On June 12 and 13, the Butter Tart Festival Cycling Tour will allow cyclists to enjoy any of the 15 bakeries set up along the Simcoe County trails connecting Lafontaine, Perkinsfield, Penetanguishene, Midland, Victoria Harbour, Port McNicoll and Waubaushene. Riders can choose to cycle the shortened 55-kilometre route, which is a mix of road and trail, or instead travel within the 160-kilometre Simcoe County Loop Trail.
Brendan Matheson, who is the experience development coordinator for Tourism Simcoe County, said that the emphasis for the upcoming event was to “shop local” and support area businesses during the pandemic.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Town of Midland and the Butter Tart Festival on this revised event format, which encourages local residents to embrace the festival by bike and visit our Simcoe County owned butter tart businesses.”
According to Matheson, cyclists are encouraged to choose a portion of the route that they are comfortable to ride, while equipping their bicycle with a safety bell and themselves with bright colours and a helmet. Breathable clothing and sunscreen are recommended if the weather is nice, and riders should bring plenty of water.
Matheson also suggested that instead of traversing the lengthy 55 and 160 kilometre extents of the full trail, families may want to keep to just five kilometres inside the trails.
“We will not be stopping traffic for this event, so cyclists must follow the rules of the road,” Matheson clarified.
The Butter Tart Festival has been one of North Simcoe’s most popular events since its inception in 2013. As of the last count in 2019, upwards of 200,000 butter tarts were available for sale by numerous vendors, selling to the crowd of roughly 65,000 consumers.
Butter tarts are small, handheld pastries comparable to pecan pies.
Traditionally, the handmade desserts were simply filled with a syrup of butter, eggs, sugar, and sometimes a sprinkle of nuts or raisins within the pie crust before being baked. However, the modern butter tart is a culinary masterwork that can be host to toffee, fruit, chocolate or any imaginable addition that an inspired baker can create; this can also include deep-fried butter tarts.
Previous butter tart festivals have awarded prizes to professional and amateur bakers for the best butter tarts, as selected by a committee of judges including celebrities, chefs, food and travel bloggers and local dignitaries. The contests have typically been situated at a venue where members of the public can also take part in consuming the wide range of entries by bakers aiming for the coveted title.
Plans are in the works for the 2022 Butter Tart Festival to a normal exhibition presentation, returning as it was prior to 2020.
Chances to win an “I Love Bikes and Butter Tarts” t-shirt are being held through Instagram, with entrants being asked to make a post while at their favourite Simcoe County butter tart location and tagging it with @cyclesimcoe and @buttertartfestival when submitting.
A customized cycling map of the Butter Tart Festival Cycling Tour, along with further information on the two-day event, is available at the Butter Tart Festival page of the Cycle Simcoe website.
Cycle Simcoe can be reached through Tourism Simcoe County at (705) 726-9300, ext 1932. Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival can be contacted at 705-526-4275 ext 3206, or at the Butter Tart Festival website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca