What is the Butter Tart Tour?
While we didn’t invent the iconic Canadian treat that is the butter tart, we’ve most certainly perfected the delivery of these sweet treats! The Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour combines dozens of stops offering some of the best butter tarts in Ontario into one fun-filled, family-friendly tour.
In 2011, this sweet idea became a reality with just a few stops and big aspirations. Now the immersion in flaky deliciousness that is the Butter Tart Tour has grown to over 50 locations throughout Kawarthas Northumberland. You can taste your way across Northumberland County, Peterborough County, the City of Peterborough, and Kawartha Lakes. Tour partners include our stellar local bakeries, charming cafes, and elegant restaurants as well as welcoming resorts and inns across the region each serving up their take on this Canadian classic treat. Each location has its own own hours of operation. Download our map to get complete contact information for each location. You can find Butter Tart Tour locations in most of the Kawarthas Northumberland’s towns with many great stops located within minutes of each other.
What is a butter tart?
At its most basic, a butter tart is simply butter, sugar, syrup, and eggs. The magic happens when these simple ingredients are combined and baked in a pastry shell until golden brown and the filling is semi-solid – or really runny depending on your tastes and baking style. This simple combination is what was featured in the first known printed recipe from the early 1900s. Found in the Royal Victoria Cookbook by The Women’s Auxiliary to the Royal Victoria Hospital located in Barrie, ON, this simple tart has become a staple of the Canadian cuisine landscape.
But it gets better… tarts can also include tasty add-ins too! Think raisins, pecans, walnuts, currants or even more adventurous additions such as fruits and crème fillings. The pastry crust can be flaky, or firm, or even made from shortbread, which packs a scrumptious crunch! With a nod to the times, several stops on the Tour now offer gluten-free versions too!
How to experience
Enjoy The Butter Tart Tour all year long at your own pace!
With over 50 stops on the Tour, there’s dozens of different places to visit and as many versions to sample. Got a butter tart craving but are short on time? Plan a day-trip and visit a stop or two! Really wish to sink your sweet tooth into it? We’ve designed the Butter Tart Tour into four tasty bite-size servings that can be easily done over two or three days.
To really enjoy the flavour of Kawarthas Northumberland, consider a stay at one of the many welcoming hotels, resorts, inns, or bed & breakfasts spread across the region.
Meet our Bakers
Go behind the scenes. See the traditions. Witness the “State of the Tart” mastery that goes into your favourite tarts.
Meet Karen from Kawartha Shortbread in Fenelon Falls. Karen’s famous maple pecan butter tart has won many awards over the years (including “Best of the Best” champion at our 2017 Taste-Off) and her locally-sourced butter tart was a 2016 champion also! Will Kawartha Shortbread win again in 2018? Be there Sept. 23 2018 in Port Hope to taste for yourself.
Download the tour map to find Kawartha Shortbread and over 50 other local bakeries. Plan your sweetest road trip ever!
Annual Butter Tart Tour Taste-Off
Once a year the best of the Butter Tart Tour comes together for the annual “Taste-Off” event! Our 2018 Taste-Off was September 23 in downtown Port Hope alongside CULTIVATE: A Festival of Food & Drink!
Here are the winners!
Best Classic Butter Tart (Just the “plain” facts)
1. Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro 705-939-1394
2. Betty’s Pies & Tarts on County Road 2 between Cobourg & Port Hope – 905-377-7437
3. Baked4U in the east end of Peterborough 705-874-1695
Best 100 Mile Butter Tart – using mostly locally sourced ingredients
1. The Bakery Warkworth – “Maple Butter Tart” (Warkworth) 705-308-2253
3. Kawartha Shortbread – “Maple Pecan Tart” (Fenelon Falls) 705-887-5271
Best Gluten Free Butter Tart
1. Doo Doo’s Bakery – “Pecan Tart” 705-939-1394
3. Black Honey Dessert and Coffeehouse – “Maple Tart” 705-750-0014
Best Arts ‘n Tarts (For creative butter tarts)
1. Black Honey Dessert and Coffeehouse – “Group of Seven” 705-750-0014
2. A Tie! Between Pastry Peddler in Millbrook (“The 4th” Butter Tart) 705-932-7333 and Doo Doo’s Bakery (“Sheepdogs” Sweet Potato Butter Tart) 705-939-1394
3. Baked4U “Coffee Girl” 705-874-1695
Honourable mention goes to the unique, one-of-a-kind and first-of-its-kind Butter Tart Chocolate Bar created by collaboration between Centre & Main Chocolate Co. and The Bakery Warkworth – it really is in a category of its own!
How many ways can you tour?
- By car with friends or family, resurrecting the time-honoured tradition of a Canadian road trip.
- By motorcycle like the famous Butter Tart Bandits. (Fenelon Falls is a favourite destination for them!)
- By bike along one of the great cycling routes through Kawarthas Northumberland.
Butter Tart Tour by Boat
The Trent-Severn Waterway winds its way through the heart of the Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour. Here’s an itinerary with more than a baker’s dozen destinations within 1km of a mooring location on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Here are some notes to guide your sweet seaworthy voyages. Please share your experiences with us on social media (@ButterTartTour) so we can improve this list of nautical pastry pursuits!
How Your Business can Join
Operate a business that wants to get in on the sweet action? If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible to become a member of the Butter Tart Tour!
- Located in the Kawarthas Northumberland region
- Butter tarts must be produced in the Kawarthas Northumberland region
- Open on a posted schedule in a recurring location
- Operate a commercially – certified kitchen
- Offer butter tarts for purchase – in singles and multiples – each day of business operation
For full details and contact information, please contact us (RTO8).