1. Bannock

A satisfying quick bread steeped in Canadian history, basic bannock is flour, water and butter (or lard) that is shaped into a disc and baked, fried or cooked over a fire until golden. It may have come with Scottish fur traders in the 18thcentury, or a First Nations version made of corn, nuts and starchy roots could have influenced European settlers, who changed the recipe to include wheat flour. Either way, this easy-to-make bread sustained families and travellers alike through the harsh winter months and is still enjoyed across our great land today.

2. Nanaimo Bars

There are as many origin stories for these three-layer bars as there are recipe variations. One thing is for sure, though: Nanaimo bars are named after the city in British Columbia. The creamy, custardy centre is what sets Nanaimo bars apart from the buttercream-filled New York slice—both have a smooth chocolate topping and a rich graham cracker crust. You can personalize any of the layers or turn the bars into a completely different dessert, but their B.C. heritage still shines through.

3. Maple Syrup

Canada produces 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup, so we reign supreme when it comes to this sweet treat. We love it so much that we even made the sugar maple our national tree! Luckily for us, it is a versatile ingredient—you can add a touch of maple goodness to just about any dish you can imagine, from salads to cakes to roasts. Learn how Canada’s liquid gold goes from tree to table.

4. Saskatoon Berries

The city of Saskatoon was named after these abundant summer berries—not the other way around! Saskatoons were a main ingredient in pemmican, a dried-meat dish that historically nourished First Nations peoples, voyageurs and explorers through the freezing winter months. Sweet and juicy with an almond-like flavour, they are related to apples and continue to ripen once picked. Swap fresh or frozen saskatoons for blueberries in any recipe.

5. Caesars

A proud Calgary invention, the Caesar was the brainchild of Italian-born bartender Walter Chell. Legend has it that in 1969, Chell adapted his beloved pasta with clam sauce into this zesty tomato-clam juice cocktail spiked with vodka. The Caesar immediately became hot, hot, hot nationwide—and now it’s often called Canada’s national cocktail. Today’s Caesars are sometimes crowned with over-the-top garnishes, such as spring rolls or lobster tails.

6. Ketchup Chips

Since the 1970s, Canadians have eaten tons of these crunchy chips. While both Canadian and American companies have laid claim to the original recipe, this addictive, finger-staining snack has been wholeheartedly embraced in the Great White North. These days it’s tough to find a chip with the same zippy flavour outside our borders. Crumbled ketchup chips are amazing sprinkled over baked squash, fried eggs and popcorn.

7. Montreal Smoked Meat

This salty, smoky deli beef is a Canadian sandwich superstar, best slathered with mustard and sandwiched in rye bread. Montreal smoked meat is dry-rubbed with more garlic and savoury spices than its sweeter deli cousin, pastrami, before being smoked, steamed and sliced. Think beyond the sandwich and bring Montreal smoked meat’s intense flavours to salads, tacos and appetizers.

8. Poutine

Warm, gooey and indulgent, the famous Canadian snack of fries, cheese curds and gravy is now adored the world over. It debuted in rural Quebec snack bars in the 1950s and found its way onto Canada-wide fast-food menus by the late 1980s. While poutine purists insist on cheese curds made in eastern Quebec,today’s poutine variations are endless, featuring everything from extravagant foie gras toppers to homemade oven-fry bases.

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