13th Street Winery & Bakery
Our love of butter tarts has garnered us a nice group of followers who are always willing to share their favourite butter tarts, for us to check out as well. So, when we are on the lookout for a new place to add to our butter tart quest, we reach out to them to help us plan a day trip.
Recently, one of our friends recommended that we try 13th Street Winery. He boldly claimed that “everything that has entered his mouth from that place is amazing”. That is a pretty bold assertion, but we trust him enough to give it a try. My sister, who lives nearby, has also given this bakery high praise for their butter tarts (and soup) as well. She knows how high my standards are given our father’s butter tarts are the basis for this quest.
The next time we had a free Saturday, we made the day trip to St Catharines to check them out. I had never been to 13th Street Winery before, even though we had been through Niagara Wine country on many weekend excursions. The winery is beautiful and has many beautiful art sculptures dotted throughout the grounds. In one building there is a wine tasting room, while the other building houses the bakery, Farm Store, and art gallery. Here you will find many amazing items to tempt you. They have great soups, frozen pies, cheeses, jams, and so many great baked goods that will be impossible to resist. The lemon coconut bar is not to be missed.
“Butter Tart Heaven”
The display case is full of gorgeous freshly baked treats that will have you drooling. The butter tarts are clearly their most popular item as there are trays and trays of them to replenish the display case. Their tarts come in raisin, pecan, and Skor, so we purchased 2 of each.
The pastry is light and flaky, and made with shortening which we really prefer over lard. It was not greasy tasting, or bitter. It is a thick and tall crust, yet delicate pastry that is just thick enough to hold the filling in place.
The first tart that we tried was sadly a bit of a dud and thus disappointing. I assume that when the tart was baking, the filling had baked overtop of the crust, and it left the butter tart with very little filling inside. The second tart we tried, was much better, so it is a good argument for buying more than one. The filling in their butter tarts is very sweet and buttery, with just the right amount of gooey consistency. These butter tarts have the most intense flavour filling that I have ever had. It is very dark, rich, creamy, and buttery, and the filling that overflows during baking creates this amazing layer of caramelized sugary crunch topping that is rather decadent. There is a beautiful nugget of crystallized sugar on the bottom, which earns this butter tart a bonus point.
Crust to Filling Ratio:
The amount of filling inside the pastry is pretty good. However, because the crust is rather thick, and the majority of the tarts had a filling that bubbles over during the baking process, the ratio ends up being off. There ends up being too much crust and not enough filling because the filling bubbled over. There just needs to be a little more of the gooey filling inside the pastry to balance the tall, thick crust.
The overall taste of this is a fantastic tart. There are many fantastic features that make these butter tarts a popular item amongst locals and visitors alike.
Winery tours are a very popular day trip idea for many people and there are many to visit in the Niagara Region. If you are taking a weekend winery tour in Niagara with your friends or family, 13th Street Winery should definitely be on your list to visit. The food at the 13th Street Winery & Bakery is amazing. Make it a part of your own Butter Tart Quest.
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