Live Like The French, Eat Like The French.
Check out my review on Le Papillon On Front
On this July 1, Canada will celebrate it’s 150th birthday.
For many of you who do not know what our federal holiday is about, it is the day when the provinces and British colonies united under a single Dominion now known as our country called Canada. We have grown as a country with our history with the British and French, and most of all, our native Indian heritage. I remember learning about my country and the pioneers that helped built our lands into the country we are today. As I’m writing this now, I am truly proud to call myself a Canadian.
I wanted to share with you the type of food that makes us Canadians very unique. Some of you reading this may have tried some of our delicacies. If you ever have the chance to try some things on the list, you can proudly say you have eaten something truly Canadian!
Atlantic Salmon – One of our greatest natural resources is fishing, specifically salmon. Off the Atlantic coast of our eastern provinces, hundreds of ships would set off catching thousands of fresh, wild salmon. Due to increase of consumption, we have had to farm salmon inland to keep up with growing demand.
Montreal Smoked Meat – From the province of Quebec, this deli meat has gained popularity ever since it was first created in the bustling city of Montreal. It is made by curing and salting a large beef brisket covered with spices, then smoked and steamed until cooked through. It is best eaten with several carved pieces stuffed into a Kaiser bun, a thin layer of mustard and pickle slices for condiments are a definite must to bring out the tanginess of this large sandwich.
Poutine – Also originated from Quebec, this sloppy dish of carbs is one of few that we are truly proud of and one of my absolute favourites. It consists of french fries topped with cheese curds and loads of gravy. Some eat this as a side dish or as a meal itself. I say let your stomach decide if you want it as a snack or lunch.
Maple Syrup – What’s the first thing you reach for when eating pancakes? Canadians cannot take full credit for creating maple syrup since it was practiced by the indigenous people of North America (Canada and the USA). However, we can proudly say that the majority of maple syrup is produced mainly from Quebec. The sap from maple trees is slowly extracted then boiled down to its purest syrup form. After a strict filtering process, it produces the sweet taste that runs smooth out of the bottle and onto our plates.
Canadian Peameal Bacon is a special type of lean, cured pork loin that is trimmed of fat. It was once rolled in a mix of ground yellow peas before WWII but cornmeal became the better choice. It is a very different taste than the standard strips of bacon sold in grocery stores. Much like our Montreal Smoked Meat, we like to also cook slices of peameal bacon and make a large sandwich out of it. But if you like your standard plated breakfast meal, simply slice a few pieces and pan fry it. If you can’t get your hands on it, perhaps your local breakfast restaurant might carry these on their menu!
Ice Wine – Although this dessert wine first originated with the Romans and then with the Germans, Canada has become the largest commercial producer of ice wine today. Depending on the temperatures, ice wine is produced from grapes that are frozen while still attached to the vines. The sugars from grapes do not freeze thus providing a more concentrated and sweeter wine. The Ontario Niagara region is the most common area where ice wine is produced ideally because of the proper freezing temperatures. I don’t usually drink but I cannot help myself to quench my thirst with a glass of ice wine. It is like no other glass of wine you have ever tasted. Sweet and to the point. I would highly recommend all of you to try a small glass with your favourite dessert. It brings out the sweet tooth out of any person.
I hope you all enjoyed reading some of the different types of Canadian foods we love to share with the world. If you have eaten any of the above, I would love to hear your comments.
When I was a kid, my parents used to take my family to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto. It was the “annual fair” that came to town filled with rides, games, food and entertainment. I always had fond memories of our visits to the CNE.
I remember my parents buying strings of small coupon stubs so that I could ride the merry-go-round or brave the kids swing set. It was one of those special days when we could eat whatever candy or junk food we want. My dad would have this obsession to win the big prize by shooting pellets around a red star printed on a small piece of paper hanging at the end of a long wire. He would never win but we would always be happy that he tried his very best.
They still kept some things the same such as the “midway” where all the food and games are just an arm’s length away. The all famous Food Building still has over a hundred food vendors just footsteps away from the GO Train entrance. Of course, the annual Canadian International Air Show is always ready to perform if you are lucky to find a seat.
We always like to see what’s new and upcoming at the CNE. Since we’re a lot older now, they added a lot more entertainment. Today, there are rock bands entertaining the beer thirsty and pork-hungry Ribfesters, a casino open to the experienced and amateur poker player, a large shopping building full of international goods available for sale, and several updated shows and current events to entertain people of all ages. Two of those shows we wanted to see was the ice skating and SuperDogs show.
The ice skating shows always try to feature a Canadian celebrity skater. In the past they have had Olympians Elvis Stojko and skating duo, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue.
This year we had the pleasure of watching Joannie Rochette, Canadian Bronze Medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Canada Winter Olympics.
After the ice skating show, we decided to take our time doing a lot of shopping inside the Enercare Building. Items for sale ranged from clothes to food, and everything in between. My sister was generous to buy us 1kg of unpasteurized honey. We didn’t realize how heavy it was to carry it around while shopping, we felt like dragging our bag on the ground!
At one time, we were very thirsty so I decided to buy something a little different than the usual bottle of water. It wasn’t a lot but it helped hydrate ourselves from carrying around the honey and other free samples we picked up along the way.
The biggest highlight of our day was the long line of food trucks near the Princes’ Gates entrance. One of my favourites is a truck called Fidel Gastro’s. They own a restaurant on Queen Street, Toronto but has extended their express service to a food truck. We ordered the Porknado sandwich with the owner, Matt. Within minutes, out came this huge sandwich filled with Korean pulled pork topped with two crispy pork dumplings, green onions, and crema. The flavours are unreal compared to any sandwich I have ever tasted. With each bite, the pulled pork melted in my mouth and the dumplings added another flavor of pork. The fusion of Asian and Latin spices gave that extra kick while the crema just tied everything in.
Matt was very generous to come back out and give us a free sample of their CNE Specialty called the Cubano. What a treat! This was a deep fried sandwich filled with pork brisket, onions cheese and pickles. Oh boy, the calories! Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Cheese and pickles are my favourite toppings so I could not hold back on having that extra bite. This sandwich did not disappoint and it was an instant hit in my books.
We were so impressed with Fidel Gastro’s that I wanted to take my picture with him. I even asked him to promote his food truck for me to post on my blog.
Some time later, we had to treat ourselves to something sweet. It just so happens there was a food truck that sold Churros. Nothing better than eating a sweet, deep fried pastry sprinkled with sugar and injected with caramel syrup.
At the end of the day, we were exhausted from all the shopping and pigging out on food. If you can make the trip to Toronto while the CNE is opened, you must try the experience of walking throughout the entire grounds. Make a second day trip if you can’t finish it all. Even as I get a little older, it makes me feel like a little kid all over again.
Recently I had this craving for a sandwich. But not any ordinary sandwich like a BLT or a Subway. I wanted something that would please my cravings but I couldn’t put my finger on what I really had the appetite for.
So I ran out to the grocery store and walked around the deli aisle. Batches of ham, roast beef and turkey all lined up in the showcase staring at me. Then I had a flash memory of the trip I took with my wife to Spain.
Two hours before our tour bus drove into Toledo, we stopped in a small town that had a deli with all these cured meats hanging from the ceiling. As appetizing as it looked, we wanted to sit down and enjoy our meal rather than taking it away.
Then we stopped at this small cafe where I decided to order a sandwich combo with 2 bottles of 7up. Just 10 minutes later, out came our soft drinks along with a small dish of olives, a tapas plate of “Pa amb tomaquet” which is a bread with tomato, and a few chicken croquettes otherwise known to us as deep fried mashed potatoes stuffed with chicken and cheese.
Soon after a large, crusty bread glazed with olive oil, filled with a few slices of prosciutto landed right in front of me. My eyes lit up! I remember how the sound of crunchy bread was music to my ears; the salty taste of prosciutto melting in my mouth. It was the best sandwich I had ever eaten.
So guess what I made at home? I modified that sandwich a little to the ingredients sold here in Canada. Fresh crusty toasted bread lined with margarine, filled with two pieces of dry prosciutto and a slice of swiss melted cheese. Yes, I must have the cheese! My wife reminded me that we paid 25 euros for that meal which was about $40.00 at that time. This sandwich just cost me $1.50.
Anyways this is how it looks. My lunch made me smile not only because it tasted great but also that it came with such a great memory. I hope one day my wife and I will have a chance to go back again.
Try it for yourself and tell me what you think!