I figured my three trips to Canada in 2017 warranted doing a “Five Foods To Try In” post. Especially since with each trip I make, I’m discovering new foods to try. I definitely look forward to returning to our beautiful northern neighbor (I’m looking at you, Banff) because Canada is truly a breathtaking and completely unique destination.
Okay, I know it’s a bit cliche and all, having Canada’s most universally known food on a list of five foods to try and yet poutine is as Canadian as hamburgers are American; you cannot have a list without it. And as I’m discovering, there are scores of different ways you can prepare it. So there’s no such thing as just “one” type of poutine (case in point-the poutine I had on my Quebec food tour which featured regular potatoes instead of fries). If you’re still wondering after all this blathering “what the heck is poutine?” or you’ve been living under a rock because poutine has become uber-popular, to the point the hipsters have adopted it, it’s a dish originally invented in Quebec, Canada’s only French speaking province. It consists of fries (or really any type of potato) and cheese curds, and is topped with gravy. And if you’re also wondering whether the cheese curds are fresh (because you want them to be), they’ll squeak, no joke. And trust me, the squeaking is a good thing.
This is the most talked about pastry I still have yet to try. Many people dub it the “Canadian donut” or, for similarities with all things Czech, it’s as much loved as the trdelník. BeaverTails is actually the name of a Canadian-based chain of pastry stands whose namesake product is a line of fried pastry, meant to resemble, you got it, a beaver tail. Even though their headquarters are in Montreal, they were originally founded in Ontario and as I didn’t see any in Quebec (not that I was missing them either), I can’t help but feel they’re more popular in the non-French speaking provinces, or basically any area teeming with tourists. I’m sure the locals know better…
As with all trips, my biggest regret about my trip to Quebec City is that I didn’t try any pea soup even though it was on all the traditional menus. And on days where you’re spending a good deal of the time traipsing around outside in extremely cold temperatures, a hot, creamy soup sounds divine. I first had pea soup on my Alaska cruise last year (in a bread bowl; it was so tasty). I really liked it, more than I thought I would even though I love all things lentil, especially lentil soup. Pea soup is another rich and creamy soup made with a dried grain.
Smoked Meat Sandwich
Montreal is known around the world for its smoked meats. Montreal smoked meat is a type of kosher-style deli meat product made by salting and curing beef brisket with spices. The brisket is allowed to absorb the flavors over a week and is then hot smoked to cook through, and finally steamed to completion. When wandering the streets of Old Montreal, you will see advertisements for smoked meat everywhere you look. Also popular is smoked meat poutine (I mean who wouldn’t love smoked meats on top of fries and cheese curds?) and bagels. Not necessarily good for your heart, but when are the mouthwatering things?
Maple Syrup Snow Candy (also known as Maple Taffy)
By the end of our time in Quebec City, we had eaten a ton of food, most of which was quite the opposite of nutritious. As such, I just couldn’t bring myself to try the maple syrup snow candy, or tire sur la neige as it’s known in French. Maple syrup snow candy is traditionally made from pure maple syrup that is heated to roughly 240 degrees F and then poured on crushed ice or snow. So yes, you’re essentially just consuming maple syrup, rather than having it serve as the topping for waffles or the like. And that’s the main reason I couldn’t bring myself to try it when at the La Petite Cabane à Sucre de Québec, a store located on Quebec City’s famed Rue Petit Champlain that is meant to resemble the famous sugar shacks. Simply too much straight up sugar at one time. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t intrigued or love how the photograph came out either…
Are there any Canadian foods you would add to the list?
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