Did you know that Muskoka is famous for their Butter Tarts? Every small town that makes up Ontario’s cottage country has its own bakery and families that have been coming to the region for years have their favourites. It is part of the routine, stop in at your favourite bakery on the way up, stock up on bread, buns and sweets and then head to the cottage for a weekend or more of relaxation. I have never met a Butter Tart I didn’t like so I’ve taken up the challenge to check out the best Muskoka bakeries and see if I can find the best Butter Tart in Muskoka. It is a tough job but someone has to do it. If I can share my Butter Tart love with just one person I will have done my job. Let’s start the search.
First off what is a Butter Tart? Until I started talking to my American friends I didn’t even realize that the rest of World would not know what a Butter Tart is. It consists of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top. It is delicious. I prefer mine with raisins, although you can have it plain or with any variety of nuts. It is a mini pie of awesomeness.
1. The Bakery 141 Brock St, Gravenhurst – The first bakery I visit happens to be The Bakery in Gravenhurst, the gateway to Muskoka. Operated by the same family since 1959 this haven of sweetness still makes everything the old fashioned way, butter, sugar and LOVE. I’ve come for the Butter Tarts, but they are really famous for their Apple Fritters. May I suggest you get both. The Fritters are out of this world. As for the Butter Tart, well let’s just say I came back for more. It was my personal favourite.
2. Humble Pie Butter Tart Factory 6 Bay St, Baysville – The small town of Baysville has three reasons you should visit and one of them is Humble Pie Butter Tart Factory. More than just Butter Tarts they make everything including wood oven fired Pizza. I’m here for the tarts though and their delicious version was a perfect treat once I reached the summit of the Dorset Fire Tower.
3. Erika’s Bakery 2832 ON-60, Dwight – What do you do when your bakery is so popular you can’t keep up? Move to a bigger location. Baker/Owner Erika is a Butter Tart making machine. When I popped in to grab my couple of Butter Tarts to taste she was in the midst of baking 100’s of tarts to take the Butter Tart Festival in Midland, Ontario. It’s a simple place inside but everything is scratch made and I highly recommend you pick up a sandwich or two to pack for a picnic lunch while you are out adventuring. How does the Butter Tart stand up? Flaky crust and golden caramel centre, two thumbs up.
4. Henrietta’s Pine Bakery 2868 Hwy 60, Dwight and 92 King William Street, Huntsville – So popular Henrietta’s Pine Bakery has two locations to choose from. The original in Dwight on Highway 60 and the second location in Huntsville.
5. Don’s Bakery 3119 Muskoka District Road 169 #2, Bala – 1947 is when Don’s Bakery opened their doors and they have kept the cottagers of Muskoka in sweets ever since. Located in the town of Bala this temple of sweetness is a busy place. You can get all your sweet treats plus bread and buns to keep the Summer BBQ crowd stuffed. How does a family bakery business stay open for 69 years? Bake a mean Butter Tart is my best guess.
6. The Pasta Shoppe 10 Manitoba Street, Bracebridge – not a bakery so much but just to prove what a big deal Butter tarts are in Muskoka even the fresh pasta shop offers up its own Butter Tarts. They had sold out of the full-size tarts so I picked up a couple of mini tarts and enjoyed them cruising along Lake Rosseau Muskoka Style. Oh have I mentioned that everything they make is GLUTEN FREE? Yup everything from their pasta, bread, and Butter Tarts are all GF. For all you celiacs out there, a trip to Bracebridge while you are in Muskoka is a must.
So that my friends is my Butter Tart tour of the best Muskoka bakeries I could find. I may have missed a few spots so please let me know if you find one that I need to check out on my next visit. Which was my favourite? They were all delicious, but if I had to pick just one to have again it would be from The Bakery in Gravenhurst. You should try them all though and make up your own mind. After all, they are tiny. Happy Butter Tart hunting.