Thursday, January 20, 2011

Red Queen Tarts

When I first heard about Red Queen Tarts, an Atlanta gal making artisinal pop tarts, I thought IMUSTHAVEONERIGHTNOW. Yes, in my own stream of consciousness, screaming in my own head sort of way, I knew that fancy pants pop tarts were simply something I couldn't live without.

Clearly the NY Times agrees since they have already published a lovely write up on the Red Queen herself, Candice Reynolds, and her locally sourced, organic, seasonal toaster treats. Currently Reynolds, who's day job is with Fifth Group's catering arm is distributing the treats primarily through farmer's markets, such as Serenbe's, and selling them through online orders.

Reynolds's was unimpressed when her boyfriend was serving up real deal pop tarts - high fructose corn syrup and all - for an event, and she knew she could do better. And she does indeed. The tarts were delivered to me in a sweet little box, each individually wrapped and labeled with care. The packaging is simple but still perfect for a gift or a little treat for yourself.

My assortment included hazelnut chocolate, port poached pear, lemon blueberry, and red ruby marmalade. They can be heated in the oven or like regular pop tarts, in the toaster. Her ingredients are fresh, as local as possible, and remarkably healthy for something called a tart. The tart itself is made from heirloom cold-milled whole wheat from North Carolina, while the filling is flavorful with real fruits sweetened with evaporated cane sugar.

These tarts are subtle, appropriate for breakfast, or as we ate them, as a light dessert. The crust is flaky and buttery, perfect after a quick toasting. Unlike the traditional dessert tarts you might be picturing that are bursting with filling, these have just enough filling to make the flavors shine through. The port poached pear was sophisticated and distinctive, while the red ruby marmalade offered the bitter bite of grapefruit balanced with sweetness. Our personal favorite was the hazelnut chocolate. The richness of this filling made the boldest statement of any we tried, and it was gone in no time.

I love the idea of upscale pop tarts. With cupcakes jumping the shark, and fro-yo so passe, it's about time for a clever new twist on an old favorite, and all the better if you can actually feel good about eating them.

Tarts are packaged 6 per box, $19.00/box. Get yours at Serenbe Farmer's Market or by emailing Candace at or calling (770)789-5258. Find out more on or follow her on



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