If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending a butter tart festival, sitting on the judge’s table is an excellent place to start. That’s the sweet spot we found ourselves in this past weekend at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in downtown Midland.A�When organizer and all-around sweetheart Barb Rowlandson asked OCTA to participate, we jumped at the chance for a front row seat to celebrate our national pastry as one of the judges for the Professional Division. It’s a tough job but…
With 25 contestants in the category and less than two hours to declare a victor, the tarts were rolled out fast and furiously by the festival’s friendly volunteers (a pretty sweet gig). A�Along with our fellow judges we worked diligently to try and settle once and for all which tarts would reign supreme. It was a showdown for the ages.A�Nuts vs. Raisins! Runny vs. Solid! One Bite vs. Eating the Whole Thing (spiking sugar levels be damned)!.
Personal preferences aside, the winner in the Professional Division was unanimous with Doo Doo’s Bakery from itty bitty Bailieboro claiming top prize. We’re thinking owner Diane Rogers is going to need to clear off some space on the mantle – she also took home top honours at the 2014 Kawartha Northumberland Butter Tart Taste-Off in May. You can find her tarts on the Kawartha Butter Tart Tour.
In the afternoon, the judges (some of whom also sat on the morning judging panel and we suspect may be off butter tarts for at least a day or two) crowned a winner in the Home-made Division…Midland’s own Jessie Crowe! Although for the happy on-lookers in the crowded auditorium who also got to sample the competing tarts,A�everyone was feeling pretty victorious.
That sentiment is surely echoed by festival organizer Rowlandson and host the Downtown Midland B.I.A, who estimated that the Butter Tart Festival attracted 25,000 attendees, who snapped up the over 50,000 (!!!!!!!) tarts on offer. In some cases, vendors were sold out by noon, making seats in the sampling epicenter (the Midland Cultural Centre) quite coveted. A�We hear that next year’s goal is 100,000 tarts…and may we suggest space in the Guinness Book of World Records as well? Tarts aside, there was plenty to enjoy at the family friendly festival, including live music and entertainment (long live the busker!), rib tastings, a street market, and even a town crier competition. It doesn’t get more charming than that.
While the “Best in Butter” festivities have come to an end, there are still plenty of reasons to visit Midland this summer. They’re home to the Lady Bug Cafe (runner-up in the Professional Division!) and the newly spooned Feast ON designee, Ciboulette et Cie.
If you haven’t stopped in to Ciboulette before, we highly suggest heading for the cheese counter at the back. AndrA�A�and Co. do their best to keep the fridge stocked with Ontario heavy hitters and some curds you may not have heard of before. We loved getting a sample of Albert’s Leap to counter-act Saturday’s sugar high.
And if that sugar high has already worn off, why not hit the Butter Tart Trail?A�in Wellington North or the afore-mentioned Kawarthas Butter Tart Tour. Or track down the winners from this year’s competition. Anyway you slice it, this summer is looking sticky, sweet and oh so satisfying!