front counter echoes the linear design and groans with tiers of baked goodies to tempt the most ardent Atkins dieter.
The staff are warm and welcoming, helping with prams and doors and parcels.
I recommend buying their pastries, glazed fruit buns and particularly the genius combination of pistachio and chocolate in a flaky croissant.
And of course the sourdough bread shouldn’t be missed. Crusty, hand-shaped, not too sour.
I make special trips at Easter for their hot cross buns and at Christmas for their best-in-show mince pies and preservative free, buttery and studded with fruit panettone (which I’ve transported as hand luggage interstate before, cos you know, you just can’t buy the same amazingness in Queensland!).
Baker D Chirico, 178 Faraday St, Carlton +61 3 93493445
Tue to Sat 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sun 8:00am – 5:00 pm