Eating My Way Through My Canadian Vacation
By Audrey van Petegem, Senior Editor
Being Canadian and living in the United States, it amazes me that there are so many differences in our foods. I understand that some things are different since Canada has a marked British legacy, as it only gained full autonomy from the U.K. in 1982. Add the fact the we have a strong French influence too, this makes some of dishes uniquely Canadian, such as, Tourtière. That said, I feel that our palates are not that dissimilar. So I do not understand why some companies, such as Frito Lays and Kraft, have products that I can only get in Canada, whereas all the products from the U.S. can be found in Canada. Why is that? You can guess that I was happy to discover two great sites, CanadaOnly and CanadianFavourites (make sure you use the Canadian spelling, with a “u”) to purchase all of my homeland foods (this sounds so far away) instead of waiting a whole year between visits to fill up on my favourites.
Kid's Favourites (and most Adults!)
|All Dressed Lays Potato Chips – All my kids (and husband) love the All Dressed potato chips. The seasoning is all the potato chip flavours combined (barbeque, salt and vinegar, sour and onion, etc). Now this may not sound good but trust me, they always turn out to be everyone's favourite flavour! I, however prefer Dill Pickle, but there is also Ketchup, Fries n Gravy, and Roast Chicken (yes, you read it right!). You can find all these interesting flavours on Canadian Favourites.|
|Crispers Crackers – Kraft Canada makes a great baked cracker called Crispers. They come in the potato chips seasoning and, yes, our favourites are Dill Pickle and All Dressed. They are lower in calories than chips and are just as satisfying. Buy them on Canadian Favourites also.|
|Thrills Gum – Thrills gum is a little purple rectangular that is a true Canadian symbol (forget about the beaver and maple leaf). Yes, they taste like soap but you can't call yourself a Canadian if you don't go through a stage of it being your gum of choice. Buy them from Canada Only.|
|Cadbury and Nestle Chocolate Bars – One of Canadians most famous chocolate candies are the Smarties. This is the American's counterpart to the M&Ms. Only a Smartie/M&M connoisseur can taste the subtle distinction in the candy coating. Take the taste test and buy from Canadian Favourites.|
|Wagon Wheels – Dare makes these original chocolate covered marshmallow sandwiches. My son always brings boxes of these or Whippets, the other Dare cookie that is similar but smaller, home for him and his friends. Buy on Canadian Favourites.|
Let's Party the Canadian Way!
Bloody Caesar – One of the more popular Canadian cocktail is the Bloody Caesar. The perfect drink for morning, noon or night (love how flexible it is that way!). It is basically a Bloody Mary but made with Clamato Juice instead of Tomato Juice. Clamato is not as thick as tomato juice and I find it far more refreshing. I had always thought that Clamato Juice was strickly Canadian, because no one seems to know what it is in the States. Little did I know that it was created in 1969 in California for its Latino market. It only became Canadians' cocktail of choice when Clamato was used as the main ingredient in the Bloody Caesar that was invented by Walter Chell the same year Clamato hit the shelves in California.
Here is the recipe for a perfect BLOODY CAESAR
2 oz (or however strong you want it) vodka
Clamato Rim Salt (you can also use celery salt)
Take lemon slice and rub around rim of highball glass. Rub rim in a small plate of Clamato Rim Salt or celery salt. Add ice and the rest of ingredients. I can usually find Clamato Juice at my local grocer but I usually have to wipe off the dust (not a big seller) and the Rim Salt can be bought from Canadian Favourites.
Garnish with anything pickled.
Other Canadian favourites you ask?
|I discovered these great Cocktail Stirrers by Sable and Rosenfeld. The perfect complement for the Bloody Caesar. Sable and Rosenfeld also carries the best tipsy olives (soaked in vermouth or gin) for the finishing touch in a classic martini. You may also buy them at Gourmet at Home.|
|Seasoning for Beer Can Chicken – Gourmet du Village has created the foolproof Beer Can Chicken seasonings; blackened cajun, maple chipotle and classic, for up to three chickens per can. All you need to do is supply the beer (Canadian preferably). If you have never had Beer Can Chicken you are missing out on the moistest chicken ever and these Beer Can spices add such a wonderful essence to the flavour. You can find these and other Gourmet du Village on Amazon.|
|BeerShmeer Grilling Sauce – In keeping with this trend featuring alcohol, these BeerShmeer sauces, marinades, glazes and rubs are made with Canadian beer (which are also uniquely different to American beer). As with the Beer Can Chicken these sauces tenderize the meat while cooking and the different spices makes one's mouth water with their wonderful aromas. Buy on Canadian Favourites.|
|Diana Sauce – This is my go-to barbeque sauce which is available pretty well everywhere in Ontario, Canada. I am not a huge hickory fan and, although Diana Sauce does have a Smokehouse flavour, their Original is the perfect taste of sweet and spicy. I usually bring a few bottles back with me each time I return home. They also can be found on Canadian Favourites.|
|Poutine – Originally a French Canadian delicacy Poutines are now known for being all of Canada's preferred comfort food. These artery clogging french fries are topped with cheese curds and covered with gravy. The gravy melts the cheese curds and each french fry is topped with ooey gooey goodness. Say yum! The gravy is what makes the dish specifically Poutine. You can buy the spiced gravy from Big Poutine, but I have also used Campbell's Consomme soup thickened with corn starch, in a pinch. If you cannot find cheese curds, shredded cheese can work. It is definitely worth a try – at least once.|
|Marco Zanier Pasta – These European pastas are the most gorgeous pastas I have ever seen. With a simple olive oil, garlic and Parmesan dressing, this pasta turns an effortless meal into a beautiful presentation. Although they can be found in Canada I have never seen them here in the States but you can find them online here.|
|Fountain of Health Hummus and Baba Gannouj – By far the best Hummus and Baba Gannouj I have ever tasted. I love the creamy texture that is not too thick. The Artichoke and Spinach Hummus Cocktail is one of my favourites. I was thrilled to see them stocked in my local grocers when I returned home to Southern California. Check your local Ralphs or Kroger supermarkets to see if they carry them. If they don't ASK for them to be carried!|
|Fondue au Chocolat – Love, love this chocolate fondue! The different choices of chocolate can be heated right in the beautiful crock that it comes in. Cut up fruit and all the makings for a S'more and your guests will be wowed. The left over chocolate can be stored in the original container although we never had this happen. Buy from iGourmet.|
|Bernardin Freezer Jam – Freezer jam is very popular in Canada. With the berry season being so short, they take advantage of preserving the fruit to be enjoyed all year round. It is so easy to make and store. Plus, it contains half the amount of sugar then regular homemade jams. Buy on Amazon.|
It is no surprise when I have to shed a few kilos when I return home to the States, but hey it is so worth it! To our Canadian readers, did I miss anything? To our American readers, Bon Appetit, eh!