Traditional celebration goes gourmet with tasty treats for all ages and diets.

The humble hot cross bun has had a makeover this Easter, with flavour variations on the traditional fruity buns ranging from brioche, chocolate and orange to apple and spice.

And the Easter treat has also been created to fit with all kinds of diet fads.

Gourmet supermarket Farro Fresh has six types - two gluten, one dairy, egg and soy-free, and another that's paleo-friendly - all with very different price tags.

Farro traditional and chocolate buns cost $8.99 a half dozen, whereas the allergy-friendly gluten-free kind stocked instore but made by Bakeworks are $6.99 on special.


Indulging in a Little Cake Kitchen brioche hot cross bun from the deli section will set you back $2.10 each.

Pandoro Panetteria, a bakery with three Wellington stores and four in Auckland, sells six-packs of traditional buns for $11, eight-packs of mini buns for $10 and eight-packs of chocolate ones for $11.

Countdown has introduced two new flavours - apple and spice and chocolate and orange - which are about $4.50 per six-pack.

"Last year, we sold almost 12 million individual hot cross buns for Easter," Countdown merchandise general manager Chris Fisher said.

Its bakers would use more than 600,000kg of wheat, 55,000kg of sultanas and 12,000kg of Hershey's chocolate chips in the dough being made in the lead-up to Easter.

Supermarket and department store shelves are also chocka with other festive treats - from a 1.2kg "Biggy Piggy" to mini-Ferrero eggs.

A standard boxed 200g Cadbury Easter egg will cost chocolate lovers about $10, the Biggy Piggy, from the Warehouse, will set you back $45 and for $12, Countdown customers can nab a 200g milk chocolate bunny from Swiss chocolatier Lindt.

New this year are Oreo eggs for $1.70 each. Similar to the much-loved Cadbury creme eggs, their outer shells are Dairy Milk chocolate with crushed cookies n' creme inside.

But not all chocolate is created equal.

In a blind taste test by Herald on Sunday reviewers Caleb Purcell, 7, and sister Megan, 4, they could tell the difference between the pricey Lindt bunnies and $1 Friedel bunnies from the Warehouse.

Both kids had gourmet tastes, preferring the Lindt bunnies.

However, when it came to marshmallow eggs, Caleb and Megan liked the cheaper Rainbow variety from the Warehouse better than traditional Cadbury ones.

Caleb said they had "more flavour" and were his favourite Easter egg.

Megan said her favourite part of the celebrations was hunting for eggs with her dad and brother.

Countdown staff were bracing for the Easter rush, with more than 580,000kg of eggs expected to be sold nationwide, Fisher said.

Cadbury spokesman James Kane said despite the Dunedin factory closing early next year, this won't be the last Easter that Kiwi-made eggs are around.

"Less than 15 per cent of the Easter product range we sell in New Zealand is made in our Dunedin factory.

"There won't be any changes to where these products are made until Easter 2019."

The company was looking for another local manufacturer to produce its Kiwi-made marshmallow eggs in the future, Kane said.

Easter was also becoming a major event at Devonport Chocolates, retail general manager Caroline Everitt said.

Its three stores sell "thousands" of Easter goodies every year.

The most popular were the 400g "Graffiti" egg of dark, white or milk chocolate and painted with coloured cocoa butter, Mr Bunny, and the "Tipsy" egg box of five eggs, which are half liqueur and half gooey caramel.