Giffen’s butter tarts win at Royal Winter Fair
Giffen’s famous butter tarts are a hit on a much larger stage having won first place in the traditional plain butter tart professional category at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
The win comes on the heels of a second place win at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in Midland this past June.
These tarts were baked using a recipe that has been in the Giffen family for a century and was made into local legend by Gram Giffen. Her youngest granddaughter Laura Giffen, 27, is now co-managing Giffen’s Country Market, with Brenda Prosser. Giffen said she has worked very hard to perfect her technique to make them just like Gram used to make.
The fair doesn’t open until next weekend (Nov. 1) but the judging is done in advance. Giffen’s sent a dozen tarts down to the judges who rated them on originality, taste, texture, appearance, crust and aroma.
“One of big goals was to get all the recipes back to Gram’s original recipes and really perfect the butter tarts that
she made so we could continue her legacy,” said Giffen. “So it’s been really fantastic that we’ve been able to go to these competitions and win.”
Giffen does remember being in the kitchen with her grandmother and mother, Kim Giffen. She recalls Gram making the pastry by hand.
Modestly, she says she doesn’t have her grandmother’s skill and it took a lot of trial and error, and a lot of help and support from the rest of the family to hone the technique. She said many
of her cousins also have memories of Gram baking and trying to help her in the kitchen.
“It’s been nice for some of our customers who have been coming for years. They have complimented the tarts saying they taste just like Gram’s and look just like Gram’s, their favourite tarts ever,” said Giffen.
“Unfortunately we don’t have her to consult anymore because she did pass away just over a year ago.”
More than 3,000 butter tarts are now being baked for the Giffen’s Country Market booth at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair from Nov. 1 to 10. They are also showcasing their pies and cider, alongside local honey, beef and other products. Find them in the Artisan Market Hall A, booth 2024. Giffen’s is hoping to participate in the fair’s champions showcase on Nov. 9. For details, visit www.royalfair.org.