I grew up cottaging on Lake Kashagawigamog, just minutes outside the village of Halliburton. As a child, the hilltop market was a 12 minute walk away. A place to go to with my sister, to buy Lolas, Lick –m-ade, and pepperettes. When you didn’t want to brave the hustle and bustle of Haliburton on a hot Saturday afternoon, it was the one stop shop for campfire smore ingredients and a pound of bacon for Sunday’s breakfast! This quintessential corner store is firmly embedded in my memories of the cottage. Over the years, as my relationship with food evolved, my main reason to visit the store was for nostalgia’s sake. Eventually the store closed .
In the fall of 2009, the Hilltop re-opened, with a fresh philosophy and rustic facelift, I was ecstatic when I walked in for the first time. The aesthetic of the store is warm and inviting; pine floor boards, crisp white shelving lined with local preserves and burlap sacks to showcase the freshly baked and delivered bread. The cold chest houses artisanal, local cheeses, smoked bacon, while the front counter showcases deliciously decadent brownies and peanut butter cookies. Alongside these fabulous finds are your typical corner store staples, pop, marshmallows, canned beans, pasta, cracker jacks, bubblegum, sweet tarts, chocolate, and firewood just to name a few.
The operators of the Hilltop, Lisa Marchant and Collin Burke have a vision that goes beyond that of your basic general store. While the store provides the locals and cottagers with both practical and gourmet food, it also provides local merchants and vendors a chance to showcase their amazing products. Creating this type of community based business that is locally driven is part of what makes the Hilltop experience so special.
With less than a year under their belt, I have a feeling they are just getting started.
I was so taken with the place I went on three separate occasions to sample various products. Here is my shopping list
First Visit: Fresh coffee, jalapeno pickled eggs, pickled green beans, peanut butter cookies and marshmallows (for the kids)
Second visit: smoked cheddar cheese, smoked sausage, freshly baked Italian loaf.
Third visit: 2 more smoked sausages, Clamato (for Caesars on the dock) 2 Jones sodas and bubblegum (again for the kids)