When we see a sign that states “Canada’s Best Butter Tarts”, we know that we have to include The Fruit Shack on our butter tart quest.
Niagara-On-The-Lake is one of the most popular destinations in Southern Ontario for weekend get-a-ways and day trips for locals. Located on Lake Ontario, where it meets the Niagara River, tourists are drawn to the area for the beautiful scenery, the historic downtown, the quaint bed & breakfasts, and the many world-class wineries that are in the area.
We live only one hour away, and we make many day trips to NOTL throughout the year to visit some of the local farms, fruit markets, and craft breweries as well. Several years ago, while buying local fresh fruit at one of the fruit markets we discovered something somewhat unexpected; freshly-baked butter tarts.
The Fruit Shack is a lovely little fruit market that has some the best locally grown fruits, as well as many seasonal flowers, locally-produced meats, and more. Many of the fruits and vegetables are grown on their own farms, and the butter tarts are baked right in-house. You can actually watch them being baked and packaged, on occasion, depending upon when you are there. Their sign out front says, “Canada’s best butter tarts”; and while that seems a bit boastful, they may have the right to be so unabashedly boastful.
The crust of these butter tarts is the perfect thickness, texture, and flakiness. It holds the ample amount of filling in perfectly. It is a thick crust, but it is still light, tender, and flaky. The flavour of the crust does not overpower the overall taste of the butter tart, it is exactly what you want in a crust – it is the vessel that holds the goodness in place. I usually find lard-based crusts to be greasy and lacking in flakiness, but somehow the bakers have managed to avoid that with their recipe & techniques.
The filling of these butter tarts is beautiful. It has the thickness you want, but the amount of ooze that you need for that decadent buttery experience. The filling contains nuts and raisins, and while I normally do not like raisins in my butter tarts, this butter tart is so good, my dislike of raisins is overpowered by the deliciousness of the tart. When you bite into the butter tart, there is a delightful bonus waiting for you. There is a wonderful little bit of crystallized sugar on the bottom, that just elevates the awesomeness of the overall experience.
This is one spectacular butter tart that they make at The Fruit Shack. The flavour, the creamy buttery decadence, the light flaky crust, and the sugary nugget all come together to provide an amazing overall experience. They make only the one variety, but as I was once informed by the staff: “when you make the best, you don’t need to try and mess with perfection”.
When I first discovered the butter tarts at The Fruit Shack, I messaged them on social media letting them know how much I enjoyed them, and that I was in search of the best butter tart (#buttertartquest), and they replied with: “I think your quest is over”.
Again, very boastful, but probably well-deserved.
That isn’t going to stop me from continuing the quest.
You can find The Fruit Shack at 1267 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
UPDATE: On February 24th, 2019 The Fruit Shack closed up shop. They will be missed.