Here are 8 traditional Canadian Christmas foods that worth celebrating
- Roasted Turkey
Often decorated with paper “booties” on their drumsticks, roasted turkeys are traditionally eaten as the main course at Christmas feasts in Canada. Turkey stuffing consists of sausage meat, dried fruits (notably apricots, prunes and raisins), nuts, onion, celery, salt, pepper, and other spices and herbs. Delicious and nutritious food.
“At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the [goose] breast; but when she did, and when the long- expected gush of stuffing issued forth….” ~ Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”
- Mashed Potatoes
Maybe, mashed potato is the less sophisticated dish in the Christmas dinner menu and a Canadian must-have. Everybody seems to have their favourite way of making mashed potatoes. Some add fried onions, some boil potatoes with bay leaves, some add a little of the cooking water to the mashed potatoes. However, butter, cream and garlic are most commonly used in preparation. Potato has become a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world’s food supply. It is the world’s fourth-largest food crop, following maize, wheat, and rice. By the way, do you know that the best potatoes for mashing are russets or Yukon Gold, created at the University of Guelph?
- Brussels Sprouts
Though the Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium (and may have originated and gained its name there), it is grown in plenty throughout Canada. Brussels sprouts are actually leafy green vegetables of 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. Brussels sprouts contain lots of vitamin C and K (a blood-clotting factor), moderate amounts of B vitamins, essential minerals and dietary fibre. Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical known for its potential anticancer properties. The buds are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, stir frying, grilling, or roasting. Although boiling reduces the level of some nutrients, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss. Brussels sprouts are the seasonal green of choice on the Canadian Christmas table.
Nothing symbolizes Christmas in Canada as brilliantly as jewel-ruby cranberries. Traditionally served with roast turkey, cranberry sauce is a staple of Canadian Christmas dinner. The distinctive deep red color makes cranberries irreplaceable for food decoration. Although, most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, and sweetened dried cranberries, they are very good for baking muffins, scones, cakes and breads. Cranberries are a tart and tangy way to add a bit of festive flare to any holiday meal. Fresh cranberries can be frozen at home, and will keep up to a year. They can be used directly for many dishes and beverages without thawing.
This thick, pale yellow beverage is traditionally consumed in Canada during Christmas season. Eggnog is a rich, chilled and sweetened beverage made with milk, cream, sugar, whipped eggs, and distilled spirits such as brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon. A hint of nutmeg gives it its trademark flavour. You can buy commercially prepared eggnog in a grocery store but homemade will always taste better.
“There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them.” ~ P.J. O’Rourke
- Mulled Wine
Served hot or warm, mulled wine is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. It is usually made with red wine and various mulling spices. The combination of spices varies, but it usually consists of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg; and less frequently star anise, peppercorn or cardamom. It may also include dried fruit, such as raisins, apples or orange rind. Some versions combine tea, whisky, rum and citrus for an easy-sipping way to relax and warm up over the chilly season, which is why so mulled wines are so popular.
- Apple Cider
Ontario is known for its beautiful apples. Even in a cold season we can enjoy their just-picked flavour. Hot apple cider is a trademark drink during Canadian winter. It is typically opaque due to fine apple particles in suspension and generally tangier than conventional filtered apple juice. Made from apples, this unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage is a Christmastime sipper that both adults and kids will love to cozy up with next to the fireplace. Once widely pressed at farmsteads and local mills, apple cider is now easy and inexpensive to make. In the winter, many apple farmers will pull the fruit out of storage and turn it into cider. Apple cider is traditionally served on the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and various New Year’s Eve holidays.
- Hot chocolate
Even though the first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayans around 2,500-3,000 years ago, it seems like hot chocolate is specially designed for the Christmastime. Its aroma and taste immediately put you in a holiday mood. You can make this beverage with shaved or melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. Hot chocolate may be topped with whipped cream or marshmallows. If you want your drink less sweet and with a thicker consistency, prepare it with melted chocolate. If you don’t want to bother with all these preparations, simply buy a hot chocolate mix at grocery stores. You will enjoy it anyway.