Earlier this month, I was chatting online with a customer in Scotland. Her daughter was engaged to a Canadian man and she wanted to reflect both Canadian culture and Scottish traditions into the coming wedding. This got me thinking about how to do this. One of the easiest ways to add a touch of Canadiana is through the food and drinks.

Caesar Cocktail

The Caesar- the Quintessential Canadian Cocktail and other traditional Canadian Food and Snacks

Interesting Facts about the Caesar Cocktail:
~ It was created by Calgary Inn (now the Westin Hotel) restaurant Manager, Walter Chell in 1969 in Calgary Alberta Canada. He was tasked with creating a signature drink for the new Italian Restaurant in the hotel. He mixed vodka, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce with other spices to create the spicy cocktail which is similar to a Bloody Mary.
~ Spaghetti alle vongole was the source of his inspiration. This dish is a spaghetti with a sauce of tomatoes and clams.
~ He made his own “mashed clam nectar” and but around this time, Mott’s created their now legendary Motts Clamato (the most popular commercial Caesar mix in Canada).
~ The Caesar is the top selling cocktail in Canada where (apparently) 350 million Caesars are consumed annually. Now, there are 35.1 million Canadians so that is 10 Caesars for every man, woman AND child every year! That sounds crazy high but we do love ’em! According to Wikipedia, it is largely unknown and underappreciated elsewhere in the world. What is up with that!?

Basic Caesar (Canadian Living Recipe)
Mott’s Clamato Classic Caesar

Ingredients
~ 1 oz vodka
~ 2 dashes hot sauce
~ 3 dashes freshly ground salt and pepper
~ 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
~ 4 oz Mott’s Clamato Original Cocktail
Garnish:
1 celery stick
1 lime wedge

Preparation

Rim a glass with lime and Mott’s Clamato Rimmer. Fill glass with ice, add all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Dress with fresh celery and lime wedge.

Interesting Links about the Caesar:
http://o.canada.com/life/food/the-caesar-canadas-greatest-boozy-invention

Poutine with White Cheese Curds

Canadian Poutine- Fresh cut fries, brown gravy and White Cheese Curds.

Common contenders as the Canadian national food include:
~ Poutine (Chip Trucks are a growing trend as an addition to the food offerings at weddings. What could be better than fresh cut fries and Canadian Cheese Curds?)
~ Butter tarts (Made with Canadian Maple Syrup, these cold be served at the most elegant of events)
~ Kraft Dinner (Not generally recommended for a wedding!)

According to an informal survey by the Globe and Mail conducted through Facebook from collected comment, users considered the following to be the Canadian National dish, with maple syrup likely above all the other foods if it were considered:
1. Poutine (Fries served with gravy sauce and cheese curds, originally a Quebecois creation, now popular across Canada)
2. Montreal-style bagels (Small, denser and sweeter than New Your Bagels, always wood-fired)
3. Salmon jerky (Not common in Canada as far as I know but it sounds like a good idea- Smoked Salmon travels easily and can be incorporated into a variety of savoury appetizers. This is a great bang-for-your-buck option but make sure you can import it without issues to your destination country)
4. Perogy (Perogies are very common in Canada due to the large settled populations of people from Ukraine, Poland and other Eastern European countries. Readily available, delicious and very inexpensive)
5. Ketchup chips (Available everywhere in Canada. The resulting red stained lips, teeth, fingers and clothing matches out flag!)
6. Nova Scotian Donair (This is regional and largely unknown West of the maritime provinces but the Donair is much loved fast food on the East Coast. Donair Sauce is even used as a pizza dipping sauce and available on submarine sandwiches- look it up on Youtube for a recipe to create your own sweet and tangy sauce- it is very weird the first time but it grows on you!)
7. California roll (Apparently this was created by Chef Hidekazu Tojo in Vancouver in 1971 in an effort to make sushi more agreeable to the Canadian palate. Story goes that many visitors from LA liked the new sushi roll that featured the rice on the outside of the Nori- hence the name California Rolls)

In another survey from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the summer of 2012. These foods received top marks.
1. Maple syrup
2. Poutine
3. Nanaimo bars, smoked salmon, and butter tarts

Created in Canada- Nanaimo Bar Dessert Bars

Nanaimo Bars (Photo from gourmetbaker.com)

As Canadians, we seem to notice things that are available in USA and not here but imagine life without these treats!

Canadian Junk Food Snacks: These treats are readily available in Canada and will be a great addition to a latenight wedding buffet. If you are travelling overseas, pack an extra suitcase with these authentic treats:
~ Smarties Candies – These are a candy coated chocolate treat like M&Ms but more shaped like flying saucers. Not the These are available in tiny snack packs around Halloween. They would be a great addition to a Candy Buffet, either bulk purchased or in the iconic blue boxes. They are popular around the works but not available in USA.
~ Coffee Crisp Chocolate Bars– These were sold briefly south of the border but they never seemed to catch on so this is a nice light snack that is readily available in Canada
~ Canada Dry Ginger Ale– Right on the label!
~ Hickory Sticks Potato Snacks – these deep fried potato sticks are hickory smoked and delicious. Grab a few bags before you fly out!
~ Crush Cream Soda– Pink and Tangy, this is a quintessential Canadian treat loved by kids.

Hickory Sticks Potato Snacks from Hostess.

Hickory Sticks Potato Snacks from Hostess.

What is your favourite all-Canadian treat? Are you marrying someone from a different culture? How do you “marry” the two into a cohesive and inclusive wedding theme??

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