Welcome to Roseneath
(home of the butter tart empire)
The best part of the pandemic has been the number of small towns and out of the way places we have discovered over the last two years. We rediscovered Ontario and visited small towns, villages, and neighbourhoods that we had never been to before. There are a lot of excellent small towns in Ontario offering all kinds of unique travel experiences. With travel restrictions in place, we spent much of our free time exploring many of these locations.
Where is Roseneath
Drive north of Coburg along route 45, and you will come to the town of Roseneath, Ontario, in Northumberland County. Many campers, boaters, anglers, and cottage-bound travellers will be familiar with this town because it is just a short drive to (on the way) Rice Lake, a popular destination for various recreational activities.
Explore the region
In the area of Roseneath, other communities you will want to explore are Baltimore, Fenella, Alderville, Harwood, and others. Each may be a small dot on the map, but they all have something to see & do while you are in the area, making this a great roadtrip destination.
- Learn about the ill-fated Cobourg to Peterborough railway that went through the area of Harwood – where abandoned tracks still exist at Harwood Dock.
- Alderville First Nation is a thriving community rich in native culture. The community boasts many artists, small businesses, dispensaries, and craft stores. Be sure to visit the First Nations War Monument in the town centre.
- The Red Barn Market in Fenella is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike to buy almost anything.
- Hiking trails: The area is a playground for hikers, ATV’ers, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, and nature lovers of all kinds. There are many beautiful areas to explore throughout Northumberland County.
- Primrose Donkey Sanctuary and Country Roads Family Farm are a lot of fun for animal lovers.
Visit another Northumberland County Butter Tart Quest destination
Only a few short years ago, our friends moved out to eastern Ontario (and our love of carousels) brought Roseneath to our attention. While looking for fun things to do and discover in and around their new home, we learned of the Roseneath Carousel in the Roseneath fairgrounds. The carousel is a 1906 C.W. Parker carousel with 40 basswood horses and two metal boats. The Centre row has Herschell/Spillman or Armitage/Herschell horses, and the inside and outside rows have Parker Jumper Horses. A 1934 Wurlitzer band organ provides music. Unfortunately, by the time our friends moved and settled in, the carousel was closed for the season, and then…… covid. It has been closed for the past two years, with expectations to reopen in spring 2022, and the Roseneath Fair is set to return on Sept 30, 2022. Fingers crossed.
Carrousel enthusiasts will want to check out our visit to the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.
Butter Tart Empire Bakery
Over a year ago, my brother moved to Baltimore, and since then, we have been up and down #45 many times as we visit him and our friends in Marmora often. Imagine our excitement when we saw a sign saying, “Coming Soon: Butter Tart Empire Bakery” last summer. Making this place a must-stop on our butter tart quest. After months of waiting, anticipation, and frequent (disappointed) drive-by’s, the stars finally aligned. They were open when we were in town.
Where to Find: : 8611 45, Roseneath, ON K0K 2X0
About the Bakery
It should be no surprise that a bakery named Butter Tart Empire makes butter tarts. Not just any butter tarts, but giant butter tarts in dozens of flavour options. In addition, they offer a variety of other sweet treats – cookies, haystacks, butterscotch marshmallow squares, and grilled deli sandwiches.
The Butter Tarts:
The Butter Tart Empire Bakery is a large facility butter tart ‘factory’ in the heart of Roseneath. They offer a large assortment of flavours of Butter tarts every day. Some of the flavours on display included – plain, raisin, Skor, Butterfinger, blueberry, brownie, apple, salted caramel, and many more. Due to our history of not being in Roseneath often enough or during their business hours, we decided to buy pretty much every flavour to try them all.
These are rather large tarts with a 3 ½ inch diameter. They are so big they are like little hand pies. They are thinner than many tarts but come in at 1 inch deep. Their appearance leads you to assume that these are hand-pressed, but they do use a press – which is quite fascinating. Although there is consistency, you can see the uniqueness in each that only comes from handmade. You can watch them make the tarts as their kitchen is an open concept.
The crust on these tarts is very flaky and baked to a perfect golden-brown consistency. It manages to be crispy, chewy, and soft all simultaneously. The pastry is very thin, but do not despair pastry lovers – it is the perfect thickness for this butter tart. It is substantial and holds well as you eat it. The flavour of the pastry is very buttery, with a hint of sweet and salty notes, making it a tasty pastry on its own.
The filling for these delicious butter tarts is glorious – it is very buttery, sweet, smooth, & creamy. The flavour is a delightful brown sugar & butter taste. The level of sweetness is on point – sweet enough to be a decadent dessert without overdoing it.
Each flavour is fantastic, but the butter tart base is still the star. The different flavours offer an extra level of a boost of that flavour. You get just a hint of the blueberry, raisin, or apple, but the Skor, salted caramel, & brownie, etc., have more flavour to offer. The Lemon tart is also a must. It has a delightful combination of sweet & sour lemon curd flavour.
These are butter tarts worth making a special road trip to Roseneath. They have a good filling to crust ratio. The combination of tastes between the pastry and filling is beautiful – so much buttery flavour with a nice blend of sweet & salt hitting your tastebuds. There is only a slight ooze, and the filling does not drip down your hand, but there is enough that it has the mouthfeel experience that we crave in a butter tart. These are an easy ‘eat on the go tart’. Nick referred to them as the perfect “Driving tart”. There is no need for concern if you are on a road trip; they hold up well during the journey without crumbling.
Our first experience here was excellent. The lady was amiable, welcoming, and inviting. We arrived at 4:58 pm, just minutes before they closed for the day, and she was very kind. She said, “if you are ever close – give us a call and let us know. We will wait for you, as we are here till 6 pm.”
The next time you are out near the Rice Lake area, be sure to make a point to stop at The Butter Tart Empire: the sweetest spot in Roseneath. Take a drive around the lake to explore the other communities…. and stop into Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieborough for more drool-worthy butter tarts.
You will find some of the best butter tarts in Canada on a Sweet Rogue Trip through Northumberland County.
*note: All butter tart reviews are the opinions of Roguetrippers only, based on our experiences and personal preferences. Your opinions may vary. If you know of a great bakery making what you think are Ontario’s Best butter tarts, we would love to hear from you. Let us know about them, so we can plan a future road trip to check them out and include them in our #ButterTartQuest.
Contact Roguetrippers with your suggestions