Being a native Hamiltonian, I consider myself to be somewhat of a donut, or should I say "doughnut" aficionado as Hamilton is home to Canada's iconic Tim Horton's coffee and donuts (3,453 franchises in Canada and 4,285 world-wide).
Timmy's is to Hamilton what Starbucks is to Seattle. Yes there is one on almost every corner. Did you know that Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than any other country?
However, like everything in this world, the donut, or should I say "doughnut" has gone upscale. No longer is a plain glazed or maybe a Boston Cream enough for the foodies. No! Today the donut, or should I say "doughnut" has to have some exotic combination of ingredients like bacon and peanut butter. Who thinks up these things?
Probably one of the first upscale wacky donut, or should is say "doughnut" boutiques was in Portland. It has been ten years now since Voodoo Doughnut opened up in the Old Town district next to a sex shop. Today, it has become a major tourist attraction and has the line-ups to show for it.
People flock to get one of their signature Voodoo Doll donuts (or should I say "doughnut") which is a raspberry jelly filled primitive doll-shaped donut with chocolate frosting (see pics below).
As a donut, or should I say "doughnut" loving, dessert diva/devil Brenda and I had Voodoo at the top of our "must see/must do" list. However, like all good flaneuring plans we found something even more interesting.
While exploring Alberta Street, we came up a colourful clown-like building (see pics below) with two different entrances that looked interesting. The sign said Tonnali's Donuts and Cream and it was time for a snack so we had to check it out.
We were transported back to the '50s with a huge counter full of old fashion donuts like Maple Bar, Chocolate Twist, Old Fashion Glazed, Maple Buttermilk and Old Fashioned Cinnamon Crumb - none of the "what will they think of next" combo names!
Brenda had a simple glazed donut and I opted for the blueberry fritter - both were just the way we like them - fresh melt-in-your-mouth, with a sweetness that isn't over the top. It was one of the best finds of our trip to Portland and worth the trip to Alberta Avenue, along with its indie art galleries and bohemian shops.
We got to Voodoo Doughtnut in Old Town (there are two other locations) a few days later, but the line-up was too long for us to wait. Next time we will get there earlier!
Donut vs Doughnut?
Bet by now you are wonder, "How do you spell donut, or should I say doughnut?" While a quick internet search, tells me that "doughnut" is the original spelling and dates back to 1800s. This spelling makes sense as it is "deep fried dough."
The term "donut" came into use when the manufacturing of doughnuts became more commercial and probably originated in New York in the early 20th century - but the history is sketchy.
If you want more detail information on donuts I'd suggest hub pages. For example, who knew that there is a National Donut Day (first friday of June, rats just missed it) and that it was started in 1917 by Salvation Army giving away free donuts to veterans of WW1. Bet you didn't know that there are ten billion doughnuts made in the US every year!
As an everyday tourist I may not be able to get to Voodoo or Tonnalli's again soon, but fortunately we have Modern Jelly Donuts here in Calgary that I can visit (not everyday) for that touristy doughnut/donut experience.