Follow Me Foodie to Food Day Canada!
Today is Food Day Canada and it’s a celebration of our farmers, growers, suppliers, purveyors, chefs, home cooks and local ingredients. The local food movement is taking over and while we should be eating local as often as possible, today is the day to go full force. Food Day Canada invites all Canadians to either visit restaurants participating in Food Day Canada, or to host a party or casual dinner using only Canadian ingredients. The idea is to show support for food prepared, raised, grown and produced in Canada and to encourage local eating.
Today I will be attending the 2nd Annual Epic Summer BBQ, but I’m really curious what “eating local” means in every Canadian Province and Territory. Quite often I will go into a restaurant in Vancouver and see beef from Alberta and ducks from Quebec. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when I think of “local” I like to think within 100 miles. Although I support eating local I also believe in sourcing the best ingredients and sometimes that requires a further stretch, after all cooking is a global craft and an art form.
Anyway I decided to feature something unique and indeed “local” to each province and territory in Canada. I didn’t want to forget about my non-Canadian readers and I hope these ingredients give you incentive to visit! I’m biased, but salmon is worth visiting in British Columbia alone. Of course these ingredients, products and menu items don’t represent the entire Province, but they are associated with each one respectfully.
BC Salmon – It was hard to narrow down, but salmon is one of my favourite BC products. I’m so spoiled by the quality of it that I rarely order it outside of home. This was the Hawkshaw Salmon from C Restaurant which is one of the most memorable salmons I’ve had.
Wild Rice – It could possibly be the wildest thing happening in Saskatchewan. Wild rice is actually not a rice but a type of grass and Saskatchewan is the largest producer of it. One of my favourite wild rice dishes is the Fried Wild Rice with Sea Conpoy, Crab & Chicken at Red Star Seafood.
Pickerel – It’s their local and primary fish. It’s a freshwater white flesh dish with a very mild and delicate flavour. This was “Manitoba’s Freshwater Trio” featuring pickerel three ways at Gold Medal Plates in Kelowna.
Butter Tarts – This took me the longest to think of. Ontario is so diverse I just couldn’t think of anything uniquely Ontario. Sure there is cheddar cheese and blueberries, but I couldn’t give Ontario blueberry status. I know they get a lot of our BC Blueberries and apparently BC ones taste better too. I always buy local BC blueberries so I wouldn’t know what Ontario ones taste like, but sorry guys I had to give you the Butter Tart. I knew it was a Canadian dessert and for some reason I always associated it with Quebec, but that’s the sugar pie they’re known for. The Butter Tart traces back to Ontario, so credit where credit is due for this sweet Canadian treat.
Maple Syrup – Quebec has so many specialities and fantastic ingredients, but I couldn’t not include maple syrup in my Food Day Canada post. This maple syrup in particular, St-Robert Bellarmin Single Press Maple Syrup 2011, is my favourite one to date. I tried this one at West.
Cloudberries or “Bakeapple berries” - I’ve never been to Newfoundland and the only time I’ve tried these was when a “Newfie” brought them to Kelowna for Gold Medal Plates. It was one of the secret ingredients for the black box challenge. It tasted like sour unripened raspberry sauce or compote… and they can keep them.
Poutines Râpées – It’s an Acadian delicacy popular in New Brunswick. It’s a dumpling made from grated and mashed potatoes and stuffed with pork. Being on the West Coast, I’ve never even heard of it. It doesn’t look like the most appetizing dish, but I’m still curious to try it. I have so much of the East Coast to explore.
Lobster – It’s the first thing I think of and this I am jealous of. Nova Scotia has the best water for raising lobster and it’s lobster season all year. This lobster is from Empire Chinese Cuisine. Personally I prefer Chinese styles of preparing lobster and crab compared to serving it with just melted butter.
Prince Edward Island
Poelee of Mussels with Ginger and Lime from Café Régalade
Prince Edward Island Mussels - Although I enjoy West Coast Salt Spring Island mussels, I can’t deny the unbeatable sweetness of PEI mussels. It has to do with the waters they are raised in and they produce consistently good quality mussels.
“Sour Toe” Cocktail – . I’m open minded about food, but I cannot get over this one. Yes. That is a real HUMAN TOE in whiskey. Dawson is a city in the Yukon and the pub there sells this “famous” cocktail. The human toes are donated and the toe is just supposed to touch your lips as you sip on the drink. GAH! I heard about this drink a few weeks ago and I thought it was a joke.
Muskox – It’s not exclusive to Northwest Territories, but I would say it’s more representable of their food culture. This dish was a Coffee Crusted Muskox, Sunchokes, Fiddleheads and Elderberry Jus I had at Fraîche and that pretty much has “Canada in the Spring” all over it.
Nunavut - I won’t lie. I had to make sure I even spelt it right. I don’t even know what goes on up there, but this image gives me an idea. There is a large Aboriginal population so the cuisine caters to that palate. On that plate I’ve tried everything but the Beluga Whale which looks quite blubbery. I might never make it to Nunavut, but I would go if the opportunity arose.