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May 31, 2011 09:12 PM

"Only in Canada" food items: add to the list

Thought this would be an interesting exercise. Just off the top of my head: Smarties, Caramilk, Coffee Crisp, milk in bags (not jugs as in the States), butter tarts, I think Nanaimo bars are only available here...

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  1. Ketchup flavored chips as well as All Dressed.

    25 Replies
    1. re: srobes

      And dill pickle. Ketchup flavoured ringolos, the single most addictive snack food in the known universe. Mr Big, Oh Henry, Aero and Crunchie chocolate bars. Vernors ginger ale. Thrills gum, aka soap gum. Kernels popcorn seasonings, particularly the salt and vinegar flavour.

      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        Aero and Crunchie originated in the UK and are common there too. Wunderbar may be Canadian only? Laura Secord chocolates are, of course.

          1. re: buttertart

            Since the founders sold Laura Secord to Rowntree in the 60's there's been nothing particularly uniquely Canadian about Laura Secord other than the name, and for most of the last 50 years the company has been owned by a selection of UK, European and American companies before finally being re-Canadianized a few years ago by a company in Quebec associated with Biscuits Leclerc. The products they sell are essentially the same chocolate confections and ice creams sold in other markets by other companies, in the US there's even a company that looks and feels just like Laura Secord (the name escapes me, it's also a woman's name, a first lady I think)

            1. re: bytepusher

              Fannie May? Out of business for several years. Not quite the same, but similar. I didn't know that LS had been sold in the 60s, must have been very hush hush because my mother was one of their most dedicated customers then and I would expect her to have caught wind of it.

              1. re: buttertart

                The O'Connor family sold LS to the Ault Foods division of Labatt's in 1969 which in turn sold it to Rowntree in 1983 (my error above, i had forgotten about the Labatt's period) Rowntree was then acquired by Nestle in 1988. Nestle sold LS in 1999 to an American company Archibald Candy which also operated the Fannie May and Fanny Farmer stores (so for a while they were in fact the same company) then in 2004 it was sold to a consortium of private equity firms, it was sold again in 2010 to the a company controlled by the Leclerc brothers of Quebec CIty.

                1. re: bytepusher

                  Very interesting, I do remember the Labatt purchase because of it being (then at least) a London-based company.

                  1. re: ferret

                    mmm...I like Trinidads so this is good news for next time I'm in Chicago.

              2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                I think Vernors is or was invented in the US. When I was a child and we visited family in Detroit we had two stops there, the Vernors factory where we stocked up for home and the potato chip factory where we bought large tin tubs of the yummiest chips (in memory) ever.
                Back in thoses days you could not get Vernors in Toronto.

                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                  And the Lays Smokey Bacon and Ruffles Sour Cream & Bacon - my two favourites.

                  President's Choice anything - I would miss PC products if I moved back to the states. But I would console myself with American cheese slices (not processed Kraft singles). That and oodles of online shopping.

                  1. re: 16crab

                    "American" cheese is available in Canada. We call it "Kraft cheese". It's not the same as Singles or even Extra Cheddar slices. It's ribbon sliced "American" cheese. You can buy it from food service places and Costco.

                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      Thanks SnackHappy. Alas I do not have a Costco membership and no plans to get one as its neither convenient nor would I get my money's worth. Can you recommend any food service places in the western outskirts of the GTA? I live about 45 mins northwest of Toronto. I have found it in the kosher section of the Sobey's near my husband's aunt in Thornhill, but we aren't there that often. Huge packages too, not that we don't go through it.

                2. re: srobes

                  We have All Dressed chips in Maine - but that's pretty much Canada!

                  1. re: srobes

                    Vernors ginger ale (only the very best ginger soft drink on Earth) is wonderful, but not Canadian. It was originated by James Vernor (a pharmacist from the Detroit, Michigan, area) quite by accident; he started a batch of ginger ale, had it in the oak barrels, then went off to the American civil war. When he returned, voila, the wonderful "flavor-aged (4) years in oak" soft drink that is available in only a few places in the US (but hey, I'm really glad to know it's available in Canada, my favorite 'get away to' spot on Earth). We share the Great Lakes, so it's only right we also share a love of Vernors!

                    1. re: OldGrayWolf

                      When in Michigan Vernor's is the Ginger Ale of choice. Here in the Eastern Townships of Quebec Bull's Head is our Ginger Ale and it has the same pedigree as Vernor's. Never have seen Vernor's in Canada but Michigan has a US border.

                      1. re: OldGrayWolf

                        My parents used to bring back Vernor's from Detroit back in the day. I (desperately) wish it were available in the NY metro area.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Eh, buttertart; we transport it to family and friends in New Hampshire by the case. You should see the looks we get from BPAs at Customs...they no longer question it, though. And yes, we also took along stock for my brother when he lived in Brooklyn four years. The "Boston Cooler" is our traditional family-reunion drink/dessert. (Vernors w/Briar's vanilla ice cream float). You can tell how close a family friend someone is if they're from Somewhere Else but are hooked on Vernors...

                          1. re: OldGrayWolf

                            Nice. Ever get a bit farther south? ;-)
                            They sold it in northern California when we lived there, why not here???

                            1. re: buttertart

                              We got it in CA when I lived there. My parents were from Detroit, and Warren, so I grew up with Vernors in the house. My aunt, and uncle had it delivered to England via submarine when he was in the Air Force. I believe it was his brother that was in the Navy. Good stuff, but alas it is no longer aged in oak, but oak flavored. It is probably stirred with an oak spoon, or poured over oak planks now =)

                              1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                Or International Flavors and Fragrances or Givaudan or another lab's "olde oake flavour additive no. 104" made especially for them!

                            2. re: OldGrayWolf

                              Sherbrooke Quebec is a lot closer to New Hampshire than Michigan. Give Bull's Head ginger ale a try I think it compares favourably with Vernors. In fact Sherbrooke is closer to New Hampshire than it is to Montreal. I was brought up on dry Ginger Ale but my Michigan raised wife converted me to the traditional Vernors and Bulls Head ginger ale.

                          2. re: OldGrayWolf

                            I can buy Vernor's at the market here in North Carolina. Not as good as my favorite Blenheim's. But it will suffice as a second choice. ; )

                          3. re: srobes

                            Several American brands (my favorites are Herr's, Old Dutch and Wachusett, in that order) have ketchup chips. They're more common in the northeast and upper midwest, so yes, Canada-adjacent but not exclusively Canadian.

                            Unfortunately, we can't get an All-Dressed chip down here.

                          4. Sweet Heinz Ketchup,Crunchy bars,Lays classic BBQ chips.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Duppie

                              Tarte au sucre, Cretons, tortiere. Just moved to quebec, can you tell

                            2. Peameal bacon.
                              PC "Decadent" CC cookies.


                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                  But I will add that the glory of a good, runny buttertart is not to be dismissed lightly...

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Not that I'm saying that YOU'RE runny or should be dismissed or anything like that...

                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                        Only on occasion! And runny is definitely best - and a serving is two tarts. With a nice strong cup of Red Rose tea.

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          If you're ever in Toronto, please do try the ones at Flaky Tart. They look enormous, but they are actually quite normal sized, but with an extra large "edge" on the crust. She makes them beautifully runny, and you break off some of the fabulous, flaky crust and dip it into the center. It's like butter tart fondue.

                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                            I will, getting back next spring for a conference. My mother used a thick (lard) crust on hers. (I'm buttertart in her honour.)

                                2. Saw smarties in Switzerland last week......funny as I brought some for family only to see they had them.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: fryerlover

                                    Smarties originated in the UK and are widely available throughout Europe.

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      Smarties are available in New Zealand as well.

                                      1. re: kiwiFRUIT

                                        Are Smarties the sweet/sour candy or something else?

                                        1. re: harrie

                                          No, the product known as Smarties in the rest of the world are basically the same as plain M&Ms

                                          The sweet/sour candy called Smarties in the US is called Rockets in Canada

                                          1. re: harrie

                                            Candy-covered chocolate, along the lines of M&M's.

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Along the lines of M&Ms, but taste very different. I find the chocoloate inside Smarties much creamier than M&Ms. The shell has a different texture too. I prefer Smarties anyday.

                                                1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                  The plain ones I'm neither here nor there. But the hubs and I once did a blind taste test between peanut M & M's and peanut Smarties (not even sure if they even make those anymore). The peanut M & M's won hands down. The peanuts in the Smarties were small and burnt tasting.

                                            1. re: kiwiFRUIT

                                              As far as I can tell, you can get Smarties anywhere *except* the US. I've foudn them in Asia.

                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                You can find Smarties in the U.K. section of "foods of the world" Aisle of U.S. super markets.