I wrote a blog about the Easter dinner I had here in Bordeaux, which featured lamb and chocolate, two pretty essential components of Easter. Three English Easter treats had missed me, though: crème eggs, mini eggs and HCBs. Crème eggs are a bit like Marmite, I think. When their name is thrown in the air it is either received with widened, dreamy eyes or a screwed up grimace bearing traces of past nausea. It is true that these eggs are incredibly sugary and, despite their small size, give you a hefty dose of your confectionary craving. However, I find them delicious and a lot of fun to eat with a spoon.
Second, mini eggs. Such small, unassuming delights. The rich chocolate in them intersected with the satisfying snap of sugar shell makes them genuinely one of my most fave choc treats. They also nestle in a special part of my memory, as it is a yearly tradition to have an Easter egg hunt with my siblings. It is apparently also tradition that my brother snaffles up the large majority of the mini eggs, followed by my sisters who are generally on a par and me trailing at the rear, relying on Mum and Dad for pointed looks and eventually loudly commiserating until someone forces Richard to give me some of his to compensate for my pathetic pile.
And, finally, HCBs. It makes for a beautiful breakfast to come downstairs to a kitchen with bright sun streaming through the windows, to pop a hot cross bun in the toaster and to sit down to a buttered, steaming current studded bun with a cup of tea to wash it down. Having them toasted and buttered is necessary. When the butter soaks into the dough the sultanas seem to absorb some of it and swell up, making each mouthful even juicier. The crunchy top that gives way to soft dough underneath also brings the bun to heavenly realms.
Pani, my coloc, had her parents to stay for her birthday and they kindly surprised me with two boxes of M&S apple and cinnamon hot cross buns. It was such a great present!! I’d never tried this variety before but I was fairly sure that they would work. While I am suspicious of hot cross buns with chocolate in them, there could be nothing wrong with adding more fruit to an HCB.
There wasn’t, people. The apple added a new texture, and the cinnamon went down a treat. The dough was soft, crisped up excellently when toasted, and imbibed the butter beautifully. Hats off to M&S for this variety (although I see they offer chocolate and fudge ones which I won’t be touching with a bargepole).
It is sad that these delicacies are only available during the Easter period. But it does mean you treasure them when they arrive so much more. And I savoured my allocation of hot cross buns this year, I really did.