The baker with the best hot cross buns does not find it an easy title to hold when everyone wants to get their hands on them.
Wild Wheat bakery in Pakuranga beat strong competition to become the North Island winner of the Champion Flour Easter Bun Bake-off.
Judges were looking for buns that had excellent glaze, symmetry, colour, even dispersal of fruit, a good aromatic flavour and a soft crumb.
The honour came as a surprise to owner and baker Andrew Fearnside.
"It's awesome, a lot of hard work goes into what we do here so it's nice to be recognised," he says.
"That recipe has been 15 years in the making."
But being the best comes at a price. Mr Fearnside won the title in 2005 and described the attention as "awful".
"It was one of the worst experiences of my cooking career," he says.
Phones went crazy and people started lining up for his buns.
And when stocks at his three stores had run out people turned up at his Pakuranga factory.
"I had people ringing me up saying I ruined their Easter because they couldn't get the hot cross buns," he says.
"It was just bizarre, we were trying as hard as we possibly could but couldn't keep up with demand."
The experience put him off entering again until this year, when judges were again impressed with the recipe he spent years perfecting.
The recipe was one he used when he first started baking in London 15 years ago.
"Each year I tinkered with it a little to make it better than the last year," he says.
"I'm a chef by trade rather than a baker so I think that gives me a unique perspective because I look at taste first rather than numbers and ratios. "I think constantly about how I can get more taste into the bun."
The fruit he uses is soaked in flavour for a few days and oranges and lemons are put into the glaze. He made a batch of 80 for judging but can produce 15,000 a day.
Mr Fearnside will decide whether to enter again after seeing how he copes with this year's Easter rush.
- © Fairfax NZ News