For a mouth-watering, uniquely Canadian culinary experience, don’t miss Ontario’s Annual Best Butter Tart Festival.
Now in its fourth year, the growing festival is located less than two hours north of Toronto, in the heart of (where else?) cottage country. On Saturday, June 11, thousands of butter tart bakers and aficionados will travel to the small town of Midland, Ontario, to celebrate the oh-so-Canadian treat that’s become synonymous with cottaging.
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Midland’s King Street will be filled with live entertainment and a range of artisan vendors. But the festival’s main attraction, without a doubt, is the butter tart contest.
Last year, more than 100 tarts were judged, 68 of which were in the professional bakers’ division. The other 41 were judged as part of the home bakers’ division.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be part of the contest to see what all the fuss is about. Most of the bakeries entered also set up a booth, so you can sample the tarts alongside the panel of judges, and find out for yourself which is truly best.
While some might snub a butter tart when anything more than maple syrup, brown sugar, and butter is added to the mix, last year’s professional bakers presented maple cheddar bacon, French truffle, Nutella raspberry, and even cheesecake salted caramel butter tarts. The home bakers went wild too, bringing peanut butter banana bacon, citrus raisin, and Canadian ice wine tarts to the table.
If it all sounds a little overwhelming, there are a few noteworthy bakers you won’t want to bypass. Last year, Bailieboro’s Doo Doo’s Bakery took the crown among professional bakers for its Pumpkin Butter Tarts, followed by a Crumbly Apple Butter Tart by Grandma’s Beach Treats in Wasaga Beach, and a Fruit and Nut Butter Tart by Kenogami’s Kitchen near Kirkland Lake. Doo Doo’s also won for Best Butter Tart in 2014. In the home bakers’ division, Midland’s-own Jessie Crowe also placed the past two years, making his tarts another must-try if you’re headed to the festival this year.
If you’d like to submit your own tart to the contest, the deadline for applications is May 30, 2016. This year, there are two categories for best butter tart—”Perfect Pairing” and “Traditional”—to satisfy those who like to experiment and the inevitable butter tart purists.
For more information on the festival, head to buttertartfestival.ca.