The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #16: the best chocolate hot cross bun in the country

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today: Madeleine Chapman reveals where to find the best chocolate hot cross bun in New Zealand.

Karori is pretty bad. I lived there from birth until I went off to university and I loved every moment of it, but it’s a fundamentally unimpressive suburb. For the largest suburb in the southern hemisphere, it somehow doesn’t have anything worth going out of your way to see.

Except for the chocolate hot cross buns at Brumby’s.

The Brumby’s bakery in Karori, Wellington, makes the best chocolate hot cross buns in New Zealand. Write it down, take a picture, make it the new flag, it’s true.

I thought it was normal to have the greatest buns available a mere four minute walk down the street. I thought everyone enjoyed a gooey chocolate bread bun after church every Sunday at Easter time. Little did I know I was living a #blessed life.

Karori isn’t the only suburb with a Brumby’s bakery and yet they are the only Brumby’s with the good chocolate buns. I found this out the hard way after making a marathon journey out to the Brumby’s in Henderson, getting excited at the sight of them, buying four packs, and then realising after I’d already eaten three that they weren’t the same. My investigation into the different recipes across Brumby’s franchises is ongoing.

Realising Henderson Brumby’s uses a different recipe from Karori Brumby’s

Someone told me that Brumby’s use the same recipe as Bakers Delight and they’re probably right. But only for the (bad) Auckland stores. The Bakers Delight recipe is basically a standard hot cross bun with a few chocolate chips thrown in. The word to describe such a collaboration would be ‘uninspired’.

The same goes for Countdown’s version, with better chocolate chips (Hersheys) and a worse bun (it’s Countdown).

But Brumby’s Karori is in a league of its own. There are no spices and no raisins, just all chocolate. Some people say it’s too much chocolate. I say some people are idiots.

It hardly even qualifies as a hot cross bun besides the fact it’s only available in the weeks leading up to Jesus’ death. It’s basically a large pile of melted chocolate (have to eat them hot) with a bit of bread around it. A chocolate croissant with way more chocolate and none of the stress of deciding whether or not to botch the pronunciation of ‘pain au chocolat’.

Whatever it is it’s a crime, nay, a sin, to keep such glory confined to the southwestern corner of the North Island (and maybe Johnsonville, there’s a Brumby’s there that I’ve yet to visit).

So if you’re lucky enough to be in Wellington between now and Easter weekend, do something you never thought you’d do: voluntarily drive in the opposite direction to everything and pick up a pack of chocolate hot cross buns from the Brumby’s bakery in Karori.

Then before you bite into it, say a little prayer of thanks to whichever god or element you believe in because you’re about to ascend to a holier dimension. / Madeleine Chapman

Verdict: The only reason to visit Karori and the only reason you need.

Good or bad: More good than Good Friday.

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