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Aug 27, 2009 07:31 PM

Canadian Food/Groceries in New England

With Canada being next door I thought I'd find Canadian food easily. But alas I haven't. Has anyone had poutine, butter tarts or nanaimo bars in New England? Has anyone found places to buy ketchup chips, smarties, butter tars and Habitant soup? I found a place (online) in Vermont that sells Habitant but I'm not willing to spend $10 for 1 can. I thought with the seemingly large number of Canadian ex pats living here and tourists.. I'd be able to find things. But alas, I may have to do a border run and stock up.. eh?

I can just see me opening my trunk to US customs and explaining that all those cans of soup are for me (and not for commercial purposes).. LOL..

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  1. You can buy Habitant at the local Hannaford supermarket here in Rockland. By the way, does anyone remember the old Habitant commercials? "...No, you mustn't ever put water in a Habitant just isn't cricket, know" ? Or something like that...

    1. Stanley's Hamburgers in RI (2 locations) serves poutine. I haven't tried their version, but having spent CAN$12.50 for a serving in Quebec City earlier this month, I would bet that Stanley's is at least as good and much, much less expensive. DeMoulas "Market Basket" stocks various Canadian cheeses, etc.; plus, the service manager (at least in Bellingham, MA) is willing to entertain special requests. Good Luck!

      1. I live in the Detroit area with my Canadian husband. We bring Canadian groceries across the border on a regular basis, and in our experience, the customs folks aren't surprised at all. If you do make a run, check out the customs website and see what the value limits are for the amount of time you spend in Canada. Keep your receipts, and if there's a lot of stuff, make a list, and don't forget to declare anything. Right now, the only meat you can bring across is pork (just in case you need the peameal bacon!), eggs are out, but dairy products are ok. You can also bring back vegetables if they are in season and can be grown in Canada. I haven't had any problems with farmer's market produce or mushrooms from a mushroom plant near a friend's cottage, but you can never bring back any citrus or other tropical fruit.

        1. You don't mention where in New England you live, so I am not sure if this applies to you, but in New Haven, Conn., the Stop & Shop Supermarket carries Canadian foods (my husband is a fool for Aero bars). The Anchor in downtown New Haven has poutine on its late-night menu. I have never tried it, so I cannot vouch for it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: shoes

            Shoes is spot on, it all depends exactly where in New England you are. In CT most Stop & Shops sell Aero bars, Smarties, Flakes and I even saw a Crunchie once (love Crunchies!). I have seen Herr's ketchup chips in many places as well. The States isn't as into the different flavors of chips as Canada is (all dressed, roast chicken, kung pao...the flavors are seemingly endless in Canada).

            I have seen poutine on menus at diners in the northeast, but called "gravy fries with cheese." Also knows as "disco fries" in New Jersey.

            US borders seem to have a new thing they ban daily - consistency is sorely lacking. Sometimes it is no meat at all, other times they don't care. During the mad cow scare a few years back they even asked what meat my dog's dry food was made out of (!).

            1. re: shoes

              Thanks, I didn't realize they sell Aero at S&S (I usually don't buy candy).

              Caseus in New Haven also serves fancied-up poutine (I haven't tried), and some Quebec cheeses occasionally. There are also a few Tim Horton's in RI and eastern CT if you're missing your double double. Just note that the US sizes for coffee are somehow larger. Yes, I have driven an hour to go to Timmie's....

            2. In Bridgewater, mA there is a storefront called Montreal French Fries whose potin is good to excellent depending on the freshness of the curd.

              7 Replies
              1. re: trufflehound

                If south/central NH is convenient for you, try the restaurant Chez Vachon, on Manchester's west side. I know they have an authentic poutine and probably have other French/Canadian fare. I've never been there, but it is considered to be the real thing in this area. Manchester had/has a large Quebecois population.

                If you go, the staff might have ideas for you on sourcing the items you are looking for.

                136 Kelley St
                Manchester, NH 03102-3135
                (603) 625-9660

                1. re: Dave B

                  PS - I was curious what Habitant soup was, being a soup lover, so I did a little Googling. Turns out it is made by Campbell's Soup in CA.

                  Also found a decent deal for yellow pea soup on Amazon if you don't mind buying a dozen cans $ 2 ea + shipping.

                  1. re: Dave B

                    I wonder if Campbell's ownership is a relatively recent phenomenon.

                2. re: trufflehound

                  Sorry to say, but Montreal French Fries has just closed up shop. No more poutine!

                    1. re: javaandjazz

                      Um, trufflehound *did* say Bridgewater, MA.