Cravings by Jayne
A Sweet Rogue Trip to Crystal Beach
Where is Crystal Beach, ON
Crystal Beach, Ontario, is a small beach town located on the north shores of Lake Erie near Fort Erie. Up until 1989, Crystal Beach was bustling with activity every summer. Tourists would flock to the tiny town for the beaches, rent a cottage for a summer vacation, and, most importantly, visit the Crystal Beach Amusement Park – one of the best amusement parks in Canada.
The ‘park’ opened in the late 1800s and, over the century, made Crystal Beach a popular tourist destination for many people from Ontario and New York. The main intersection or the hub of activity centred around what was affectionately referred to as Hot Dog Alley, or Derby Road as it is officially named. This road had many businesses, but the big draw was the restaurants and snack bars on the strip selling summertime favourites – hamburgers, fries, and hot dogs (hence the name). You could take a break from the beach and come here for a quick bite to eat on the go if needed.
The park closed in 1989, and the town spent many years dealing with the economic and cultural blow associated with losing such a massive draw to the town.
Rebirth of Crystal Beach
In the years since the park’s closure, Crystal Beach has been primed for a rebirth. The beach had always been popular for visitors who enjoyed a beach vacation. People still came to town to spend days and weeks at the beach, to swim in the lake, sunbathe, and enjoy many water activities, just not in the same volume as had previously. The water of Lake Erie is lovely – crystal clear for the most part (hence the name) and warmer than the other great lakes. The sand is beautiful; some would describe it as white sandy beaches. As lovely as the beach was to visit in the summer, there wasn’t much else to experience while you visited.
That was then. This is now.
Over the past 5 – 10 years, Crystal Beach has been experiencing the rebirth she so richly deserves. Tourists are coming back in droves, drawn by the revitalizations, the beautification, and the influx of new (and exciting) businesses making Crystal Beach the place to be. These businesses have given much-needed excitement to this once-sleepy town. They are breathing new life into the lungs of my old home town. The area has a huge housing boom, attracting first-time homeowners, commuters, and retirees. It is a trendy place to buy real estate, retire, and settle down. People from far and wide have been looking to Crystal Beach for the small-town lifestyle they crave.
The small town now boasts many excellent restaurants, gorgeous home décor shops, fashion stores, local artisans, snack & coffee shops, and more that give visitors a reason to stay and explore. When you visit, there are even great cottages to rent, many air BnBs, and now, a boutique hotel with unique and individually themed rooms right in the heart of Hot Dog Alley.
Welcome to my old home town. Crystal Beach just happens to be the town where I grew up.
Sweet RogueTrip to Crystal Beach
So, now that you have made Crystal Beach your next road trip destination let’s make it a little sweeter. One of the new and exciting businesses to open up in town is Cravings by Jayne, a French / Canadian-inspired bakeshop that opened in December 2020. Located in an adorable shop on the ‘Hot Dog Alley”, this small but mighty bakery should be a must-visit stop on your rogue trip to Crystal Beach.
Since graduating from pastry school in 2019, Jayne has been creating a wide array of tasty and impressive-looking treats for the residents and visitors to the village of Crystal Beach. She has been selling in-store custom orders and retail items like pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, macarons, brownies & squares, and treats for your pup. Everything she creates is a beautiful representation of her skills as a trained pastry chef and her passion for what she does.
Follow CBJ on Instagram
Butter Tart Quest
I never imagined that my quest to find the Best Butter Tarts in Ontario would take me back to the town where it all began. We have visited Cravings by Jayne often but never get there early enough to appreciate everything CBJ makes. We were lucky enough to get some butter tarts on one visit. Cakes, cookies, and cupcakes may be her bread & butter, but they occasionally have butter tarts on the menu. If you are lucky to be there when they are in stock, grab one with a latte and enjoy it at their little curbside bistro table or as you explore the cute little town.
The butter tarts at Cravings By Jayne are very pretty and have a handmade and individual appearance. The tarts are all evenly baked throughout to a light golden brown.
The pastry on the butter tarts at CBJ is thick and flaky. Many buttery layers are evident even before you bite into it. This is an excellent, well-crafted classic and flaky (puffed) pastry. There are no surprises in this pastry – just classic goodness and the unique fluted design of the shape of the pastry.
The butter tarts have a thick, firm, smooth, and creamy filling. It has a pleasant buttery taste with a light sweetness that is delightful without being too decadent. They are not overly sweet or syrupy, and the filling does not drip. Its beautiful mouthfeel, taste, and texture make it a lovely light treat. The butter tarts do not have any extras – such as pecans, walnuts, or raisins—just a good buttery sweet filling, as it should be.
Jayne makes a very thick, classic flaked pastry; and the buttery centre is not overfilled. The Crust to filling ratio is heavily weighted to the pastry side. There is more pastry than filling in the butter tarts at Cravings by Jayne.
This is a tasty butter tart. While extremely flaky, the crust manages not to crumble too much and doesn’t fall apart as you eat it. The mouthfeel of the filling is delightful. So buttery and smooth – it deserves to be savoured slowly. The butter tart has no ooze, so there is no mess when you eat it. It would be an easy tart to eat on the go, and they travel well.
Cravings By Jayne may be a small bake shop, but this tiny little shop is a big gem. She makes it worth the trip to Crystal Beach. Jayne takes great pride in displaying her skill at creating delectable desserts that are also gorgeous to look at. If you are planning a trip to Crystal Beach, preorder some of Jayne’s delicious treats for pickup, by visiting her website.
Grab some of her delicious butter tarts (or one of her other many tasty treats) and enjoy them with a coffee as you explore the sweet little beach town on the shores of Lake Erie. It will surely satisfy your craving.
Cravings By Jayne can be found at: 394 Derby Road, Crystal Beach, Ontario.
Learn more about what makes Crystal Beach a great rogue trip destination and the exciting changes that are taking place by visiting the Advancing Crystal Beach site. Long-time residents have always known what a gem this place is, but now, out-of-towners are discovering all there is to do in the village of Crystal Beach.
If you know a great bakeshop with amazing butter tarts that you think we need to know about: Send us a message.