By Keith Holland
When reason to travel is the food. Not only do tasty dishes nourish the body and make tastebuds happy, but they provide a vehicle for better understanding the local culture. To do this right, though, you’ll need to eat what’s truly local.
In Canada, there are a few foods that are 100% Canadian. Online travel agency JustFly shares with us some of their recommendations.
No Canada travel guide would be complete without mentioning maple syrup!
While some people are satisfied with mass-produced grocery store syrup, the real stuff — pure maple syrup — is largely produced in the province of Quebec. Accounting for roughly 75% of the world’s supply, the tradition of sugaring off and making maple syrup in Quebec dates back centuries. An indigenous tradition that was adopted and refined by European industrialization, maple syrup is made by collecting and heating maple tree sap. Quebec has made a tourist attraction out of the production of syrup, promoting sugar shacks and other culinary tours regularly.
The best time to visit a Quebec sugar shack is in spring when the sap is flowing. The best foods to enjoy maple syrup with are pancakes, French toast and waffles.
A lesser known treat, Nanaimo Bars are so Canadian they’re named after a city in the province of British Columbia (where you’ll also be able to explore Victoria BC travel!).
A layered no-bake treat, a Nanaimo Bar features a wafer topped with custard icing topped with melted chocolate. Originally appearing in a recipe book in 1953, the bar has something of a contentious history, with the 1953 account remaining as the most likely origin. This is documented at the Nanaimo Museum. The bar itself has spread to other regions, with places like Minnesota calling them “prayer bars,” and cafes across the globe promoting them as a Canadian treat.
Poutine is the crown jewel of Canadian cuisine. It may not be fancy or remotely healthy, but poutine –French fries lathered in gravy and cheese curds — is more or less synonymous with Canada. Variations exist, including breakfast poutine with hash browns and hollandaise sauce, but the traditional dish is often supplemented with different kinds of meat.
So, where was this dish invented? There are numerous claims to poutine within the province of Quebec, but the common answer is that the dish was invented in Drummondville in 1964. Another possibility is the even smaller town of Warwick, Quebec, where folks say the dish was invented in 1957. Regardless, we’re just happy this dish exists!
What’s your favorite iconic Canadian food? Please share in the comments below!
*This post was sponsored by JustFly
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