Town & Country

July 2017

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6 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY JULY 22, 2017 G I M L I SPONSORS ® FUNDERS F O L K L O R A M A A U G U S T 6 - 1 9 , 2 0 1 7 • Single Admission at the door $6 • Vickar Automotive Group Fun Pack $54 (12 tickets for the price of 9) • Mini Fun Pack $25 for 5 tickets Questions? Contact us at (204) 982 6210 F O L K L O R A M A . C A •Pre-arrangedcounsellingonrequest •ServingtheInterlakedayornight Ph.204-467-2525 1-800-467-0024 THEONLYFUNERALHOMEOWNEDANDOPERATEDBYTHEBARDALFAMILY Sweet Success Boutique bakery hits the spot in Gimli The bakery is well known for its delicious delicacies. Photos by Darcy Finley BY DAVID SQUARE A Viking langborð (longboard) laden with vinarterta and imperial cookies will be required to satisfy the ap- petites of thousands of celebrants at this summer's Gimli Film Festival (July 26-30) and Icelandic Festival, Islendingadagurinn (Aug. 4-7). "Vinarterta and imperial cookies are two of our best sellers," says Carrie Arsenault, owner of Sugar Me Cookie Boutique Bakery, a one-of-a-kind shop that specializes in traditional Icelandic and Norse baked goods, handmade from original recipes. Vinarterta is an Icelandic torte with prune filling sandwiched between its layers, topped by almond butter cream icing. Prunes for vinertarta are still ground by hand with Amma Stína's meat grinder and each layer is individually rolled, just like Amma would have done it. Arsenault will have 350 vinarterta cakes in the freez- er in preparation for the upcoming festivals, as well as countless numbers of imperial cookies, consisting of rasp- berry jam spread between two layers of the bakery's sig- nature sugar cookie, finished with a royal almond icing. Though her last name is French, she recently had a DNA test that proved she is Norwegian, with direct links to Viking heritage. "I would not feel right if I had no ethnic claim to the Norse recipes I use," chuckles Arsenault, whose husband's surname is Dahl, a Scandinavian place name meaning "dale" or "valley." Indeed, Arsenault relies on a recipe for vinarterta shared with her by her Icelandic mother-in-law, whose ancestors were part of the 1870 to 1915 migration in which one-quarter of the island's population moved mostly to Canada and the U.S. Gimli is a perfect location for her baked goods be- cause it is the cultural heartland for the largest Iceland- ic population outside of the island itself. Last year, Arsenault and her employees created and sold 1,200 vinarterta tortes throughout Canada, as well as areas of the U.S. and Europe, including Iceland where, ironically, vinarterta is no longer well known. "Perhaps all the best recipes left with the migrants," speculates Arsenault. "At any rate, there were no prunes in Iceland, so the filling would likely have been made of rhubarb." Aside from vinarterta and cookies, Sugar Me Cook- ie is renowned for its succulent pies, tarts, cinnamon buns, cheesecakes and much more. "Every Friday is pie day," says Arsenault. "This is popular with cottagers who can purchase a pie such as lemon meringue, pecan or apple crumble for $11; Black Forest and mixed berry cheesecakes are a new addition to our menu." Arsenault launched her successful venture several years ago when a local Icelandic baker left town and sold her his equipment. As there is only so much a specialty bakery can produce, freshly baked bagels and breads are shipped to Sugar Me Cookie from Integrity Foods, an artisan bakery located on a farm near Riverton, about 30 min- utes north of Gimli. Integrity Foods also supplies bagels and breads for Arsenault's latest business initiative, Langborð restau- rant, which she operates from a renovated space at- tached to her bakery. "The restaurant's name is pronounced Lahngbord, and it translates from Icelandic to English as long- board, referring to a traditional Norse dining board; a long wood table at which guests sit side-by-side, con- versing with people from other parts of the country or world," explains Arsenault. The massive table in her restaurant was built by Interlake woodworker Jason Friesen, who laminated together two thick, 16-foot long planks of Douglas fir to create the top. Langborð is open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., featuring tasty entrées like wild salmon fillet or sea- soned chicken breast as well as many other culinary delights including, of course, desserts from the bakery. Arsenault is in the process of securing a liquor li- cense for Langborð and, in conjunction with Interlake Tourism (of which she is a member) and Travel Mani- toba, she plans to host Norse music and history events as well hands-on food preparation courses in the res- taurant. "Participants in culinary courses will enjoy a sump- tuous Norse meal that they have cooked themselves," she says. ■ Sugar Me Cookie and Langborð are located in the Lighthouse Mall at 41 Centre St. in Gimli. Vinarterta is a specialty of the house. Photos by Darcy Finley

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