Too early for Easter treats?
There are still 60 days until Easter Sunday, but ardent fans of hot cross buns and chocolate eggs can already get their fix in the shops.
It might come as a shock if you're still finishing off the Santa-shaped chocolates you got for Christmas, but supermarkets have cracked on with selling the spiced fruit buns, traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and Easter eggs.
A spokesperson for Countdown said there was obvious demand, as the supermarket chain had sold 9000 packs of hot cross buns in the first four days of them going on sale in early January. The chain had also seen "double-digit growth" in Easter-themed chocolate sales so far, compared to 2012.
Some Four Square, New World, and Pak 'N Save stores started selling chocolate eggs and instore bakery hot cross buns on January 21, though Foodstuffs group communications director Antoinette Shallus said this was at the discretion of the individual store owners. The shops will start selling hot cross buns from suppliers from next Monday.
Neville Thompson, operations manager at specialist bakery Pandoro, said they usually started hot cross bun production eight or nine weeks before Easter. The first batches will be baked on Friday night, to go on sale on Saturday.
Thompson said there wasn't much demand for them this early, but the company wanted to offer some variety to their regular customers."People are always keen on them; it's good for our bottom line."
However chocolatier Stephanie Everitt, who owns boutique Auckland chocolate business Devonport Chocolates, said she wouldn't dream of putting Easter eggs on sale so soon.
"People would just be bamboozled to see Easter eggs out now, especially because our shop is full of Valentine's Day chocolates. I was stunned to see hot cross buns on sale the other day, but people do love them."
Everitt said her Easter chocolate would go on sale after Valentine's Day." I think it's a bit of a pity that Easter things are out so early. It's a bit like having tomatoes available all year 'round, you lose that seasonality."
Have you eaten any hot cross buns or Easter eggs yet?