Photo Caption: Hot cross buns by Nagi at RecipeTin Eats
Hot cross buns are an essential part of Easter celebrations in The Bahamas, and few families would be caught without them. Unlike other parts of the world, these sweet spiced buns are still only available at Easter time, making them a special part of the 4-day weekend. Local bakeries take orders as early as two months in advance, and no two buns are the same. Many people have a go-to bakery, but part of the fun of the season is trying all the different styles on offer at church picnics, intimate gatherings and big family parties.
If you’re on holiday in Nassau during Easter, be sure to get some hot cross buns for you and your loved ones! We recommend calling at least a week in advance to place your order because they regularly sell out. Demand for hot cross buns makes Easter the busiest season, after Christmas, for some bakeries. Both plain and raisin buns are easily available, with some chefs getting more creative with their offerings. Here are some of the top bakeries in Nassau that you can visit for hot cross buns and other goodies.
Established in 1929, Model Bakery is one of the oldest bakeries in New Providence. Multiple generations of the Mortimer family run the business, famous for its dinner rolls and doughnut twists. Locals come calling at the side door of the bakery even before the shop front officially opens, looking for fresh twists and “pasties” just out of the oven.
Where: Dowdeswell St, Nassau
Swiss Pastry Shop
The Swiss Pastry Shop, renowned for beautiful cake artistry, is another bakery with all hands in the family on deck. Founded in 1989 by pastry chef Manfred (Fred) Ginter, his son Manfred Jr. is now at the head of the kitchen, and daughter Monica handles administration. Both Manfred Sr. and his wife Mae are still regularly in the bakery, and their grandchildren too, whenever school holidays permit.
Where: There are 2 locations, one in Plaza Del Sol, Prince Charles Drive, and the other on West Bay St, opposite Guanahani Village
Phone: 324-2619 (Prince Charles Dr.) / 327-7601 (West Bay St.)
Original Swiss Sweet Shop
Armin Wernli, executive chef at Original Swiss Sweet Shop, fell in love with The Bahamas after moving to the islands to work as head pastry chef at local resorts. He decided to stay on and open up his own bakery, which has been serving Bahamians for decades. Local favourites include apple turnovers, marble cake and Jamaican style patties. The hot cross buns at Original Swiss are made with mixed dried fruit, and topped with both an icing cross and a glaze.
Where: Shopper’s Haven Plaza, Cable Beach
The 3S Bakery is another family business, so named because it is run by three Strachans. Though the bakery is off the beaten path, their loaves and dinner rolls fly off the shelves. In addition to plain white and wheat loaves, they bake all the Bahamian flavour favourites: raisin, coconut and coconut-raisin – which they also produce in wheat varieties.
Where: Pinedale Road
Purity Bakery opened in 1920 as a small “purveyor of fresh baked goods and pastries” and has since grown into a commercial operation. Today, the bakery produces 37 different breads as well as Bacardi Rum Cakes, and they created a signature Special Blend line. Feel free to walk into the retail location on Market Street, where you will also find snack foods on sale. Purity Bakery hot cross buns are dark brown and studded with plump raisins.
Where: Market Street
Jumper Brothers Bakery
Jumper Brothers Bakery makes classic Bahamian style birthday cakes, with tight crumbs and colourful sugary frosting. They are also well loved for their soft and sweet bread loaves and dinner rolls, which you can find at either of their two locations. In addition to their standard raisin hot cross buns, this year they are offering coconut, wheat and mixed fruit options.
Where: There are 2 locations, one on Mollie Street and the other on Shirley Street
Phone: 326-3162/5 or 393-6145
Cheesecake Heaven is the newest of the bakeries on this list, and as their name suggests, they specialise in cheesecakes. For a twist on the classic hot cross bun, visit their store in Palmdale for buns with a cheesecake filling. Owner Jameel Lightbourn has also experimented with hot cross loaves and white chocolate, cranberry and raisin hot cross buns.
Where: Madeira and Bradley Street, Palmdale
Phone: 341-3111 or 357 -7712