Pastries, cookies, bars and squares, oh my

 In Opinion

by Jan Benda

A town of little more than 1,000 people, Creemore has three restaurants and three bakeries – each serves coffee and some sweets. These facts tell you something about Creemore residents as good-time lovers. People of my generation, as well as everyone else,love to sit comfortably in the coffee shop, meet friends, discuss life and what’s going on in the world. They love to celebrate the day. And now the Station on the Green has become an additional gathering place for those who want to share life stories and gossip over a cup of coffee and something sweet.

So it’s great news that Creemore Farmer’s Market has decided to continue to promote our baking tradition by hosting a contest on March 25, featuring cookies, bars and squares. It’s open to everyone, professional and amateur bakers. Everyone who comes may cast a vote.

Sweet treats such as cookies, bars, squares, including Danish pastry, French croissant, Austrian strudel, German pretzels – all are morsels of pleasure we desperately need to survive in this crazy world. Even though they are different in style and taste, I would say we love them all. Not necessarily because they are healthy, but because they taste great, satisfy our cravings for somethingpositive and are affordable.

Very tasty pastry can be prepared with just a few basic ingredients. However, to make something extraordinary and delicious requires imagination, creativity and passion. Any pastry, ordinary or special, also involves fire. A turning point in the history of baking occurred when humans invented the oven, allowing bakers to master control over fire.

Yes, once again it was a technological invention and indulgence for small pleasures that pushed civilization forward. From that point it took some time for simple baking to become an art.

Some pastry might be easy and fast to make but some requires special care. They say that love, not sugar, makes the difference in any sweet. Behind a unique taste might be local ingredients, a special recipe or family secret that has been passed from one generation to the next. And now in the 21st century, we are harvesting long experience, originality and the hard work of our ancestors.

After the pie contest in the fall and the bread-making competition in January, it seems to me that Creemore has become a baker’s town.

The contest has four categories: Cookies, bars/squares, sugar-free cookies/bars, maple syrup or maple sugar as an ingredient. Entries in multiple categories welcome. Guidelines: Entries must be delivered in disposable packaging to the Station on the Green between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and include a minimum of 50 bite-sized cookies or pre-cut bars/ squares for sampling by the public, and one large cookie or square for display purposes and judging. Include ingredient list. Pre-register by emailing Karen.scully@hotmail. com or calling 416-407-5132 after 5 p.m.

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