Sugar and Slice
…and everything nice
Frequent visitors to Niagara on the Lake will be familiar with the building at 1267 Niagara Stone Rd, but there is a new game in town. The Grove Farm Shop has taken up residence at the location of the Fruit Shack, which closed for business earlier in 2019.
The Grove Farm Shop opened for business earlier this summer. They not only took over the location from the Fruit Shack after they closed down, but they are committed to bringing in many of the same products customers have come to know and love. The Grove farm shop is a locally owned and operated shop that is serving up farm-fresh produce, antibiotic and hormone-free meats, gourmet cheeses, and prepared meals. Like their predecessor, they also have delicious baked goods, including fruit pies, meat pies, bread, bagels, cornish pasty, and much more.
The owner is Chef Charlie and her husband, Steve. Charlie has a long history in Niagara, having owned both a food truck “Ello Gov’na”, and the foodservice MASON at Silversmith Brewery, just down the road a tick. While Charlie and her team create many of the savoury pastries you will find at the Grove, for the butter tarts, they have developed a partnership with pastry chef Michelle Coley of “Sugar and Slice” bakery.
Being a new business in a favourite location for Roguetrippers, we had to check it out, and of course, buy some butter tarts for our butter tart quest. While this location is very well-known for butter tarts from the previous business, these are Sugar & Slice’s butter tarts. A brand-new entry into the butter tart world – so forget the old and embrace the new.
The butter tarts are a very nice-looking tart. They are all evenly baked, with none of them being overly done. No two tarts look exactly alike – with some unevenness and variations in different characteristics. They have a beautiful home-made, rustic look to them which is very appealing to us.
The crust is very light, tender, and flaky. The pastry is not dry or overbaked. It is thin enough that it does not overpower the tart but, thick enough that it definitely can hold the filling in place. The flavour of the pastry is generally delightful, and it is just a lovely vessel for transporting the filling. I overheard the clerk tell other customers that there is no lard in the butter tarts, which makes me very happy.
If you prefer your butter tarts to have a little something in them, these are not that tart. The filling in the Grove’s butter tarts is plain. There are no raisins, pecans, walnuts, or currants here – which suits us just fine. (remember: I am not a raisin fan, and I like currants less). The consistency of the filling is very smooth and runny. It has a good ooze. The flavour is very sweet and buttery. At first bite, it starts really sweet, but after that first bite, your tastebuds adjust, and it is just a delightful dessert. There is a lovely caramelization on the top of the tart that is very sticky and chewy. It covers the top of the butter tart like a web of toffee.
Crust To Filling Ratio:
The filling appears to have boiled and bubbled up and over the tarts during the baking process. This left the butter tart with a lower crust-to-filling ratio. The tarts are about 70% full at best; however, you do taste the filling in every bite. The pastry is not too thick, and the butter tart itself is not overly large, which helps improve the ratio a little.
The Sugar and Slice butter tarts from the Grove Farm Shop are a sweet tasty tart. They are a lovely classic butter tart, with nothing to detract from the enjoyment. It is very simple and delightful in the execution, just like homemade.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a fantastic place to go for a day trip or a weekend getaway. You can go for a craft beer tour of Niagara Region or check out many local wineries in the area. There is a lot of great shopping to enjoy in the village of NOTL, or you can visit the many farmer’s markets dotted throughout the countryside. Be sure to make a stop at the Grove Farm Shop for some farm-fresh produce, prepared meals, and delicious baked goods,
….and don’t forget the butter tarts.
You can find Sugar & Slice butter tarts at:
The Grove Farm Shop
1267 Niagara Stone Rd
If you know of a great bakery that is making what you think are Ontario’s best butter tarts, that we have to check out for our #ButterTartQuest, please let us know.