An earthquake-damaged bakery has won the first Great New Zealand Hot Cross Bun Competition.
Kidd's Cakes & Bakery, on Cranford St, was unanimously chosen by the judges as the winner out of 68 entries from around New Zealand.
Manager Martin Meehan said his team was surprised by the award. "There was a lot of competition out there and when you send it away you think `Oh we could've done better' as you always do,'' he said.
But the judges said the bakery's buns were "outstanding.''
The entry was described as: "Old-fashioned hot cross buns handcrafted using a double-fermentation process, with lemon juice marinated exotic fruits, a delicate blend of fresh spices, and a hint of citrus zest, finished with a sweet citrus glaze.''
Mr Meehan said the recipe was developed for the family business by one of his own: "I'd put it down to Chad, my son. He's the maestro on the spices.''
Kidd's has been in its Cranford St site for 26 years, but Mr Meehan said he was "desperate'' to move into a new building after being ravaged by the earthquakes.
"We're still working out of an earthquake-damaged bakery. We've got walls braced up, cracks everywhere. We've soldiered through the whole time and kept our 30 staff on. Now we're ready to build a new bakery.''
He hopes sales of the award-winning hot cross buns will help pay relocation costs. When the recipe, originally developed a couple of years ago, previously won a South Island bun competition, sales went through the roof.
Mr Meehan said: "We nearly had a riot in the shop. It was hard to keep up, we were caught by surprise.''
The bakery sold about 24,000 hot cross buns after the South Island win, and Mr Meehan expects sales to climb further after the latest award.
But he's not fazed about meeting the demand for his buns.
"There'll be a couple of days with minimal sleep in the last few days [of sales], but it'll be all right.''
The competition's chief judge, Mike Meaclem of the Baking Industry Association of New Zealand, said Kidd's hot cross buns had a lovely light texture, and a nice bold look to them with a perfect white cross.