Canadian Cuisine

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 12:00 am

shrimpsWhat do back or peameal bacon, Tourtière and pâté à la râpure, hearty breads, pâté chinois, baked cream corn and peas, fiddlehead ferns, Fèves au Lard, pemmican, cheese curds, flipper pie, and toutins have in common? These are some of the foods and cuisines commonly found in Canada. Due to various influences and multi-cultural heritage, the country’s regions boasts of unique and varying cuisines.

If you to to areas in Canada where the English have had strong influences, then you’ll get to see and eat food prepared the traditional British way. The same goes with areas that have rich French heritage like in Quebec. Canadian cuisines in Quebec show strong French influences with a couple of changes with the locals adapting their cooking to their supplies of ingredients.

Among the more famous dishes are the pâté chinois or "Chinese pie" or Quebecois shepherd’s pie and other meat pies like the tourtière and pâté à la râpure. The bouilli which is a ham and vegetable harvest meal, along with pea soups, baked beans, cretons, stew of pig legs, maple desserts and St. Catherine’s taffy are also found in Quebec.

Prominent in a Canadian dining table are baked foods. This food group can include baked wild game like caribou, venison, bear, partridge, and rabbit. Also a common part of Canadian food preparations are seasonal and fresh ingredients. Preserves, as well, are mainstays in Canadians kitchens.

Meanwhile, when you go westwards, you’ll find cuisines with a hint of German, Ukrainian, Polish, and Scandinavian influences. British Columbia maintains strong cuisine traditionally of British origins.

Up north, in the Arctic and Canadian Territories, the manner of food preparation draws heavily on wild game prepared via methods which draws heavily on Inuit cooking techniques. On the other hand, Newfoundland and other maritime provinces have the British and Irish cooking as their main influences.

Toutins is one common dish in Newfoundland which is basically fried bread. Newfoundland is also famous for wild partridge berries, seal flippers, and cod tongues. However, cods have been fished almost to extinction and Newfoundland fishermen are turning to squid and shellfish to make their living. On the meantime, Nova Scotia is likewise famous for seafood cooking which include dishes of Digby scallops and Atlantic lobsters.

Even though regions find themselves having their own specialties, recent migration trends have brought many cooking preparation techniques from one region to another. So the originally Atlantic lobster, Belon oysters and Bras d’or of Nova Scotia can now be found as far in-land as Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

The same goes with Matane shrimps, Brome Lake Duckling, wild rice, Arctic char, Winnipeg gold eye, Alberta beef, salmon caviar and Pacific oysters. These foods are now distributed all throughout Canada.

Canadians have very sweet teeth, as can be seen in the array of sweets and desserts their menus has to offer. They have practically every kind of berries imaginable, from blueberries to blackberries, gooseberries, saskatoonberries, pearberries, salmonberries, and cranberries.

Other popular desserts are pets de soeurs or those pastry doughs with brown sugar and cream filling. There are some weird sounding ones as well, like the beaver which are also known as elephant ears or moose antlers, Persians which looks like a cross between a cinnamon bun and a doughnut with strawberry icing on top, Nougabricot which is unique to Quebecois and consists of apricots, almonds, and pistachios, Moosehunters which are Molasses cookies, and figgy duff, a pudding found in Newfoundland.