Sunday, 28 August 2011

Butter Tart Trail

Taking drives in the country side is how we connected with many of our sources for local food products.  Combining this and a day out we checked different areas and found a link to the Butter Tart Trail in the Township of Wellington North (north of Guelph).  Included on the trail were antique stores, artisan studios, bakeries and home cooking, farms, country markets, greenhouses and garden centres along with bed & breakfasts, parks and unique shops.  Great way to spend a day so we planned, packed the cooler with lunch and munchies and we're off.

Sharon outside Picard Peanuts in St. Jacob's

On the way we decided to drop in to St. Jacob's to visit Picards Peanuts.  We have been visiting Picards for years after a chance encounter on a family outing and now long for their great tasting peanuts that other brands just don't match.  We stocked up on peanuts, Chip Nuts (peanuts in a chip coating - wow!), and some other goodies to pull out when needing something sweet and salty!  They now have retail stores in Talbotville, Winham, Fonthill, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Morriston, Waterdown and Woodstock, Ontario.  Still not close enough for us.  Thankfully we have turned on some friends to Picards and when they visit they shop for us too!

So getting back in the car we drove to Arthur to get on the trail and begin with River's Edge Goat Dairy.  I love goats they are so playful and fun to watch.  Goats milk, cheese and yoghurt have also become a favourite of ours and we love to create tasty meals with the different varieties.  Unfortunately for us the farm visiting hours had changed and when we drove up to the gate it was closed.  Okay, chin up, what's next?  Brenda's Bakery in the town of Arthur and butter tarts!  We walked in to the bakery/cafe and we met with wonderful cooking smells and a friendly greeting.  We bought a half dozen (3 raisin and 3 pecan) and went back to the car to sample our goodies.  Oh boy they were good, slightly runny with lots of flavour and a country crust.
Sharon's Raisin Butter Tart
Barb's Pecan Butter Tart

Filled with sweetness and a sense or exploration we drove on to Shepherd's Watch 100 Mile Market just the other side of Arthur.

The Market is a type of co-op that has vendors from different farms and producers of a variety of products.  We were greeted by a sheep farmer, my apologies for forgetting her name, who explained how the market worked and introduced us to her beautiful woolen blankets made from her sheep wool. Gorgeous and truly one of a kind.  We wandered around looking at fresh farm produce, organic products such as beans, legumes, flours, local meat and baking.  After sampling raspberry maple tarts we decided to bring some home with us. We also purchased vegetable pasta and rice pasta.

Next on our route was Roxanne's but again we were turned away by a closed sign informing us that on Thursdays you needed to make an appointment,  argh :(  This was one stop I really wanted to see since I'm getting back into stained glass this fall.  Oh well, onward tart tasters!  Next stop, Kenilworth Country Kitchen & Bakery home of the Butter Tart Sundae (no we did not partake!).

But, we did bring home butter tarts and dutch apple tarts.

Our last stop was to be Queen's Bush Bistro and The Backshop.  After being redirected because of construction in the town of Mount Forest we found the bistro but not The Backshop.  Standing in the parking lot we watched another woman walk towards a small courtyard and enter a door.  Beside the door was a very small sign letting us know we were at the right spot.  Thank goodness for strangers - this was one place we are glad we didn't miss.  There was fresh artisan bread, butter tarts, lemon tarts, blueberry tarts, mushroom and artichoke tarts, a large variety of soups and other non-veggie items.  We brought home three different types of soups (frozen) to eat when school begins, butter and blueberry tarts, a loaf of 10 grain bread and those mushroom artichoke tarts.  Everything is delicious and has inspired me to try to replicate them in our own kitchen, especially the savoury tarts!
After speaking with the clerk at the Bistro we found out that the group that organizes the Trail had not got together this year to make changes to their website or information, so that explains some of the closures and changes of times.  Oh well, we thoroughly enjoyed our day of driving, exploring and tasting.  And yes, we shared our bounty with friends and family!

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