From poutine (fries slathered in cheese and gravy) to Montreal-style bagels and even ‘ketchup chips’ – the country’s most popular dishes would have you believe Canadians subsist on little more than carbs and sugar. But we promise you: the food scene here is so much colourful, exciting and captivating than that.
Luxury Escapes recently launched a 10-day tour through Canada’s East Coast with a gourmet tour of ByWard Market, Ottawa and a five-course degustation dinner.
Its diversity is embodied in the farm-to-table approach borne out of Canada’s rich countryside, lakes that have been fished in for thousands of years and the distinctive French influence of Quebec and Montreal.
“Canada is a multicultural society and that multiculturalism is reflected in its food,” says Luxury Escapes Tours Expert John Saporito.
“From food tours to market visits and high-end fine dining, a tour through Canada is a tour for the senses.”
While we would never discourage you from trying the Canadian classics, it’s well worth stepping outside of your food comfort zone and embracing the country’s lesser-known dishes.
Meat eaters must try the ‘peameal bacon’, taken from a leaner cut of pork loin, and then brined and rolled in cornmeal. It’s best enjoyed in a traditional bacon sandwich – with lashings of ketchup, of course.
If you’re after a sweet treat, you can’t go past a BeaverTail. These flattened doughnuts are usually served topped with sugar, but also taste great with Nutella. BeaverTails have been around since 1978, with the first official outlet opened in Ottawa a year later.
Taste Canada’s French influence in its split pea soup, believed to have been invented by French explorer Samuel de Champlain. De Champlain and his fellow explorers took the cured meats and dried peas they’d brought along on their travels and mixed them with fresh vegetables from Canada’s fertile land – creating a dish that is still enjoyed today.
Another French-Canadian delicacy is tourtière, which dates back as far as 1600. This flaky pie is usually filled with pork, beef, veal or game and finished with herbs and spices. It’s particularly popular at Christmas, when temperatures drop in Canada and food tends to be warm, hearty and comforting.
There is no better way to get to know a country and its culture than on a food tour. On Luxury Escapes’ tour of Canada, you’ll take a gourmet journey through Ottawa’s ByWard Market, led by a passionate local foodie.
ByWard Market is the city’s oldest and biggest open market, brimming with specialty food shops, local producers, restaurants and – of course – world-famous BeaverTails.
“This a chance for travellers to discover places they would never have found on their own,” John says. “It’s a great way to support local vendors and learn about the region through its cuisine, while sightseeing along the way.”
On our tour, explore the back alleys, narrow corridors and storefronts, before tasting the best the market has to offer, all while your local guide shares stories of its past. You will also stop several times to sample specially curated cuisine and local wines and beers.
While Canada is a laidback country best-known for its fast food, it also excels when it comes to the fine-dining scene.
Canadian chefs have long been making waves the world over, from Food Network favourite Brad Long to baking queen Anna Olson and Mark McEwan, star of culinary show ‘The Heat’.
Experience Canada’s exquisite fine-dining scene on Luxury Escapes’ tour with a five-course degustation dinner at Quebec’s acclaimed Champlain restaurant, located in the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Embark on a gastronomic discovery of Quebec cuisine, blending the very best of its heritage with the latest foodie trends. Guests will enjoy a specially curated five-course degustation menu with paired wines by 2019’s Chef of the Year, Stéphane Modat.
Take your epicurean exploration further with French bistro Alo in Toronto, modern restaurant Botanist in Vancouver and the speakeasy-style Clementine in Edmonton.
While poutine and maple syrup will always be at the forefront of Canada’s culinary scene, it’s the country’s hidden gastronomic treasures that will leave a lasting impression on intrepid foodies.
Read More about Luxury Escapes’ 10-day Tour of Canada.
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