We take our doughnuts pretty seriously in Ontario, and for good reason: Canada famously has more doughnut shops per capita than any other country. (Perhaps that’s why we eat more doughnuts than any other country too!) What’s more, Ontario is home to some of the most interesting, original doughnuts around. From Thunder Bay to Ottawa, here’s where you can go to discover your next favourite deep-fried sweet treat.
Thunder Bay: Persians
Legend has it, this local delicacy was first created in the 1940s by baker Art Bennett, who named the pastry after John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing, a First World War general who visited his bakery while he was making dough. Bennett’s Bakery & Deli Retail Store still stands today—and visitors can still try Art’s top-secret recipe, which calls for an oval-shaped doughnut frosted with pink, berry-flavoured icing.
— Sue Downs 🇨🇦 (@suereformer) July 13, 2017
Norfolk County: Apple Cider Doughnuts
Did you know that Norfolk County is the only town in Ontario with an official doughnut? The Apple Cider Doughnut, the official doughnut of Norfolk County (declared as such in 2015) at the Cider Keg, is well worth the roadtrip. This local speciality incorporates locally-produced cider into the batter. Then, after the doughnut is fried, it’s coated with cinnamon and sugar.
Sudbury: Jelly Pigs
You can find jelly pigs at the iconic Leinala’s Bakery in Sudbury. These traditional Finnish doughnuts, which are filled with raspberry jam and topped with sugar, really do resemble little pigs, hence the name. They were brought to Northern Ontario by Elli and Arvi Leinala, who founded the bakery after they immigrated to Canada from Finland in 1959. Pro tip: don’t leave without trying other Finnish delicacies, including ‘S’ cookies (cinnamon cookies piped in the shape of an S) and bébés, which are cream-filled pastries topped with icing.
Can’t decide between a croissant or a doughnut? Take a trip to Art Is In bakery in the country’s capital, Ottawa, to try its decadent crossover pastry: the O-Towner. This concoction (sometimes called a Cronut) is made by frying “laminated” doughnut dough, a term that refers to the process of folding butter into dough, like a croissant. O-Towners are usually coated in sugar, but some come with creative, seasonal fillings, which changes every day.
North Bay: French Cruller
Sink your teeth into a French cruller next time you’re in North Bay, especially the ones at Good Glaze Doughnuts. Like all crullers, these ones are made with eggy choux pastry dough; when fried, they rise and become light and airy. North Bay’s version isn’t your average cruller: these are twisted before being fried, giving them their signature ridges – which, by the way, hold the perfect amount of salted caramel glaze.
Find these doughtnuts and other sweet treats on one of +30 Great Taste of Ontario passports. Download yours today!
This piece was originally published in the April 29th Edition of the Great Taste of Ontario Special Report in the Globe and Mail.