People from the four corners of the world populate Canada, an immense country with diverse climates. The gastronomic and cultural backgrounds of Canada’s population coupled with geography encourage them catch wild animals, slaughter cattle or farmed buffalo or produce with foodstuffs whit, which they are familiar.
In the last three decades, locally trained and educated young, talented chefs, have made it a point to seek the freshest, tastiest regional foods to serve to their appreciative guests. Often they encourage farmers to grow produce or process meats they never attempted, also to preserve meats by curing, smoking and processing them into sausages.
People prefer to eat what is available around them. Imported food tends to be far from fresh and quite expensive to boot. During the winter, we must import fresh produce from distant regions due to our severe and long winters, but there are enough root vegetables that can be stored long enough to survive any winter. Practically all squash species store very well, and First Nations have been making use of them for centuries before the first settlers set foot on the continent.
Many immigrants brought their cooking techniques, and practice their food preservation methods and some produce fine, award-winning cheeses.
British Columbia’s albacore tuna, spotted prawns, king salmon, salmon roe, First-nation candied salmon, se cucumbers, tender fruits and berries are delicious and exported to many countries.
Okanagan Valley’s fine wines enjoy an excellent reputation both in Canada and export markets.
Alberta’s fine beef, buffalo meat and pork, are exported to the U S A and shipped across the country. Many steak houses specify Alberta beef, which has a more satisfying taste and firmer texture than grain-finished cattle.
Saskatchewan hard wheat is exported to Italy in hue quantities where manufacturers convert it to pasta and export to several countries all over the world.
Manitoba produces unequalled wild rice used by many European chefs in fine restaurants, and their Winnipeg gold eye is simply the epitome of fresh water smoked fish.
Arctic char from the north is so delicate that reputable chefs fight for them.
Ontario’s peaches, apricots, berries, nectarines and field grown tomatoes are succulent, and sought by gourmets.
Muskoka’s wild blueberries and cranberries are perfumed, firm, delicious and stay that way for a long time.
Kitchener is famous for its milk fed veal, called provimi.
Around Guelph there are many trout farms with an excellent water supply and produce fish that taste much better than any you can experience in Germany, famous for its “blue” preparation.
Toronto boasts many first class restaurants, and proud chefs produce food fit for kings, queens and well-heeled gourmets. Of late, many chefs at the top of their art of preparing cured or cooked meat (fish) products, from sausages to galantines, from rillettes to pates.
French and Italian chefs have used for long pork for their charcuterie, but modern culinary practitioners also incorporate duck, veal, game, turkey, and seafood. A few many also include into their plates of charcuteries, chorizo, kielbassa, zampone, prosciutto and mortadella.
Pork terrine, pates, galantines, salt-cured foie gras and seafood pate may be on a plate of charcuterie in a fine restaurant.
In Europe, where food has always been more expensive than in North America, chefs use every part of carcasses including the variety cuts a k a offals like, liver, stomach, intestines, brains, the head and the lung.
Few people know that Ontario produces a lot of fine cheddar, much of it of excellent quality, in small family operated dairies.
Ontario’s boutique breweries (Amsterdam, Cameron’s, King City Brewery, F and M Brewery and Mill Street Brewery just to name a few) have managed to convince beer aficionados of their products quality. They cater to an enthusiastic market segment, and even export tot eh U S A.
Niagara Peninsula’s wine industry grew by leaps and bound from mid 1975 to now. The quality improves appreciably, and icewine, a specialty, has captured the imagination of many Pacific Rim nations.
Europeans, who invented ice wine are next in line, since the federal government designed an agreement with EU last year.
Quebec is home to imaginative and excellent cream cheeses. Small dairies use raw milk to produce their specialties and win prestigious awards in international competitions.
Entrepreneurs produce foie gras (duck or goose) far superior to those from Upper New York State’s Hudson Valley. There they feed animals with mashed rice in Quebec corn, which yields a firmer and tastier product. Quebec’s Brome Lake duck farms have been supplying the trade for decades.
Unibroue and McAuslan are two small breweries with unique beers. They ship to Ontario, the U S A and export to Europe.
Matane salad shrimps, at least to my palate, offer more taste and better texture than those imported from distant countries.
Maple syrup is a Quebec staple few would argue can be surpassed.
Scallops from cold Atlantic waters have been prized for generations.
In the Maritime Provinces seafood reigns supreme. P E I ‘s mussels and oysters (Malpeque) are shipped all over the world, Nova Scotia’s Digby scallops, Bras d’Or oysters and lobsters are exported by plane loads to France and Belgium, not to speak of truckloads to Boston, and New York city.
Newfoundland’s plump and tasty squid, processed and frozen, are eagerly awaited in Japan. You can slice squid, dip in a batter and deep fry, or grill, or marinate, or stew. Regardless of the preparation technique, Newfoundland squid is delicious.
Newfoundlander’s love for beer is well known throughout the country. Qidi Vidi Brewery caters to their needs.
Iceberg water vodka derived from huge icebergs diverted to St John’s and broken down, is famous and exported the U S A and shipped coast to coast.
Mackerel and eel are delicacies only Mari timers know how to produce. They pepper cure them, and then smoke with incomparable results.
Smoked salmon has been a specialty for decades. Of course we must not forget New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s delightful fresh wild mushrooms in season.
We can experience many of these delightful foodstuffs in their region of production as the country is very large and often marketing and distribution are too cumbersome making retail sale prices too high for ordinary citizens.