Well the only place to start is with Tim Hortons coffee shops, a true Canadian institution. Strangely, the chain was started by an ex-ice hockey player...Tim Horton!
Everytime I come to Canada a trip to Tim's is a must...to the unitiated this may seem a little unusual ...but 34 million Canadians can't be wrong...can they? My personal favourite...Tim Bits...these are the little balls of dough, supposedly the centres of ring doughnuts. They come in a variety of flavours which you can choose for your very own selction box!! :-)
So what else does Canada have to offer, obviously the obligatory maple syrup...I'm already planning a maple syrup recipe upon my return next week, however that shall remain under wraps for the minute. Canada produces 27 million litres of maple syrup a year and 75% of the world's maple syrup production comes from Quebec. That's a lot of sugar!
I had a delicious breakfast at Sunset Grill in Toronto, I had maple pancakes and an array of other breakfast goodies as you can see...
Another Canadian speciality...Butter Tarts. These aren't going to win any healthy eating awards but they are so tasty...although extremely sweet. You can get them in a variety of flavours, my favourite is the raisin. Butter tarts consist of butter, sugar, syrup and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top. They taste a bit like a butterscotch pastry. The tarts were common in Canadian pioneer cooking and are considered one of only a few recipes of genuinely Canadian origin.
Toronto also has a plethora of bakeries...sadly I only managed to visit a couple! My recommendation...The Wedding Cake Shoppe which is a pleasant stroll from downtown to Little Italy. The Wedding Cake Shoppe is a pretty little cakery where you can enjoy cupcakes and a drink, whilst admiring the beautiful wedding cakes they have on display. I enjoyed a vanilla cupcake with a passionfruit frosting, and I couldn't resist taking another one away...coconut! The cakes and frosting were really light and delicious, it was a meringue buttercream style frosting which contributed to the lightness!
I also went to a cupcake bakery called Dlish... the staff were very nice and I had a lemon cupcake. Again, the sponge was light but I wasn't so keen on the icing, a bit thicker, a bit more like traditional buttercream. The store was also rather sparse and the cupcakes lacking in the aesthetic appeal and girliness which is often part of the appeal. However, it was nice and I would certainly have eaten another one!
Does anyone remember Lucky Charms, these used to be my cereal of choice when I was younger but you can't seem to come by them anymore. So whilst in Canada I usually enjoy a bowl or two. They still taste the same as ever, although if possible the marshmallow bits seem even more flourescent than they were before!
In a mall about an hour north of Toronto I came across 'Old Time Confections', a store selling old fashioned candy of yesteryear from both the USA and Great Britain. It's an enormous store stocking every candy you can possibly think of, there were Sherbet Dip Dabs, Pez dispensers, fudge and much more! The picture below only shows a fraction of the size of the store.
Toronto also has loads of other great eateries. The chocolate apples below are from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, they offer a mind boggling number of chocolate apple flavours!
If you are ever in Toronto, the Richtree Market Restaurant in the Eaton Centre is worth a visit. Full of fresh food including fruit, bread, pastries, pizza and hot fresh meals, you can either eat there or take away...a little bit of light relief from the giant food court!
Well, I think I can safely say that this post is a bit of a culinary rambling but there were so many delights to try! And the culmination of my week of eating...a diet!!! If you ever visit Canada, I hope you get to try some of these favourites too!