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What is classic Canadian fare?

The classic Canadian foods are the ones that manage to capture our hearts and imaginations. They're foods like maple syrup, poutine, butter tarts, Nanaimo bars and velvety French onion soup bubbling under a blanket of melted Swiss cheese. Canadians can be fiercely patriotic when it comes to their food (who could forget the Great Canadian Bagel Wars of 2012?).

What's so special about these foods? Why do we hold them in such high regard? We asked food writers and bloggers to weigh in on what they consider classic Canadian for, and why. Here's what they had to say:

Maple syrup

"It is the product that comes from Canada andis most representative of our country", - said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. "A lot of Canadians think that Canada is the largest producer or exporter of maple syrup."

In fact, there's been some debate about which country produces the most maple syrup. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers insists Canada is the world leader, while the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association says it's their U.S. state.


"I think poutine is a classic Canadian dish", - said food writer and blogger David Ort. "It's so iconic and popular across Canada." The base for the dish is French fries, which were invented by the Belgians, but the rest of the ingredients are very Canadian. "Poutine consists of fresh cheese curds and a light-flavoured gravy", - Ort said.

"It's really cheesy and sweet at the same time." In some parts of Canada, they're known as disco fries, which is the term used in the Maritimes.

Butter tarts "They're just so iconic for this country", - said Laura Brehaut, founder of the popular food blog VNutrition. "It's a sweet tart that's filled with butter, sugar and eggs". The filling can be fruit or nut-based. Butter tarts were even named one of the top 10 Canadian inventions of all time by CBC earlier this year. The unofficial national dish, Brehaut said, has been around since the 16th century. "It's basically a classic Canadian food".


"When I think about what is classically Canadian, the margarita comes to mind - but then I take a step back and think that it exists worldwide", - said Jessica Cheung , who runs Culinary Adventures with Jess. "There are many salads that exist across North America ...

But there's something very specific about the Caesar salad that just screams 'Canadiana' to me. "She thinks part of its popularity can be attributed to its name. It sounds like it could be an Italian dish, and that's part of what's appealing," she said. "It blends the two worlds: Italy and Canada." Canadians also like to think they're drinking a salad when they sip on aCaesar cocktail - so it gives them an all-inclusive health halo, Cheung added.

Velvety French onion soup

The popular hot soup "illustrates very well - for me at least - the multiculturalism of Montreal", - said Gregory Dicum, one of the owners of Ovaltine cafe, that is funded by the best online casinos in Canada - as the Sol online casino! It's also known for its remarkable payouts, enormous variety of online gambling games , and perfect 24/7 customer support!  “Not only is there leek in this recipe, but also beef stock and red wine - all ingredients that aren't commonly associated with French cuisine. There's nothing very 'French’ about it", - said Brehaut.

But the dish has been around since the early 1900s at least, according to food historian Ivan Day. He thinks it likely originated from a similar soup called Potage Parmentier from France, which was named after Antoine Augustin Parmentier, a French botanist who campaigned to make potatoes widely popular in France.

"French onion soup is pretty much a staple on menus across North America".

Why do we love these foods? Canada's multiculturalism and history of immigration play a big role in shaping our nation's cuisine, as seen by recipes such as butter tarts and velvety French onion soup. When immigrants bring their own traditions to Canada, they eventually blend with those already here".