Generally, Canada does not fall under categories listing the nations with the finest or most unique gastronomical experiences. But this popular belief, in turn, makes the country an under-rated gem for food lovers! And if nothing, it has led to an upturn in the creation of a food industry that seeks differentiation. Here, we discuss the top 10 reasons why a foodie would revere Canada as a great destination for a culinary vacation:
1. Variety in symmetry with its size
With the second largest land mass in the world, Canada is obviously brimming with food resources. In a country so large, it’s natural that each province is home to an altogether different set of signature dishes. While Quebec is the maple syrup capital of the world, British Columbia is the destination for seafood enthusiasts and delicious blueberries. While baking the Arctic Char is a specialty in the Northwestern Territories, devouring the Beaver Tail during the winters is a must in Ontario.
2. Diversity in terms of gastronomy
Canada is known to have a golden heart, welcoming every individual regardless of ethnicity, race or nationality. Naturally, the country is flush with a diverse food industry. The major cities like Toronto are extensive hosts to the ‘towns’ and mini-cities – Chinatown, Koreatown, Greektown, little Italy and little Italy. Alongside these areas are the innumerable cuisines originating from all over the world and festivals such as Halal Food Fest to highlight the Islam-friendly way of eating and the Salsa festival depicting the fun and frolic side along with food from Latin America.
3. Elevating cultural openness – (Part I)
Hosting cultural festivals and creating mini-cities based on geographical similarities is just a part of Canada’s cultural diversity food-wise. To satisfy your desire to spend a few hours living the life of a traditional Viking, Lightkeepers Seafood restaurant, better known as the Great Viking Feast is the place to be. Guzzle down classic dishes like cod tongues, capelin, moose stew and shrimp rice during the summer months in this charming restaurant based in Newfoundland.
If devouring food without a fork like a Viking isn’t up to your speed, head over to one of Ontario’s finest live music venues - Revival House. It doubles down as a magnificent Baptist church that has been converted into a fine dining setting serving French-style delicacies with local and environment-friendly ingredients.
4.Elevating cultural openness – (Part II)
Moreover, entertainment media can portray and make its audience get a feel of national cultures. One such movie was Casablanca. The founders of The Sultan’s Tent and Café Moroc took inspiration from Casablanca and recreated an ambiance reciprocating 19th century Morocco. The setup includes plush divan-style seating arrangements in a candle-lit tent, with jewel-coloured fabrics and a 30-minute belly-dance performance, all to extend the warmth of the Moroccan culture in an exotic setting.
The small town of Coombs in British Columbia, on the other hand, is home to a subtle yet amusing gourmet market. Founded by locals who originally descended upon the town from Norway, Old Country Market has been built with sod roofs, keeping in mind their Norwegian heritage. Although the market is internationally popular thanks in part to its bakery, intriguing gifts, global foods and its restaurant, the major credit in making the market stand out are the goats casually grazing on the roof.
5. Taste the Senses
In today’s digital era, where taking pictures of the food even before taking a bite is considered normal, O.Noir and Ô6 Sens have created an alternate dining experience. The two eateries have set up offbeat experiences for food enthusiasts in pitch darkness. The idea is to stimulate an individual’s senses in complete darkness in the company of servers bereft of sight.
In terms of a traditional fine dining experience, Boralia is hands down the unrivaled winner. The menu is designed to rejuvenate and commemorate the authentic Canadian cuisine from centuries ago. The restaurant, based in Toronto covers every bit of the country’s culinary origins, whether they were created by the original inhabitants or the 18th and 19th-century immigrants.
7. Belgian waffles at an altitude of 6053 ft, anyone?
Image credit: whistlerblackcomb.com
Crystal Hut, perched at an altitude of 1,845m on Blackcomb Mountain has been ranked as a Top 10 mountain top restaurant. Although it needs no guessing, the sight while dining here is purely blissful. Add to that a delicious menu specializing in wood-oven baked lunch dishes and the previously mentioned waffles making it a must visit spot when you’re traveling to its neck of the woods. Oh and another thing, the patio sit-out literally hangs over the edge of the Ridge.
8. Toronto Poop Café
Now that the finest restaurants in the cities have been tried, the delightfully unusual experiences have been tested, the adventurous foodie within you has been fulfilled, how about a café that has become a viral sensation due to its incredibly wacky theme? Toronto Poop Café has been designed with just two thoughts in mind, dessert, and excretion. The entire menu spread across sweet dishes like waffles and ice cream, along with the furniture and art design are all in the shapes related to poop, like toilet-like seating, toilet-shaped ceramic bowls, urinal cups and bathtubs amongst others.
9. Leaving a mark on the planet – (Part I)
Image credit: seriouseats.com
Canadians are known to have ventured into the art of combining different foods into one, creating a fusion that might sound disturbing but are indeed quite popular and are worth experimenting for sure. The primary obsession in Canada is Poutine, a synthesis of French fries, gravy, and cheese. Such is its popularity that there have been calls for it be declared the national dish.
Another staple in the country and one that is widely known is Maple syrup, but for some reason, there’s a fusion of a donut where in maple syrup is combined with crispy bacon and somehow it works. Yet another example can be seen in the fusion of two mainstream cuisines – Sushi pizza. Technically it didn’t originate in Canada but it has gained significant popularity in recent times. Canadians don’t seem to be afraid to venture into the unknown, especially with the usually safe cuisines.
10. Leaving a mark on the planet – (Part II)
Image credit: mtlblog.com
As mentioned above, Canada can be credited with Maple Syrup and Poutine, which is now quite popular in the western world. Besides the two, Canada has expertly catered to the sweet tooth-seeking market. Butter tarts and BeaverTails are two of the popular creations. Butter tarts have its origins in the early 17th century and are Canadian through and through. Crumbly, pastry shell shaped desserts filled with butter, sugar, syrup, eggs and more butter with slight variations including nuts and raisins can be found all over the country.
On the other hand, BeaverTail is a trademarked treat made by a chain of pastry stands that are popular especially during winters. The dessert, fried in the shape of real beaver tails often come topped with chocolate, fruit, candy, and nuts. Also, it has previously received the nod from former US President Barack Obama.
There you have it! Whether you want the usual fine dining experience, a culturally stimulating time over food and drinks, experiment fusion dishes like the locals, or if you’re simply amused dining with the knowledge that there is a goat grazing a few feet above you, Canada has certainly got you covered.
Been thinking of going on a culinary focused getaway? Be sure to check out the vast selection of scrumptious food tours available at BookCulinaryVacations.com! Want to check out more of Manish’s travel tips? Head on over to Untravel’s blog!