In Must Love Otters, we chose two of our favorite locales—Portland, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada. BC is known for its glorious landscapes, stunning vistas, inviting waterways, and easy access to wilderness where some of nature’s biggest beasts hang out. If you’re coming for a visit, though, be sure to check out the amazing local fare. Considering our proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the lush agricultural environment, you can rest assured that your plate is filled with fresh ingredients, straight from the ocean or field.
A few of our local favorites:
1. Salmon—Chinook, king, and spring salmon are available fresh June, July, August, and September; chum is available in October; sockeye in June and August; and Coho (Northern) salmon is available July, August, and September.
2. BC spot prawns—The largest of seven wild prawn species found off the BC coast, harvested June, July, and August, these little beauties are sweet and perfect with lightly seasoned butter.
3. Blueberries—seasonal, August and September harvest. Canada is also the world’s largest producer of wild blueberries!
4. Strawberries—seasonal summer fruit ready for harvest in June, July, August, and September. Nothing sweeter than strawberries off the plant.
5. Meat! For the meat lovers, BC farms offer a wide selection, from beef and chicken to duck, buffalo, goat, rabbit, and turkey. May through October, you can even find ostrich!
And what about those foods that Canadians are supposed to be famous for? Maple syrup and bacon? Sure, you can get those. But here are some that maybe you haven’t tried:
6. The now world-famous Nanaimo Bar—No baking required! Made with chocolate, vanilla custard, graham wafer crumbs, walnuts or almonds, and coconut. Some folks get clever and vary the recipe with peanut butter or chocolate mint, but the original is enough to satisfy any sweet-lover’s tooth.
7. Butter tarts—Don’t tell your doctor about this one, especially if you’re on cholesterol medication. Butter, syrup, eggs, sugar, and raisins or even pecans or walnuts are baked into a pastry shell (Egads! More butter!). This Canadian delight is easy to make and a big hit around the dessert table.
8. Ketchup chips—Exactly as they sound. Chips coated with a ketchup flavoring. The Canadians also have dill chips and something called all-dressed. For those days where your tongue screams for salt, these have got you covered.
9. Poutine—French fries and cheese curd ladled with gravy. It’s an acquired taste. Though this dish allegedly started in Quebec, BC restaurants serve it, and often with flair.
10. Portland’s Saturday Market has its elephant ears; BC has beaver tails! A blob of dough is shaped and fried into a “beaver’s tail” and then slathered with your choice of toppings. Though I always fancied the elephant ears of my childhood dripping with butter and cinnamon/sugar, beaver tail fanciers seem to prefer chocolate topping with fruit or candies.
BONUS!!! Because, of course:
11. WINE! British Columbia has a terrific selection of local wines, and the Interior of the province has a well-earned reputation for growing some of the finest grapes in North America. With over 180 vineyards province wide, you’re sure to find a grape to suit your discriminating palate. Check http://www.winebc.com/ for more info and to plan your wine tour trip!
Dig in! Here’s a napkin and some Wet-Naps for when you’re done. Bon appétit!
(Post originally published on Living a Goddess Life, February 26, 2014.)