By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley 

That makes four years in a row – Georgina has indulged in a gooey, buttery adventure like no other! This year the Tarts4Hearts Festival was bigger, better, and butterier than ever. It was organized by Peaceful Hearts Foundation dedicated to assisting adults with special needs.  

Karin Cacciola, the founder, says, “There was a steady flow of people all day. We counted over 6,000. This year’s funds will benefit our foundation, but we will also purchase food for the food pantry and give back to our community, which so generously supports us.” 

Vendors and bakers from all corners of Ontario showed their skills, tantalizing our taste buds with classic butter tarts alongside the most extraordinary flavours one could imagine. 

In the professional category, first place went to Innisfil’s Bruno’s Bakery & Cafe, Birch Farms from Hillsdale placed second, and Keswick’s Rozeza’s Cakes was third.

First-time entrant, Jacklyn Best from Keswick, won 1st place in the amateur category. She says, “I didn’t expect to win anything, so I’m over the moon!  Baking was something I shared with my grandma, but I stopped after she passed away. It wasn’t until I got married that I rekindled my passion for baking. Butter tarts are practically in our family’s DNA; we even had butter tarts instead of a traditional wedding cake.”   

Karin Cacciola with Silvia Alonzi from Bruno’s Bakery , (1st place in the professional category)
Jacklyn Best (1st place in the amateur category) and Patryk Laszczuk, resident judge
 Rohonda Dawe  (2nd place winner in the amateur category)
Rose Zoulal, owner of Rozeza’s Cakes (3rd place in the professional category)

Her husband, Patryk Laszczuk, evidently has an impeccable taste for butter tarts. He was the first resident judge, selected from a group of nominees. Sharing his experience, he says, “I might not be the one baking, but I’m definitely a die-hard butter tart enthusiast. My wife knows that all too well, which is why she nominated me for the judging panel. Of course, I didn’t judge her baking. Selecting the winners was quite the challenge; every submission was nothing short of fantastic.”  

Rohonda Dawe from Georgina, the 2nd place winner in the amateur category, says, “I bake for the love of it, and it was with a nudge from supporters that I decided to submit my maple syrup-flavoured tarts. Now that my talents have been recognized, I’m inspired to push my boundaries and submit a more challenging cheesecake-flavored butter tart next year.” 

Georgina truly had its moment in the spotlight this year! The 3rd place in the professional category was earned by Rozeza’s Cakes, from Keswick. Owner, Rose Zoulal, says, “We participated because the Peaceful Hearts Foundation holds a special place in my heart. I’ll lend my support whenever I can.” 

The Tarts4Hearts Festival has once again proved that life is better with butter, laughter, and a sweet community to share it with. 

And keep those stretchy pants at the ready for next year! 

 Professional category: 

1st Bruno’s Baker  

2nd Birch Farms  

3rd Rozeza’s Cakes

Amateur category:

1st Jacklyn Best 

2nd Rohonda Dawe 

3rd Zoe Papathanasakis 

For more information about the foundation, go to: