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By Maureen Littlejohn
When visitors come to Canada, they always want to try our most “authentic” foods. Here is a list of iconic Canadian victuals and where to get them.
Our flag bears a red maple leaf, so it is fitting that the sap gathered from these iconic trees is one of our most beloved sweet treats. Canada produces 71 per cent of the world’s pure maple syrup, 91 per cent of which is produced in Quebec. Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are also producers.
- Cabane a sucre Leclerc – Neuville, Que., cabaneleclerc.ca
- Sandy Flat Sugar Bush and Pancake House – Warkworth, Ont., sandyflatsugarbush.com
This calorie bustin’ dish of French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds is thought to have been invented in 1957 when a trucker in Warwick, Que., asked for cheese curds to be added to his fries.
- La Banquise – Montreal, labanquise.com
- Belgian Fries – Vancouver, belgianfries.ca
- Whistle Stop Cafe – Peterborough, Ont., whistlestoplife.com
- La Belle Patate – Canmore, Alta., westcoastpoutine.wixsite.com
What we know as “peameal bacon,” the rest of the world calls Canadian bacon. Made from pork loin, it resembles ham more than traditional pork-belly bacon. Brined and rolled in cornmeal, peameal bacon is sliced thin, fried and usually eaten in sandwiches. The name comes from the 1800s when Canada would export pork to England. Originally it was preserved with a coating of yellow peas but over the years that switched to cornmeal.
- Rashers – Toronto, rashers.ca
- Carousel Bakery – Toronto, stlawrencemarket.com
Calgary restaurant manager Walter Chell invented this cocktail in 1969. Differentiated from a Bloody Mary by clam juice, Clamato-maker Mott’s claims more than 350-million Caesars are sold every year. Key ingredients are Clamato juice, vodka, Worchester, a salted rim and a stick of celery.
- Else’s – Montreal, facebook.com/elsesMontreal
- Local Public Eatery – Vancouver, localpubliceatery.com
- Mildred’s Temple Kitchen – Toronto, templekitchen.com
Born in Ottawa, the BeaverTail is doughy, deep fried and covered with sweet toppings such as Nutella, Smarties and sugar. Graham Hooker’s family passed down the recipe for generations, and in 1978 he began sharing the yummy pastries with the public. Available across the country and internationally, Barak Obama enjoyed one during a visit to Ottawa.
- BeaverTails – Located in outlets across the country. beavertails.com
Many Canadians can recall their grandmothers making these gooey, buttery tarts and the old fashioned treat is enjoying a fabulous comeback. In Ontario there is a Butter Tart Trail, and annual festival. The dessert’s origins can be traced to the turn of the century. A melt-in-your-mouth crust contains and caramel-y filling of butter, sugar and eggs. Raisins, nuts, coconut even chocolate can also be added.
- Andrea’s Gerrard Street Bakery – Toronto, andreasbakery635.com/
- Bubby Rose’s Bakery and Cafe – Victoria, bubbyrosesbakery.com/
- Coffee Bureau – Edmonton, facebook.com/coffee.bureau
- Maple Leaf Bakery – Moose Jaw, Sask., facebook.com/pages/Maple-Leaf-Bakery
A trifecta flavour burst with chocolate coconut crumb base, custardy butter icing centre and a melted chocolate topping. Known in some households as ‘miracle bars,’ there is some debate as to the official inventor. The Ladies Auxiliary to the Nanaimo General Hospital printed the recipe for a ‘chocolate square’ in 1952, and it’s likely this is the bar’s birthplace.
- Bocca Cafe – Nanaimo, B.C., facebook.com/theboccaexperience
- Dufflet – Toronto, dufflet.com
Split pea soup
French explorer Samuel de Champlain and his men can take the credit for inventing split pea soup, a classic French Canadian dish. A stick-to-the-ribs meal that is fortifying in winter, it is made of cured meats and dried peas and is enjoyed just as much today as it was in Champlain’s time.
- Aux Anciens Canadiens – Quebec City, auxancienscanadiens.qc.ca
- United Bakers Dairy Restaurant – Toronto, unitedbakers.ca
- The Soup Meister – North Vancouver, thesoupmeister.com
A traditional French Canadian dish that dates back to the 1600s, this rich meat pie is filled with ground pork, beef, veal or game and tweaked with herbs and spices. A favourite at Christmas and New Years, many bakeries stock it year-round.
- La Maison Du Roti – Montreal, maisonduroti.com
- House on Parliament – Toronto, houseonparliament.com