It’s fair to say hot cross buns are the ultimate Easter snack. (We uncovered Melbourne’s best in a blind tasting with some of the city’s top chefs.) But, presumably, you can’t survive a four-day long weekend on HCBs alone.
If you’re venturing beyond the bun, here’s a list of our favourite Easter treats – and one fully fledged dessert.
Hey Tiger and Kitiya Palaskas’s Easter eggs, $15
Social enterprise and ethical chocolatier Hey Tiger is no stranger to collabs. And this Easter it’s teaming up with Melbourne-based craft designer Kitiya Palaskas on cute packaging you can upcycle with simple craft tips. Much of the range is already sold out, but you can still order caramel-popcorn eggs (with a tiny hit of sea salt) and vegan dark-chocolate eggs with crunchy almond rocher pieces.
Mork’s “not-so-sweet” Easter eggs, $35
Steer away from super sweet this Easter thanks to North Melbourne chocolatier Mork. It’s put together a beautiful carton of six eggs, each handmade with a mix of dark and caramelised chocolate. Flavours include carrot jam with pistachios and malted milk; hojicha with puffed rice and pear; smoked almond and gianduja; and desert-lime sherbet. Entirely vegan cartons are available, too.
Burch & Purchese’s red-velvet and pavlova trifle, $180
Easily the grandest option on this list, dessert master Darren Purchese’s trifle has layers of creamy vanilla panna cotta, raspberry jelly (and fresh raspberries), red-velvet sponge and cream-cheese frosting – topped with pavlova, whipped cream and Easter-appropriate decorations. It comes in a centrepiece-worthy glass pedestal bowl for you to keep, plus you can add on a bottle of rosé champagne.
Birdsnake’s Easter egg, $22
Melbourne’s vegan, bean-to-bar chocolate operation is keeping it simple but flavour-packed with this Easter egg. The outside is 60 per cent Ecuadorian chocolate, and on the inside you’ll find a decadent house-made choc-hazelnut filling. As with everything Birdsnake makes, all the ingredients are fully traceable and ethically sourced.
Kakadu Plum Co’s Easter treat box, $69.95
Another chocolate-making social enterprise, Kakadu Plum Co supports First Nations communities and sustainable-foraging practices through products made with native ingredients. Its loaded Easter treat box includes a vegan white-chocolate bar with desert lime; a vegan chocolate bar with lemon myrtle and Kakadu plum; Davidson’s plum powder to add to desserts and cocktails; popcorn coated with Kangaroo Island honey; and Anzac biscuits with nutty wattleseed.
Ratio Cocoa Roasters’ rocky-road egg, $25
The Brunswick chocolate shop captured the mood last Easter with a mask-wearing chocolate bunny, but this year it’s keeping things classic. Ratio’s 58 per cent milk-chocolate egg is packed with all the rocky-road requirements (roasted peanuts and house-made vanilla-raspberry marshmallows) with the addition of toasted coconut. The Easter range also includes mini bunnies, a hundreds and thousands-speckled egg, and a chocolate crackle-inspired bar.
Din Tai Fung’s hot cross bao, $5.80 for two
Forget hot cross buns – for a second, at least. Taiwanese dumpling chain Din Tai Fung is tackling Easter with an Asian-inspired remix. Get HCBs in the form of pillowy, steamed bao; they’re filled with rich, molten chocolate that will ooze out when you take your first bite.
Shortstop’s hot cross doughnuts, $6
Also riffing on the hot cross bun is one of Melbourne’s best doughnut shops. Though Shortstop’s version is a bit truer to the original flavours, with spiced dough, brandy-soaked dried fruits, a honey glaze and an off-centre cinnamon-sugar stripe.
Piccolina’s Uovo di Pasqua (Easter egg), $25
Returning this year are Piccolina’s gelato-filled Easter eggs inspired by traditional Italian desserts. There’s the dark-chocolate-coated Ferrerolina, filled with Nutella gelato, puffed rice and gianduja ganache; the milk-chocolate-coated Tiramisu, with mascarpone gelato, Kahlua-soaked savoiardi (ladyfingers) and a coffee-cream centre; and the white-chocolate-coated Colomba, with pistachio gelato, toasted colombo di Pasqua (an Italian Easter cake) and soft caramel. Bonus: they all come in handsome, limited-edition tins.
Pana Organic’s vegan chocolate eggs, from $10
Put all your (vegan) eggs in one basket this Easter season with Pana Organic, a leading Melbourne maker of plant-based chocolates and sweets. There are four flavours to choose from: smooth mylk, almond mylk, white macadamia and salted caramel. Find them at Woolworths, Target, Big W and select independent grocers.
Koko Black’s Koko Burrow, $69
Melbourne-based chocolatier Koko Black has gone all-out (again) with an intricate rabbit warren filled with clusters of chocolate bunnies and eggs. On a very cute illustrated box backdrop you’ll find caramelised coconut eggs; cookies-and-cream eggs; hazelnut praline milk and white-chocolate bunnies; strawberries-and-cream popping candy eggs; and more.