Tag Archives: Canadian

farm boy thanksgiving dinner 2021

We Tried 4 Canadian Thanksgiving Meal Kits, Here’s How They Really Turned Out

Whether you’re getting together with extended family or having an intimate dinner for two, the thought of making a complete Thanksgiving feast can be daunting even for the most seasoned home cooks.

Thankfully,  there are solid meal kit options on the market that can take the planning, shopping, and stress out of the equation so that you can focus on cooking (or heating up) something impressive and delicious. To help guide your Thanksgiving meal planning, we tried four of the most popular Thanksgiving meal kits on the market. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts, and see how the meal kits actually turned out compared to the pictures.

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

chef's plate thanksgiving dinner

Left: Chefs Plate’s Thanksgiving Turkey & Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Chefs Plate: Thanksgiving Turkey & Thyme Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Perfect For: An Intimate Dinner For Two

Price: $9.99 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via chefsplate.com by October 7th for delivery from October 8th-15th.

Why it’s great: Roasting a whole turkey for two people just doesn’t make sense. For an intimate Thanksgiving feast, the turkey dinner for two option from Chef’s Plate is the perfect solution. With gourmet touches like truffle salt mashed potatoes and maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, this turkey dinner can double as a luxurious date night meal. Bonus: this kit is available to order for 2-16 people, so you can order it even if you’re having a larger gathering.

How it compares: Despite having Thanksgiving touches like turkey and mashed potatoes, this meal kit tasted decidedly less Thanksgiving-y than the other kits (likely because of the mushroom gravy and lack of classic flavours like cranberry sauce and stuffing). Still, it’s a delicious meal that feels subtly festive, and the maple-bacon Brussels sprouts were a real standout.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

hello fresh thanksgiving box

Left: Hello Fresh’s Thanksgiving Box. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Hello Fresh: The Thanksgiving Box

Perfect For: A Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Dinner with All the Fixings

Price: $23.33 per person (boxes starting at $139.99)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via hellofresh.com by September 29th for delivery on October 7th.

Why it’s great: Hosting a crowd? Hello Fresh has you covered with their Thanksgiving Box that comes in two serving sizes to feed 6 or 10 people. If you’re looking for a complete turkey dinner with all the fixings, this is it! The kit includes ingredients for sage-roasted rolled turkey with gravy, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle, garlic-infused mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and almonds, dinner rolls with herb garlic butter, cranberry sauce with orange zest, and a dessert of graham cracker crust pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The comprehensive instructions guide perfectly times out your cooking process, so you know exactly when to simmer that cranberry sauce mash those potatoes, all while your turkey roasts in the oven. If it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you simply do not have the energy to put together a menu and buy all the ingredients (we don’t blame you!) but still want to cook something special, this is the kit for you.

How it compares: This is by far the most labour-intensive meal kit, but it really pays off with a whopping eight dishes including dessert (and nine if you add on the vegetarian main of Mushroom and Leek Stuffed Squash). While some of the sides are more simple (like the buttered green beans) compared to the sides in the other kits, it still makes for an exceptionally satisfying complete turkey dinner experience.

Left: Goodfood’s Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Goodfood: Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Broccoli, Onion and Squash Mash

Perfect For: The Last-Minute Get-Together

Price: $9.98 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via makegoodfood.ca by 12 pm EST for same day delivery by 8 pm EST from October 4th-10th.

Why it’s great: So you forgot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner fixings? No problem! Goodfood’s Thanksgiving dinner kit can be ordered for same day delivery (yes, really!) so you can decide to host in the morning and have an impressive meal on the table that same evening. While this is the only kit that doesn’t offer turkey, it still satisfies those traditional Thanksgiving flavour cravings with its cranberry sauce and squash mash.

How it compares: This kit was by far the easiest to cook, coming together (as advertised) in just 30 minutes. The combination of colours between the squash, red onion and broccoli was also especially stunning and made for a really enticing plate.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

farm boy thanksgiving dinner

Farm Boy Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner for Two. Right: Our plating of the meal.

Farm Boy: Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner For Two

Perfect For: The Hands-Off Chef

Price: $79.99

Availability: Order within Ontario via farmboy.ca, by October 3rd for in-store pick up from October 8th-10th.

Why it’s great: If cooking isn’t your thing but you’re still craving the smell of roasted turkey with stuffing wafting through your home, the Farm Boy Thanksgiving Dinner is your best bet. A complete Thanksgiving meal that you can heat up in 30 minutes is a pretty wonderful experience, and this meal kit features Ontario turkey with savoury turkey gravy, cranberry ginger sauce, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, maple bacon Brussels sprouts and a buttery Cranberry Pecan Tart for dessert. Farm Boy also offers their Thanksgiving Dinner in larger formats for 6-8 people priced at $169.99.

How it compares: Unsurprisingly, this prepared meal comes with the highest price tag per serving, an important factor to keep in mind. That said, the price tag is reflected in the presentation and organization: each dish comes individually packaged and beautifully arranged with straightforward heating instructions. While you can certainly remove the turkey, stuffing, mash and veggies from the packaging, we opted to keep them in the packaging because it was already so nicely plated.  Bonus: Farm Boy is extra generous with the servings of stuffing. And the dessert, a Cranberry Pecan Tart, is drizzled with dark chocolate and is simply divine

Availability: Farm Boy Indulgence Dinner for Two, farmboy.ca, $79.99. Order within Ontario by October 3rd for in-store pick up on October 8th, 9th or 10th.

Craving more Thanksgiving inspiration? See our best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Holiday Potluck. 

the best new farm boy products for fall 2021

The 7 Best New Farm Boy Products to Try This Fall

If you’re anything like us, you’re already completely obsessed with Farm Boy – also known as Canada’s answer to Trader Joe’s. While we’d be remiss to write this article without shouting out our all-time Farm Boy favourites (the lemon-garlic dressing, chocolate almonds, and spicy kale edamame dip to name a few!), it’s time to say hello to Farm Boy’s latest crop of game-changing products. Here are our top picks for fall:

farm boy cream soda caramel corn

Farm Boy Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn, $3.99/280g

Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn

Caramel popcorn and cream soda is the unexpected snack mashup you need in your life. With notes of banana swirled into the pink cream soda drizzle, it lends the classic sweet snack a welcome note of nostalgia. Who needs to choose between popcorn, soda pop and candy when you can have all three?!

farm boy truffle pepperoni sticks

Farm Boy Truffle Pepperoni Sticks, $8.99/150g

Truffle Pepperoni Sticks

Truffle lovers, rejoice! These truffle pepperettes contain real summer truffle (none of the synthetic stuff!) and have a rich umami flavour that would be right at home on a luxe charcuterie board beside a thick chunk of brie and some herb-studded crackers. While we’re certainly fans of this truffley creation, they aren’t for the faint of heart – opt for the equally delicious Olive Pepperettes if you plan on sharing with kiddos or the truffle-averse.

farm boy tostadas

Farm Boy Tostadas, $3.49/350g

Tostadas

Looking to switch up your Taco Tuesday routine? These certified gluten-free tostadas are the answer, and contain just four simple ingredients: yellow corn flour, water, sunflower oil and salt. Supremely sturdy with just the right amount of crunch, you can pile them high with your favourite taco toppings. Bonus: we have a feeling they’d make for an *excellent* addition to at-home version of a Crunchwrap Supreme.

farm boy tomatillo and jalapeno salsa

Farm Boy Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa, $4.99/300ml

Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa

You’d never guess that this sophisticated salsa comes from a jar. With an inviting deep green colour and complex smoky flavour palate, this is not your average salsa! Keep this alongside a bag of corn chips in the pantry to serve when unexpected guests arrive and they’ll be impressed by your gourmet hosting abilities.

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water, $1.49/1L

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy’s organic sparkling waters are always an instant add-to-cart (we’ve been known to buy five cases of the Orange Vanilla at a time), so we were delighted to get our hands on their latest flavour. It tastes like a fizzy sparkling hybrid of cantaloupe and watermelon, and we’re officially hooked.

farm boy seafood paella kit

Farm Boy Seafood Paella Kit, $6.99/255g

Paella Kit

ICYMI: Paella is trending right now, and you don’t have to be a pro chef to make it at home! Farm Boy makes it easy with this straightforward kit that contains traditional ingredients like olive oil, bomba rice, and delicate saffron for quick prep, all you have to do is add in your favourite seafood and veggies.

farm boy fruit and vegetable wash

Farm Boy Fruit and Vegetable Wash, $4.99/496ml

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

While there’s nothing wrong with washing your fruits and veggies  the old fashioned way, this all-natural, fragrance-free alternative helps the process of removing pesticides, and eliminating bacteria without the soak time. Just spray and rinse!

 

an assortment of pastries from barbershop patisserie

3 Things You Must Try From Barbershop Patisserie in Toronto

Charming patisseries on cobblestone streets feel like a distant European travel daydream these days – that is, until we discovered Barbershop Patisserie. The decadent European-inspired pastry shop feels like a glimpse into Parisian café culture, with a hint of London pasty shops mixed in (their signature pastry is a savoury sausage roll!), all in the heart of Toronto. After gobbling up our pastry haul, we found ourselves scraping up each fallen pastry flake and eating them off our (sanitized) fingers because we just couldn’t bear to waste a single one.

pastries from barbershop patisserie

What You Need to Know About Barbershop Patisserie

Located on a bustling stretch of College St. in the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, Barbershop Patisserie is the brainchild of renowned pastry chef Jill Barber (formerly of Black Bird Baking Co. and Paradise on Bloor). The takeaway shop opened mid-pandemic in late 2020 to great acclaim, regularly selling out of their buzzy pastries midday. Their rotating menu of pastries, cakes and cookies makes the most of fresh, seasonal produce for their fruit and veggie-based pastries, and fresh meat from local butchers for their meaty hand pies and pastries. They also serve up frothy coffee and tea based-lattes that pair perfectly with their baked confections.

See More: What’s in Season? Your Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

 

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Must-Try Baked Goods at Barbershop Patisserie

Sausage Roll Bites

barbershop patisserie sausage roll bites on a white and blue patterned plate
No trip to Barbershop Patisserie would be complete without trying one of their iconic sausage rolls, and we instantly fell in love with these mini bite-sized versions of their classic sausage roll. Reminiscent of London sausage pasties, the hearty sausage filling was perfectly spiced and the golden pastry shell held the roll together firmly, despite being oh-so delicate. Plus, the mini size (and price at just $1!) meant we could try even more off the menu, which is always a win in our books.

Roasted Eggplant Tart

The savoury veggie tarts at Barbershop Patisserie are often overshadowed by their sausage-filled counterparts, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not add one of these to your order. With plump eggplants currently in season, the seasonal veggie tart du jour was the roasted eggplant tart with fresh cream, spiced shallots and garlic chili oil. While eggplant isn’t typically a veggie found atop French pastries, you’d never guess it from this sophisticated tart – it was delightfully creamy with just a hint of spice, and the eggplant skin was so delicate that it just about melted into the flaky pastry.

Related: Tasty Indigenous Restaurants in Canada That You’ll Love

Chocolate Fudge Cake

A decadent slice of Barbershop Patisserie chocolate fudge cake on a patterned plate
A decadent slice of chocolate cake is always a good idea, and this single-serving portion of Barbershop Patisserie’s chocolate fudge cake is no exception. Moist layers of chocolate cake are sandwiched between thick, creamy chocolate icing for pure chocolatey bliss. At just the right level of sweet, our only regret is not getting a second slice for later.

Tip: Barbershop Patisserie also creates custom large cake orders, so you can order XL versions of this chocolate cake and other show-stopping creations for a crowd.

 

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Craving more Toronto restaurant recommendations? See our 3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto!

Viaggio Toronto - overhead shot of pizza, pasta and bomba sauce

3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto

Here’s a confession: both my dinner companion (content creator and host of Baking Therapy Sabrina Stavenjord) and I were eating low-carb diets when we met up for dinner. But when the two of us sat down at the marble tables on the spacious outdoor patio in Little Portugal’s Viaggio, we knew that it would not be a low-carb night – and if you’re going to break a diet, this is the way to do it!

Related: Tasty Indigenous Restaurants in Canada That You’ll Love

What You Need to Know About Viaggio

Viaggio is located in a historic building on the corner of Toronto’s Dundas and Lansdowne with a covered patio tucked away at the side of the building. They don’t take reservations so you’ll want to come early to avoid disappointment (because trust me, missing out on Chef Jon Vettraino’s classic yet oh-so-indulgent dishes would be very disappointing). Viaggio features a rotating menu of classic Italian fare made with the season’s best offerings. For a late-summer dinner, that meant options like Zucchini Flowers, Corn and Chanterelle Risotto and Strawberry and Earl Grey Budino in addition to classics like Cacio e Pepe and Margherita Pizza.

Burrata, pizza bread balloon, wine and cocktails at Viaggio
Burrata with figs, aged balsamic and candied pecans and the Pizza Bread Balloon

Must-Order Dishes at Viaggio

Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini flowers Lightly fried, ricotta and parmigiano filled flowers, romesco sauce
Lightly fried, ricotta and Parmigiano-filled flowers served on Romesco sauce

If you’re lucky enough to eat at Viaggio when zucchini flowers are in season, these cheese-stuffed beauties are a must-try (but if not, look for anything cheese-stuffed on the menu and you’ll be just as satisfied). These were served with a lightly garlicky Romesco that was the perfect pairing for these delicate seasonal veggies.

See More: What’s in Season? Your Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

The Pizza

Prince of Bologna pizza with bomba sauce
Prince of Bologna pizza with bomba sauce

A perfectly chewy crust, loads of cheese and a smattering of toppings to suit your taste buds – these pizzas are a must-try. We had the Prince of Bologna, a mozzarella and Parmigiano-topped pizza with a generous helping of mortadella, pistachios and honey for a hint of sweetness. Served with the spicy bomba sauce, it was *chef’s kiss*. Pro tip: if you can’t decide between pizza or a pasta dish, try the Pizza Bread Balloon as a starter with an appetizer.

Tiramisu Pancakes

Viaggio Tiramisu Pancakes
Tiramisu Pancakes with Mascarpone cream, marsala and espresso syrup

If we had to pick just one thing (and wouldn’t that be a shame?) from Viaggio’s menu, this would be it. Luckily for diners, this is on both the dessert menu for dinnertime guests as well as the weekend brunch menu, because who doesn’t love a sweet start to their day? The fluffiest pancakes (think Japanese soufflé-style) are drizzled with espresso maple syrup and topped with a mountain of Mascarpone whipped cream for a heavenly dessert that you’ll come back for again and again (trust us!).

Photos courtesy of Sabrina Stavenjord.

Homemade Purple Japanese Ube Ice Cream in a Bowl

Flavour Trends to Watch For According to the Latest Flavour Forecast

Homemade Purple Japanese Ube Ice Cream

The 21st McCormick Flavour Forecast has released its most recent report naming what Canadians can expect next in terms of flavour.

The Flavour Forecast has been breaking down the flavours Canadians want in their food for over two decades and this round is no exception; The team behind the report includes chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers and others in the food industry, with the goals of encouraging exploration and innovation around the world and in the kitchen.

Related: How to Properly Dispose of Cooking Oil

The research was based on a series of virtual, interactive at-home culinary experiences. The experiences spanned the previous year and were led by chefs, exploring flavours that range from nutritious to decadent, and varying in taste, colour, and texture – both in food and drink.

The 21st edition of the Flavour Forecast identified four key flavour trends based on what was most popular: Plants pushing boundaries; humble nosh; underwater, underdiscovered; and physiological eating.

Related: 5 Hot New Releases to Binge on Amazon Prime This Summer

Here is what you can expect with each:

Plants Pushing Boundaries

We know that plant-based is no longer a “trend” but a way of life for many – even those who are flexitarian, or simply looking to fold more fruits, veggies and botanicals into their diets. The people at McCormick agree. Plants are bringing indulgence, brilliant colour, hearty texture and flora-focused eating to the forefront.

Key flavours to look for:
Ube (purple yam)
Szechuan buttons (edible flower buds)
Trumpet mushrooms

Related: Allison Gibson Talks Launching Food Businesses and Reclaiming the Term “Ethnic Food”

Various spices spread across a light-surfaced table

Humble Nosh

With so many borders closed to international tourism, Canadians are wanting to venture out with their plates. Bold, niche global flavours are still front and centre on people’s minds, and on their palettes. The good news is that Canada offers no shortage of ways to satisfy these cravings.

Key flavours to look for:
Chaat masala (Indian spice blend)
Pandan kaya (Malaysian jam)
Crisped chilies

Related: Food Activist and Dietitian Rosie Mensah Looks at Nutrition Through a Social Justice Lens

A bowl of Wakame seaweed salad

Underwater, Underdiscovered

Going underwater now also means going deeper, and looking further. Plant-based is by no means exclusive to the land, and Canadians are increasingly looking for flavours and ingredients that feature both fresh and saltwater botanicals like seaweeds and even algae.

Key flavours to look for:
Dulse (red sea lettuce flakes)
Spirulina (blue-green algae)
Sea grapes (soft, green algae)

Related: This Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad is the Perfect BBQ Side Dish

Ginger and halved lemon spread on table with mint leaves

Physiological Eating

Leaning into India’s 5,000-year old tradition of Ayurveda that embraces a traditional, healthy lifestyle rooted in mind-body, harmony, growth and self-love, physiological eating also taps into the related six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, stringent, and pungent). Each offer warming and cooling benefits to help provide comfort to the physical body.

Key flavours to look for:
Coriander
Lemon
Sea salt
Cumin
Turmeric
Ginger

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Related: 15 Popular Foods That Grow in Very Surprising Ways

Food Network’s Rigatoni Pie is the OG TikTok Honeycomb Pasta (and Now We Want Both!)

You might’ve seen the honeycomb pasta hack that has gone viral on TikTok, in which Anna Rothfuss AKA @bananalovesyoutoo stuffs string cheese in rigatoni pasta, layering on sauce, ground meat and grated cheese for good measure. We daresay this popular quick meal evokes a Food Network Canada eye-catching favourite: our very own 20-minute, 10-ingredient Rigatoni Pie. While slightly more elevated in flavour (no string cheese here), this vegetarian version is equally melty and gooey and just as straight-forward to make for a quick weeknight meal — all with simple pantry ingredients you likely already have on hand.

rigatoni pie on white plate

Looking to save additional time? Instead of making your own tomato sauce, swap in four cups of store-bought marinara. For meat-lovers, you can mix things up too by adding cooked ground meat to the sauce (just note: you’ll need less of the sauce). This delicious budget-friendly comfort food will be a fan favourite at home, and the good news is the yield is high, so there will be plenty to go around.

Watch the how-to video here:


Rigatoni Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
9 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 15-oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb(s) rigatoni
1 lb(s) part-skim mozzarella, grated
⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat 4 Tbsp of the olive oil with the garlic in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it begins to sizzle, cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, then add the tomatoes and 1 ½ cups water. Increase the heat to high and bring the tomato sauce to a boil, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes then puree in a blender until smooth.

Related: This Feta Tomato Pasta Trending on TikTok is as Easy as 1-2-3

2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it is slightly less than al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.

3. Stand the rigatoni on their ends in the prepared pan until it is completely filled (you might not use all the pasta). Place the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch drips. Pour the sauce over the noodles, spreading it with the back of a spoon (You might not use all the sauce.) Sprinkle the pasta with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Related: I Tried Meghan Markle’s “Filthy, Sexy” Zucchini Pasta Sauce — Here’s How It Stacked Up

4. Cover the pan with foil, doming it slightly to avoid touching the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes more. Let the pasta cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the sides of the pan, cut into wedges and serve.

The Sweet Prairie History of Girl Guide Cookies

When the Girl Guides of Canada come a-knockin’, the gut reaction for many Canadians is to pull out their wallet and loosen their belts. Few Canucks can resist a box (or two) of Girl Guide cookies, famed for their chocolate and vanilla icing, squeezed between crunchy cookie layers.

But did you know that the now famous cookies were invented on the Canadian Prairies? It started in 1927, when one Girl Guide leader in Regina, Saskatchewan baked and packaged batches of cookies for her troupe to sell, hoping to raise funds for uniforms and camping equipment. Little did she know that her tasty treats would kick off a feeding frenzy spanning close to a century! Seeing the sales of the Regina troupe, Girl Guides of Canada joined the party in 1929, making  cookie sales the official fundraising activity for the organization.

However, the types of treats have evolved throughout the decades, starting with vanilla creme, maple cream and shortbread cookies in 1946. It wasn’t until 1953 that the classic chocolate and vanilla-flavoured sandwich cookies first made a cameo on the sweets scene. Finally, in 1995, a new kid on the block was born: crunchy, chocolatey cookies with a cool mint filling. But one thing hasn’t changed; the cookie craze across Canada continues almost 100 years later, with several million boxes of cookies sold in Ontario alone. If the boxes were laid down on a road, it would reach from Windsor to Timmins. That’s a lot of cookie love!

DIY vegan Girl Guide thin mints

Get the recipe for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Thin Mint Cookies

Ever since Girl Guides started selling door-to-door, Girl Guide cookies have become one of Canada’s best-loved food traditions — one that’s held a special place in Canada’s culinary history. During the Gulf War in the 1990s, every Canadian soldier was given a box of cookies upon arrival in Saudi Arabia and there are photographs of Canadian astronaut (and former Girl Guide) Roberta Bondar juggling vanilla and chocolate cookies in space.

The best part? Snacking on these crunchy and creamy cookies benefits more than your belly. The dough (no pun intended) goes towards supporting Girl Guides of Canada’s programming, which provides opportunities for girls to discover, explore, be adventurous and make a difference, while building the leadership and life skills.

Do you want more delicious Canadian food history? We roundup the history of Classic Canadian foods, from poutine to Hawaiian pizza.

Published March 16, 2017, Updated March 1, 2021

Meet the Canadian Women Helping to Bring Gender Equality to the Wine World

It’s clear within minutes of our three-way phone chat that Emily Pearce and Jennifer Huether love talking about wine, from the terroir to the nitty-gritty details of winemaking. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, there’s something refreshing about hearing two women at the top of their game speak passionately about the grape. Not only do the Toronto-based entrepreneurs boast an encyclopedic knowledge on the subject, but they’ve also enjoyed massive success with Femmes du Vin — a  non-profit organization that launched less than five years ago.

“The story of Femmes du Vin is really about grassroots growth. It started in 2016 in my backyard in Toronto,” says founding president Pearce. “I got this idea to have a social event that was a safe space for women in the wine industry to come together to have a place to network, discuss successes and analyze challenges.”

What started as a small gathering has since transformed into the massively successful Harvest Seminars where speakers and attendees tune in from around the world to talk wine and culture.

For decades, women sommeliers or wine enthusiasts have been few and far between, with men dominating the conversation and top positions. Now, Pearce and Huether, master sommelier and  director of education at Femmes du Vin, are pushing for more inclusion of women in the wine world.

Related: Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

Emily Pearce

Tell us about the genesis and evolution of Femmes du Vin and why it’s needed in the wine industry today.

Emily Pearce: “Eventually, [the backyard event] outgrew me setting up a tent and making homemade sushi in my backyard. We had our first brick and mortar event [in 2019] and it continued to grow out of community demand to what it was [in 2020] — which was an amazing virtual event with speakers and attendees from across the world. It speaks to the hunger in our industry for these safe places in our community for women to connect. While there are still challenges women face — be it wage discrepancies that still exist or issues around discrimination or harassment — I really just wanted to create a place where women could build stronger networks.”

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

What were your earliest experiences in an industry dominated by men?

Jennifer Huether: “That’s a great question. Personally, I started out in the wine business about 22 years ago. I fell in love with wine, started taking some courses and became a sommelier. I can honestly say to you that, back then, I would look around and I could name maybe two other women sommeliers in Toronto — a massive, metropolitan city. And that certainly felt like the case wherever I went — whether I was flying to England for exams or on wine trips that were led by different countries, we [women] were always a very small minority in the group. At that time it was also a bit surprising for people to come across you, so they would unintentionally start mansplaining wine to you because they didn’t understand that you’d studied it or worked in it for several years.”

Related: Celebrating 10 Female Chefs That We Love, From Anna Olson to Molly Yeh

What shifts have you started to see since starting Femmes du Vin in 2016?

EP: “It’s two steps forward, one step back. I look at the top positions in our area [of Toronto] and we’re seeing a proliferation of women in top positions. But, on the other side, you see a continuation of discouraging things — whether that’s discrimination against women or perhaps harassment or other obstacles that still exist. I’ve worked very hard and I’m grateful for the positions I’ve held in the wine industry, but I’ve been on the other side of the table. I still think there are clear obstacles facing women. Having a family, for a woman in our industry, is tremendously challenging [for example].”

Jennifer Huether

How can Canadian wineries work toward including more women?

JH: “Some confidential conversations I’ve had with [female] winemakers said it was a really, really tough road for them. What they’ve done, sort of like what we’re doing, is create a bit of a community for each other where they’ll get together and chat and support each other.”

Related: Metis Herbalist and Educator Lori Snyder on Urban Foraging and Food Sovereignty

EP: “And what Femmes du Vin is doing is we’re working on a really exciting project with two wineries [The Grange from Prince Edward County and Benjamin Bridge from Nova Scotia] and we’re going to be doing a private label Femmes du Vin wine which is very exciting. We’re working with a local winemaking school to offer internships for women — hopefully BIPOC women — to work with head winemakers for these custom private labels for Femmes du Vin. It will provide them with professional one-on-one experience with head winemakers that they can actually put on their resumes to make them more professionally competitive when it comes to the market… It’s a small thing that might only help a handful of women each year, but we’re really excited to be able to leverage our network and work toward change. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of those wines will also be going into our scholarship fund for women in wine.”

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

What is your favourite wine?

JH: “Can we give you a wine region or a style? [laughs] For me, we’ve got to go to France and we’ve got to go to Burgundy. Then we have to go with white wine — a Chardonnay. They’re the most intriguing wines in the world.”

EP: “I would have to concur — a beautiful Chardonnay from Burgundy. Anything with the word Montrachet in it. It’s so expressive with its terroir [the natural environment where it’s produced] and it’s versatile with food. It’s something that is a treat — a desert island wine that is irresistible.”

Related: Top Pinot Gris Wines to Sip Right Now

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Feature photo courtesy of Unsplash; second and third photo courtesy of Emily Pearce and Jennifer Huether.

Eggs benny with peameal bacon

The History of Peameal Bacon — Plus Our Favourite Recipes

Canadians know peameal bacon as an iconic national breakfast food, but the back bacon’s backstory is even richer than its flavour. For those who don’t know, peameal bacon is wet-cured pork loin from the back of the hog that has been trimmed of fat and rolled in cornmeal, creating a yellow crust.  Originally, it was rolled in crushed yellow peas, hence the name peameal. It is much leaner than regular bacon.

White plate with three pieces of peameal bacon

Peameal bacon holds a spot in 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die and it’s easy to understand why. The brining process makes it nearly impossible to overcook and it’s both leaner and juicer than regular bacon. A uniquely Canadian product, it’s often confused with Canadian bacon. What is Canadian bacon? A smoked back bacon that’s popular in the US — and isn’t Canadian at all.

These days, it’s hard to find peameal bacon outside of Canada, making it a favourite with tourists at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market. The Carousel Bakery, which has occupied the same spot in the market since 1977, is a city landmark famous for its fresh peameal bacon sandwiches.

Related: The History of Cakes: From Red Velvet to German Chocolate

Robert Biancolin, who co-owns the bakery with his brother, dubs peameal bacon Toronto’s most original food. “It wasn’t brought here from somewhere else,” he says. “It is very uniquely Torontonian. Of course, like poutine was uniquely Quebecois, it spread across the country. It is one of those dishes that encompasses being Canadian. It is part of our tradition.”

Unlike Canadian bacon (which is, let’s not forget, American) peameal bacon must be cooked. Biancolin says the best way to prepare it is by griddling, although it can also be baked, barbecued or roasted.

Related: How to Make French Toast and Other Easy Big Breakfast Recipes

Peameal bacon is delicious, iconic and Canadian, but culinary historians have struggled to identify its origins with absolute certainty. “I don’t think that you’ll find a single origin story,” says Daniel Bender, director of Culinaria Research Centre and University of Toronto history professor. “There are and have been for centuries many ways of curing pork — ways of making it last through lean months. Smoking is one. Salting is another. Corning (curing through brine) exists in numerous locations and recipes.”

Toronto’s oral history offers a clue by naming pork baron William Davies the inventor of peameal bacon. This is the story that’s been passed down through muddy stockyards, told over deli counters and posted across the blogosphere — and while the well-told tale has likely changed over the years, that doesn’t mean it’s hogwash. What we do know is that William Davies forged an empire on bacon and other pork products.

William Davies stall, St. Lawrence Market, 1911

William Davies’ stall in the St. Lawrence Market, 1911.
City of Toronto Archives

By the early 1900s, with the help of business partner Joseph Flavelle, Davies had built what was believed to be the largest pork plant in the British Empire, processing nearly half a million hogs a year at his Front Street plant near the mouth of the Don River and earning Toronto its nickname: Hogtown.

Davies couldn’t have had better timing. By the Victorian era, bacon was considered a necessity and demand for the Canadian export was high. Canadian cured pork continued to be an important food product in Britain well into the Second World War, when the Bacon Agreement stipulated that the UK would accept no less than 5.6 million pounds of Canadian ham and bacon each week.

William Davies Store, interior, 1908

William Davies store interior, 1908. Sources differ on the store’s location, which was either in City Hall Square or on Queen Street West, between Bay and Yonge streets.

Changing dietary attitudes and demographics mean that Canadian pork isn’t as popular with Brits — or Canadians — as it once was. Still, Davies’ legacy lives on. His company would eventually become today’s Maple Leaf Foods, which still produces peameal bacon for national consumption.

Meanwhile, the St. Lawrence Market remains a hub for cured meats and other delicacies. Locals, tourists and celebrities continue to flock to the market,  going hog wild for Toronto’s most original food.

Peameal eggs benny

Feeling inspired? Here are some of our favourite recipes that use peameal bacon: Anna Olson’s Eggs Benedict With Peameal Bacon on Scallion Waffles and Tomato Cream, Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich and Maple Bourbon Peameal Bacon Sliders.

Published March 29, 2016, Updated December 20, 2020

Photos courtesy of Getty Images and City of Toronto Archives

Anthony Auciello Jr., the founder and co-owner of TerraCello winery

Meet the Youngest Self-Funded Winery Owner in Ontario’s History

There are a few reasons multiple reviews refer to TerraCello as a “hidden jewel” in the heart of Prince Edward County wine region. TerraCello is a non-commercialized, artisan, farm winery. The vibe is in a laid-back bucolic setting. Outside is a rustic patio, fire pit and outdoor wood oven and kitchen. Inside boasts a wood fireplace, lounge, tasting rooms, barrel room and a second clay pizza oven imported from Naples, Italy.

Anthony Auciello Jr., the founder and co-owner of TerraCello Winery, employs traditional, old-fashioned Italian methods to make certified natural wine and authentic Neapolitan pizza. He is also the youngest self-funded winery owner in Ontario’s history. Tony is the personification of hospitality: charming, warm, generous, and radiating passion and appreciation for his trade.

Anthony Auciello Jr., the founder and co-owner of TerraCello winery

The winery is a
tribute to Tony’s late father

“People know me for my wine and my pizza, but the real story is about a son paying tribute to his dad who passed away at a young age,” Tony explained. In 2004, Anthony paid a visit to his father’s home town of Anzano Di Puglia, Italy, which the locals referred to as Il Paradiso – The Paradise. The land was in bad shape. War and famine had pushed his uncle and grandfather out of Italy, and they were forced to abandon it. Overgrown bush and dirt mounds stood where plentiful fruit trees should have been. “It was an epiphany,” Tony said. When he returned to Canada, he would create the paradise his family was meant to have.

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

At the time living in Toronto, Tony and his girlfriend (now wife) Danielle moved to Prince Edward County. “My wife got dragged along for this long, bumpy, crazy ride. She was a city girl. She wanted to stay and be a teacher in Toronto. But I had this gnawing void.” After years of working on the winery, Tony’s health began to deteriorate because of the long hours of work he was putting in. He and Danielle were deep in debt and struggling to get by.

Danielle had never had the chance to meet Tony’s dad, but one night she had a dream about him. She said he was dressed up in a suit, looking handsome and immaculate. (Tony later explained that his father always dressed up, despite having no money or status to merit it). Danielle also said that in the dream that Tony’s father was driving an orange convertible. (Tony explained that his father’s first car in Canada in 1969 was an orange convertible Camaro). Danielle said Tony’s father gave her a hug and, with an arm around her, told her: “Please don’t worry about Anthony – he knows what he’s doing.”

Related: The Most Delicious Ways to Use Leftover Wine

With the $30 they had, Danielle went to Home Hardware and picked up a flag. She put it up at the road. Fifteen minutes later, two women walked in and bought the first bottle of wine they ever sold. “When they bought that wine, I swear to god it felt like they gave me fifty thousand dollars cash. It was like I had won the lottery,” Tony said. This first purchase washed away all the self-doubt that had been building up over the last five years of work. “I never looked back,” he said. “After that first bottle of wine, I said ‘we’re going to kill it. I’m not just going to do good pizza and wine; I’m going to become one of the best in Prince Edward County.’”

Outside TerraCello winery

They searched for a new property in the County. Where TerraCello now rests, there sits a giant well that separates the patio space from the vineyard. “When the owner showed me the well, I was sold,” Tony said. “The guys [who were here] were old, old school and I could relate because my dad was so old-fashioned.”

For five years, they worked 18 hours a day to restore and build the property into the gorgeous Italian farmhouse-style winery it is today. “Little by little, we built a reputation – one pizza at a time, one bottle of wine at a time. One customer at a time,” Tony said. On July 23, 2013, at 27 years old, Tony became the youngest self-funded winery owner in Ontario.

Outside TerraCello winery

Strict traditional methods

Tony executes a purist method. He is one of the few agriturismos in the County — the Italian tradition of farm to table. Tony fondly describes himself as “fanatical.” He is not only the owner, founder and financier, he is also the head winemaker and he makes all of the pizza dough, every single day, by hand.

The clay oven that they make most of their pizzas in is from Naples, Italy. Tony explained that making pizzas at scale in front a thousand-degree clay oven is very physically demanding, and not many can handle it. Apparently, it takes ten thousand hours to achieve the status of pizzaiolo. That’s a lot of flaming hot pizza.

Pizza oven inside TerraCello winery

COVID-19 has forced Tony to pull back on some expenses — such as, his membership to an official Canadian pizza organization — so that he could continue to spend on top quality ingredients. True to form, Tony gets all of his ingredients from Italy. The flour he uses costs about $50 per bag, and is approved by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (The Pizza Association of Naples). The tomatoes he uses are also Italy-approved. Everything, down to the handmade olive oil can from Naples, comes from age-old traditions. “If you ever have a pizza, even a margherita, and it’s got no oil, it’s not classified as a pizza. Period,” Tony warned. Italians are serious about their pizza. And after tasting it prepared in this way, so am I.

Pizza inside TerraCello winery

Natural winemaker

To classify as a natural wine, the grapes must be grown without pesticides, the wine must be stabilized naturally, it cannot be filtered and it cannot have any chemical additives. Most wines are processed by heavy filtering – “which is how 94% of the world’s wine is made,” Tony says. “I don’t believe in that.”
Woman holding glass of wine outside of TerraCello winery

Most of the time, natural wines are quite cloudy. By Canadian standards, we are legally allowed to put certain products in the wine to remove the cloudiness, but it goes against natural winemaking. The cloudiness is due to crystals in the wine that need to be precipitated out. In a modern setting, you’d use a tank with a chilling system. But as we know, Tony is a naturalist, so he does it the old-fashioned way. He opens the door in the wintertime and he allows the room to dip to -2 degrees for a week.

Related: The Most Expensive Wine and Spirits Ever Sold

The Boca Nera is his signature wine. An unfiltered, three-year in French oak aged, Barolo-style wine. Often called “The King of Wines,” Barolos are produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is made from the nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy’s greatest wines. Tony’s Boca Nera has notes of caramel, toffee and French vanilla. If you could bottle the feeling of abbiocco, this would be it.

Bottle of wine at TerraCello winery

“Wine is like paint by numbers these days,” Tony said. Society wants uniformity and homogenization because they want the wine to taste the same every year. According to an expose on Bloomberg, there are such a thing as wine “fixers.” These are white glove chemists, often employed by billionaires and large corporations, who fix wines that have gone awry to ensure they taste consistent across batches. “I don’t want to over-control the product. I want it to taste different,” Tony said.

All you need is the right environment

Tony doesn’t have Wi-Fi at the winery, and he is unapologetic about it. He wants people to talk to the person next to them. “And they’re liberated,” he says. “After two hours of sitting outside they say, ‘we just had the best time of our life.’ And I didn’t do nothing. I just took them away from the distractions.”

Bottle of wine and charcuterie plate outside of TerraCello winery

“I didn’t want it to be a commercial, cookie-cutter winery where you go in and you do the formal tasting, and it’s all a premeditated spiel,” said Tony, “I wanted to take TerraCello back to the way my dad and us grew up — very old school, very warm, less transactional.”

Photos courtesy of Sabrina Stavenjord @sabrinastavenjord

Halifax Donair

The Delicious History of the Halifax Donair

The next time you’re in Halifax, skip the lobster boil and go straight to the pizza shop instead. After all, that’s where you’ll find the city’s official snack: the Halifax donair.

Unless you’re a native Bluenoser, you may never have tasted this popular late-night snack, and experienced the unavoidable drip of garlicky donair sauce down your chin. The sloppy sandwich is a pita filled with spit roasted shaved beef, served with tomatoes and onions, slathered in the signature sauce.

“It’s spicy, eaten normally at midnight,” says Alain Bossé, a top chef from Pictou, Nova Scotia and ambassador of all things culinary in Atlantic Canada. “After a long night out, you line up at a pizza corner in Halifax. It’s a great hangover food!”

Related: 10+ Canadian First Nations Recipes to Make at Home

Halifax Donair

As the story goes, the Halifax donair was first invented in the 1970s by Peter Gamoulakos. Originally from Greece, he started selling Greek gyros (a pita stuffed with grilled lamb and tzatziki) from his restaurant located off the Bedford Highway. But the sandwich just didn’t jive with the East Coast’s “meat and potatoes” palate.

Swapping lamb for beef, the brothers whipped up a sweet “donair sauce” and tried again. This time, however, a feeding frenzy erupted and Halifax’s signature dish was born. The late-night favourite has become so popular that in 2015, Halifax city council voted to make it the city’s official food.

Related: The Sticky-Sweet History of the Butter Tart

“There’s something about this dish that’s unique to Atlantic Canada,” says Chef Alain Bossé. “People will drive miles for a donair!”

Today, almost every pizza place in the province sells the sloppy and sumptuous late-night eat, some even selling more donairs than pies. Every East Coaster has a favourite spot, but The King of Donair and Tony’s Donair have long been local favourites. Both spots have been serving the snack since the 1970s. Recently though, donair-mania has infiltrated swankier eateries.

Garlic Fingers with Donair SauceGet the recipe for Garlic Fingers with Donair Sauce

“Now that Halifax has proclaimed the donair as the food of choice, restaurants and hotels are serving donairs,” says Chef Alain. “Some are serving miniature canapés with donair meat.”

Playful renditions aside, there are traditional techniques to making the beloved sandwich. First, spiced ground beef is moulded into an elongated log that’s roasted on a spit. The donair meat is then shaved, sautéed and stuffed into a pita, along with fresh tomatoes, raw onions, and a special sweet sauce made with sweetened condensed milk, vinegar and garlic powder. As Chef Alain says, it’s adding the donair sauce that makes it.

“The sweet sauce is what makes a difference between a donair and a gyro,” he says. “My favourite? Sam’s Pizza in New Glasgow. They make their own pita, so it’s always fresh and soft.”

Related: You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Tasted Butter Tart Cinnamon Buns

For decades, the Halifax donair largely remained a hidden treasure, scarcely found on menus outside Nova Scotia. But as more Nova Scotians started settling across the country and with the advent social media, there’s a growing appetite for this late-night nosh outside of the province. Canadian chefs are incorporating this trendy food item onto their menus and even getting creative with the recipe.

Donair PizzaGet the recipe for Donair Pizza

“The donair sauce is being used as an add-on,” says Chef Alain. “A lot of burger places are making burgers with donair sauce. There’s also pepperoni pizza with donair sauce.”

If you’re looking to truly replicate the original recipe, Mr. Donair — once the Gamoulakos brothers’ company — sells a do-it-yourself Halifax Donair kit, complete with pita bread, donair sauce and a pound of donair meat. The kits are sold in grocery stores, frequently used by chefs, and are gaining popularity in every nook and cranny of Canada.

Related: The History of Peameal Bacon — Plus Our Favourite Recipes

“Those kits are really starting to infiltrate the camps in Fort McMurray!” says Chef Alain. “With the kit, sauté the meat in a frying pan, crisping it. Then stuff your pita and just eat away.”

Once the key ingredients are ready to go, get busy adding your own influence to this classic Canadian dish. However, Chef Alain says to stick with some of the core ingredients: “It’s not a donair unless there are onions and tomatoes. And make sure to grill your pita!”

bagged milk in bags sitting on grocery store shelf

Why Do Canadians Drink Bagged Milk?

Oh, Canada! As proud Canucks, we certainly have our share quirky traits and tastes, from profusely apologizing with “soar-ee” to our love of ketchup chips, butter tarts and poutine. But did you know that bagged milk is also a uniquely Canadian invention?

Believe it or not, milk bags have been in Canadian fridges since the 1970s, selling mainly in Ontario, Québec and the Maritimes. Each package contains three un-resealable plastic pouches filled with milk, equaling 4 litres total. Insert a single bag into a pitcher, snip off the corner and start pouring. Then put the pitcher back in the fridge, until you need it next.

It wasn’t always this easy. Until the late 1960s, milk was packaged in heavy, breakable glass bottles, racking up big bills for the dairy industry to transport. Soon, alternatives started arriving on the market, such as cardboard cartons, plastic jugs and eventually, plastic bags.

As the story goes, DuPont, a Canadian food and packaging company, unveiled thin, plastic bags that could be used to store and sell milk in 1967. Gradually, the dairy industry began ditching glass bottles and adopting this newfangled plastic pouch, which was far more practical and cost-efficient. Plus, Canada’s conversion to the metric system in the 1970s made the switch a no-brainer: while plastic jugs and cardboard cartons had to be redesigned and manufactured to be sold in metric units, plastic bags could easily be re-sized.

Related: The Delicious History of Classic Canadian Foods, From Poutine to Hawaiian Pizza

But we’re not the only ones in the world who are rocking the plastic udder. Milk bags can be found in many other countries, such as South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Hungary and China. In Israel, there’s a Kankomat: soft, plastic milk bags with a knife built into a plastic container. So when it comes to milk, Canadians may march to the beat of their own drum, but there are many other nations playing alongside in the band.

These days, Canadians are doing some cool things with discarded “milk bladders.” Milkbags Unlimited, a volunteer network across the Greater Toronto Area, recycles milk bags into sleeping mats. Every adult-sized mat is made with approximately 400 milk bags, which are cleaned and cut into strips. Volunteers loop and fit each bag onto a frame, weaving it into the mattress that has a lifespan of approximately 25 years. In addition to the mats, milk bags are also used to stuff pillows and to weave into handbags. The milk bag mats offer a durable and washable alternative to sleeping on cold, damp, and dusty ground, and have particularly helped people living in disaster zones. When resources are scarce, health care professionals have even used these mattresses as substitutes for operating tables. Talk about MacGyver-style upcycling.

Related: The Delicious History of the Halifax Donair

So the next time you snip off the corner of a milk bag, you should feel a twinge of Canadian pride. This may be one of our weird and wonderful national habits, but no one can say that Canucks aren’t resourceful!

Get inspired (and patriotic) in the kitchen with these iconic Canadian foods you can make at home.

A Heavenly Blueberry and Bacon Breakfast Casserole Made With Croissants

Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and a healthy serving of bacon on the side has to be one of the most celebrated breakfasts of all time. When you find yourself with stale croissants, do yourself a favour before tossing them: make this super simple (and reliably delicious!) casserole dish that’s a riff on the quintessential breakfast. With maple syrup, wild blueberries and bacon, it ticks all the boxes of our favourite Canadian ingredients… and the buttery croissant base takes it to the next level. Your weekend brunch game just got a whole lot sweeter.

Blueberry, Maple and Bacon Croissant Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1-¼ cups milk
⅓ cup 35% cream
⅔ cup maple syrup, divided
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
8 cups lightly packed stale croissants, cubed or roughly torn into 1-inch pieces
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-½ cups frozen wild blueberries, divided
1 Tbsp flour

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2L casserole dish; set aside.
2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, milk, cream, ⅓ cup maple syrup, vanilla and ¼ tsp salt in a large bowl.
3. Add the croissant bread and bacon, and toss to combine.
4. Toss 1 cup blueberries with flour in a small bowl. Add it to the croissant mixture, tossing gently to combine.
5. Spoon into prepared casserole dish and bake until golden and set, about 45 to 50 minutes.  

6. Meanwhile, add remaining blueberries, maple syrup and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes.
7. Drizzle the sweet, syrupy blueberry sauce over each individual casserole serving. Bon appétit!

Looking for more comforting breakfast inspiration? Here are 10 Must-Eat Canadian Breakfast Sandwiches and 25 Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes.

Patriotic Pancakes Perfect for Canada Day

With a bright red maple leaf in the centre, these patriotic pancakes are perfect for Canada Day. Fresh red berries, whipped cream and maple syrup are great toppings, but you can switch it up with your favourite fruit, nuts, sauce and more.

canada-day-pancakes1

Maple Leaf Pancake Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Makes: about 12 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
22 ml Red food colouring
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Garnish:
Maple syrup
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

canada-day-pancakes2

Directions:
1. In large spouted bowl, whisk together egg, milk and butter, then whisk in flour, baking powder and salt until smooth. Let stand 20 minutes.
2. Measure 1/3 cup of the batter into shallow bowl, and thin with enough water turn into a creamy consistency. Tint red with food colouring.
3. Over medium-low heat, heat a nonstick skillet with 1 Tbsp oil per pancake. Brush 2-inch (5 cm) maple leaf-shaped cookie cutter with some of the oil. Place in skillet. Pour in enough red batter to fill, then cook 1 minute until set on bottom. Holding cutter with tongs, or hands, lift cutter away from maple leaf shape. Using a squeeze bottle or spoon, top each leaf with enough white batter to cover.
4. Cook until bubbles form on tops, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes and cook until bottoms are golden, about 1 minute.
5. Working in batches and brushing pan with remaining oil as necessary, repeat with remaining batters, cleaning off cookie cutter when necessary.

Garnish:
Serve pancakes with maple syrup, raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

ketchup chip seasoning feature image

How to Make Ketchup Chip Snack Seasoning (It’s Oh-So Canadian!)

Since the 1980s, ketchup chips have been one of Canada’s favourite chip flavours. While the origin of these much-loved, finger-staining chips remains unclear, there’s no denying their uniquely appealing aroma and ketchup-ish flavour. And if ketchup makes a good flavour for chips, you can bet it makes a great seasoning for many more delicious snacks. Learn how to make your favourite chip flavouring at home and go wild with this delicious, buttery topping. Add it to popcorn, roasted potatoes, parsnips, even squash for a sweet taste of nostalgia, minus the artificial flavours and colours of course.

Ketchup Chip Seasoning

Ketchup Chip Snack Seasoning

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: ¼ cup of seasoning

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 tsp white vinegar
½ tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
12 cups air-popped popcorn (about ⅓ cup kernels)

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, smoked paprika, salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.

Ketchup Chip Seasoning

2. In large bowl, toss popcorn with tomato mixture to coat. Spread coated popcorn on large parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Related: Tasty Nut-Free Snack Recipes

3. Bake in 300°F oven, stirring once, until coating is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on pan for 10 minutes to crisp.

Published February 2, 2016, Updated March 27, 2018

Butter Tart Cheesecake

The Best Maple Butter Tart Cheesecake Recipe

The classic Canadian butter tart has many variations – pecans or raisins, firm or runny filling, crispy or flaky pastry — and everyone has their favourite combo. If there’s one thing that all Canadians can agree on, it is the fact that butter tarts are one of the most delicious desserts out there. So why not go one step further and combine your favourite Canadian sweet treat with another indulgent dessert — cheesecake. The result is a sweet and salty combination that gets topped with butter tart filling and lots of pecans for extra crunch!

Butter Tart Cheesecake

Maple Butter Tart Cheesecake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes + chill time
Makes: 10 slices

Ingredients:

Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake:
1 (250g) pkg cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup 35% whipping cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt

Maple Pecan Sauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp 35% cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Butter Tart Cheesecake

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch round springform pan.
2. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt. Firmly press graham cracker crumb mixture into bottom of greased pan and push 1 inch up the side. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
3. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer beat until well combined and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in maple syrup, cream, butter and salt.
4. Wrap bottom of the pan with aluminium foil. Pour in filling and place in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan about 1 inch up the side. Bake until edges are set and middle still has a jello-like wobble, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove pan from water and let cool, about 1 hour. Remove from tin, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight to chill completely before serving.
5. When ready to serve, make the sauce. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, maple syrup, cream, salt and pecans. Bring to a boil and let bubble for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Serve drizzled over cheesecake.

Butter Tart Cheesecake

Looking for more butter tart goodness? Try our Best Butter Tart Recipes.

Pecan-Butter-Tarts

The Sticky-Sweet History of the Butter Tart

How do you like your butter tart — firm or runny? With raisins or bacon bits? Made with butter or shortening? There are a gazillion and one ways to make (and eat!) a butter tart, but only one truly great place to enjoy them: in Canada, the birthplace of this sweet, satisfying treat. “The butter tart is 100 per cent Canadian,” says Anna Olson. “It’s an individual tart, as opposed to a full-sized pie.”

In case you’ve been in hibernation, a butter tart is a flaky, round pastry shell filled with a gooey buttery filling that’s semi-solid, with a crunchy top. Taste testing is almost a patriotic duty, offering a delicious way to sink your teeth into Canadian history.

whiskey butter tarts

Get the recipe for Pecan Whisky Butter Tarts

Like many legendary dishes, the butter tart’s origins are fuzzy. It’s believed that filles à marier (“marriageable girls”) created a crude version in the 1600s. These newly arrived Québécois brides filled their French tarts with New World ingredients: maple sugar, freshly churned butter and dried fruit such as raisins.

“The idea of mixing a syrup with eggs and dried fruit to form a dessert is an old one — and was likely born out of necessity to make do with ingredients on hand,” says Dr. Lenore Newman, food security and environment director at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Others believe the butter tart has roots in pecan pie, brought to Canada by Americans or possibly is related to Québec’s sugar pie or even Scottish border tarts. And some experts credit pioneer cooks for creating the beloved version known today, tracing the earliest printed recipes back to the 1900s. Ultimately, no one knows for sure, but the tart’s origins are likely a combination of all of the above. “It just slowly evolved and appeared,” says Anna. “It looks like a lot of other tarts: like the French [Canadian] tarte au sucre or a treacle tart [a traditional British dessert].”

Four hundred years later, the butter tart has become the quintessential Canadian sweet treat. It was all the rage in the 1920s and 1930s, and it’s one of the few authentically Canadian recipes that exists on paper.

“The butter tart’s success in Canada is likely linked to our general love of sweet desserts,” says Dr. Newman. “However I do feel that the butter tart is being influenced ever so slightly by Canada’s cuisine with its dedication to local foods. British and French settlers loved sugar, but butter tarts also fit a model of early Canadian foods that needed to pack a really high calorie load into each bite. We worked outside in the cold and needed to eat a lot more than we do now.”

Related: Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Today, the craze continues. There are even butter tart trails that dessert lovers can follow, with Ontario’s Kawarthas Northumberland Region and Wellington County offering maps and self-guided itineraries to explore local bakeries and cafes. What’s even more incredible is the butter tart has become an international superstar.

“No matter where I am travelling, I’m always asked to demonstrate a butter tart,” says Anna. “I have demonstrated butter tarts in Argentina, Moscow, Dubai, all over Southeast Asia. I just hosted a chef from the Philippines and the one thing on his checklist was trying a butter tart. Because the world knows the butter tart as ubiquitously Canadian.”

What makes an “authentic” Canadian butter tart? It’s a hotly debated topic within the baking community, especially when it comes to three aspects: should the tart’s filling be runny or firm? Should it contain raisins? And how far can you stray from the original recipe? According to Anna, there’s no clear answers: it really depends on the baker and the proof is, well, in the pastry.

“The butter tart has as many recipes as there are people who make them,” says Anna. “But whether it’s a filling made with maple syrup or corn syrup is very particular to the [baker]. Some swear by lard pastry, others by butter. To call it a butter tart, you can’t change the shape or syrupy filling.”

Nonetheless, bakers and pastry chefs are making endless and ever-evolving variations on this favourite Canuck dessert. Some stuff the flaky pastry cup with toasted pecans instead of raisins or even chocolate or bacon fillings.

The bacon butter tart has become a staple — it’s that salty crunch in the bottom,” says Anna. “I’m seeing more with chocolate melted into the syrupy filling. You could even put in marshmallows and chocolate chips for an s’mores butter tart!”

In recent years, some maverick chefs and bakers are even masterminding butter tart-flavoured foods, such as ice creams, cookies, cobblers and Butter Tart Cheesecake.

Butter Tart Cheesecake

“While you may not change the butter tart, you can integrate those flavours and textures elsewhere,” says Anna. “For my new cookbook, I want to do a butter tart swirl cheesecake that has that the same pastry crunch, butteriness and drifty caramel swirl.”

It’s worth taking a tantalizing tart trip across Canada to try all the variations and recipes, with Anna naming Niagara’s 13th Street Winery and The Pie Plate Bakery & Café as being among the best. If you’re feeling adventurous at home, try mastering Anna’s Pecan Butter Tarts. For holiday entertaining, you could even build a butter tart buffet that will entice guests to the table.

Pecan-Butter-Tarts

Despite her playful renditions, there’s one thing that Anna is old-fashioned about when it comes to making a classic Canadian butter tart. “Can you make a low fat butter tart? No way!” she says. “But you could make them miniature sized.”

Published November 14, 2016, Updated January 1, 2018

The Boozy History of the Caesar Cocktail

Spiking a vodka and tomato juice with clam essence is cocktail bliss for Caesar-swilling Canucks, but the combination in this oh-so-Canadian cocktail wasn’t always so obvious. In fact, according to Alberta researchers, it took months for Calgary bartender and Caesar inventor Walter Chell to hit the perfect proportions.

A mixologist at the Calgary Inn before mixologist was a title, Walter was tasked with creating a cocktail to celebrate the 1969 opening of the inn’s new restaurant, Marco’s Italian. Inspired by his favourite Italian dish, spaghetti vongole, Chell set out to create a cocktail that would capture the pasta’s hearty clam and tomato flavours.

Three Caesar cocktails on wood countertop

Eventually he came up with the recipe Canadians have come to love: vodka mixed with clam-infused tomato juice, lime, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, with a delicious celery salt rim. If we’re being honest (and after a few Caesars, who can lie?), the thought of a clam-based cocktail is a little strange — even for those of us who know how good it is. But surprisingly, Walter Chell wasn’t the first to come up with the concept. As Michael Platt notes in an article for the Calgary Sun, a 1900 copy of Modern American Drinks contains a recipe for a clam juice cocktail, as does a 1951 Betty Crocker cookbook. “So then what did Calgary’s beloved father of the Caesar really do?” asks Platt. “That’s like asking what Henry Ford did for the motor car or The Beatles did for music.”

Simply put, Chell perfected the recipe, taking it from clammy outlier to a red hot hit. Soon after, Mott’s beverage company released what is arguably the world’s best-known clam-infused tomato juice, Clamato.

Related: Sensational Canadian Cocktails

Chell invented the Caesar, but widespread distribution of Clamato brought it to homes and bars across the country. According to an Ipsos-Reid poll commissioned by the company in 2009, the Caesar or Bloody Caesar, is the most popular cocktail in Canada; Mott’s estimates that more than 350 million are consumed each year.

But beyond the occasional American article praising the “Canadian Bloody Mary,” Chell’s blend of sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter notes hasn’t gotten much love beyond our borders. Never mind — here, it’s not only a source of pride, but it’s a symbol of Canada’s changing demography and Canadians’ expanding palates.

Modern variations reflect international influences, substituting or enhancing British Worcestershire sauce with horseradish, wasabi, kimchi, chipotle, sriracha, teriyaki, tandoori, jerk spice, Dijon mustard or any number of flavours. A staple at Canada Day celebrations and weekend brunches and a drink as red as our flag, the Caesar is a cocktail that can rightly claim that it came, it quenched, and it conquered Canada.

Craving a Caesar? Learn how to make these tasty cocktail garnishes.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

ketchup-chips-history

The Crunchy History of Ketchup Chips

It’s no secret that Canadians love their ketchup chips. The crunchy, thinly sliced fried potatoes, doused in a tangy reddish powder, have been a favourite flavour since the early 1980s, sparking snack attacks and staining fingers across the nation. It’s bewildering that a Heritage Minute hasn’t been created for Canada’s signature snack.

But what’s the story behind ketchup chips? French fries and ketchup have gone hand-in-hand since the early 1800s, but the duo really became BFFs in the 1940s with the rise of fast food and drive-ins at the time.

Ketchup Chips

Inspired by this classic combo, adding ketchup-flavoured seasoning to potato chips came to be sometime in the 1970s. Each chip was dusted with tomato powder, garlic, onion and spices, infusing smoky, salty and sweet flavours with a tart bite into every crunch. Since then, millions of chip bags have been torn open and devoured by hungry hordes of Canadians, who can’t get enough of this quirky and addictive ketchup-y flavour.

Although a quintessential Canadian snack, the origins of ketchup chips are mired in mystery, with no one stepping forward to officially take the credit. At its simplest, it’s believed that this red-powdered snack was first invented by Hostess Potato Chips in the early 1970s, and sold exclusively to the Canadian market. The newfangled flavour was a huge hit in the Great White North, triggering a ketchup chip craze to erupt from coast-to-coast.

Digging deeper, it appears that the story could be more complicated. An American company in Pennsylvania, Herr’s Snacks, has reportedly been making ketchup-flavoured chips since the early 1980s. A decade later, the Heinz Ketchup company got on board with Herr’s, realizing that potato chips and ketchup seasoning makes a killer combo. They’ve since blended the brands to create Herr’s Heinz Ketchup Flavoured Potato Chips.

The bottom line? Although ketchup chips likely hold dual citizenship, it’s definitely a Canadian classic to the core. While the flavour tends to be scarce south of the border, Canadian store shelves are almost always well-stocked with bags of this favourite Canuck snack. Plus, smaller Canadian-owned companies are jumping on the ketchup wagon and making their own versions.

Ketchup Chip Seasoning

Featured on Food Network Canada’s Food Factory, the Covered Bridge Potato Chip Factory in New Brunswick uses their grandmother’s recipe to make their chips, but revamped the recipe to include Homestyle Ketchup Chips. Made with Russet Potatoes, these ultra crunchy chips are dusted with tomato powder and other goodness, making it a favourite Canadian brand.

Nowadays, Canadians can do more than rip open a bag, as chip lovers are taking ketchup-style snacking to the next level. For one, the ketchup-y powder makes a sensational seasoning for many other tasty snacks, and it’s easy to make in your home kitchen. With this homemade ketchup chip flavouring, you can spice up everything from popcorn to roasted potatoes to squash, without adding artificial flavours and colours.

Short on time? You can also buy ready-to-go ketchup seasoning from the Covered Bridge Potato Chip Factory (along with bags of chips too!). Or just crush up some ketchup chips and use the bits as a crunchy topping for hot dogs or other mains. For more adventurous home chefs, why not try making a batch of Ketchup Chips Chicken Strips? The crispy batter of crushed ketchup chips transforms routine pub grub into a tangy and sweet dish.

The verdict? Ketchup chips hold a special place in the history and hearts of our delicious nation — but we’re still waiting on that Heritage Minute!

For more Canuck eats, check out these 45 Canadian Comfort Food Recipes.

Butter Tart Doughnuts

Treat Yourself With Canadian Butter Tart Doughnuts

We love Canada, so there’s no reason not to inject some of our classic recipes with a little extra patriotism. In this dessert, we (literally) inject light, fluffy, yeasted doughnuts with a gooey butter tart filling. This recipe celebrates our love of Canada, our love of doughnuts and our love of our classic Canadian dessert, the butter tart.

Butter Tart Doughnuts

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 to 14 doughnuts

Ingredients:
Dough:
1 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 (8 g) pkg quick-rise instant yeast
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Oil for frying (amount depends on size of pot)

Filling:
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 golden corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Assembly:
1/2 cup icing sugar

Butter Tart Doughnuts

Directions:

Dough:
1. In a small saucepan, heat milk over low until temperature is slightly warmer than room temperature (should feel comfortable to touch). Stir in sugar and pour into the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle yeast over warm milk mixture and set aside until foamy bubbles appear on the surface, about 10 minutes.
2. After yeast is foamy, beat in butter, egg, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add in flour and beat on medium-high speed until a smooth dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl cleanly and climbs the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
3. Form dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with a dish towel and place in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
4. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface until ¾-inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch round cutter, press into dough and twist to release dough from sticking to cutter. Place dough rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Reroll dough scraps one at a time and repeat. Cover dough rounds with kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
5. Prepare a baking sheet lined with a few layers of paper towel. Pour enough oil into a large pot until 3- to 4-inches deep. Set pot with a clip-on thermometer and heat until temperature reaches 350ºF. Adjust heat to maintain 350ºF temperature.
6. Working in batches of 3 or 4, fry doughnuts until golden, about 1 minute per side, for a total of about 2 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, carefully transfer fried doughnuts to prepared baking sheet. Cool.

Filling:
1. Combine all filling ingredients in a double boiler. Heat over high while stirring until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Place mixture in the refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours.

Assembly:
1. Transfer chilled filling into a piping bag. Poke a hole in the side of one doughnut using the back of a wooden spoon until you reach the centre of the doughnut. Pipe filling into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
2. Dust doughnuts with icing sugar before serving.

Looking for more tasty recipes? Try these 20 Great Canadian Butter Tart Recipes.

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