Canada is known for its cold weather and its luxuriant nature, but it doesn’t particularly shine on the international food scene. Yet, Canada has a few edible gems that are worth a try, and believe me, it goes beyond poutine and maple syrup! Let’s start our culinary journey by exploring Canadian sweets. I’ll share with you my must-try treats and, of course, I will let you know the best spots to sample them in Vancouver.

1. Date Squares

Jitters date square ($4.55)

Date squares are probably one of my favorite Canadian sweets. Traditionally, the chewy date paste is placed between two buttery oatmeal shortbreads. When done the right way, this dessert can even be healthy! Jitters Caffe on 4th avenue in Kitsilano has a really good date square with no added sugar that I recommend trying. Sam will tell you, the recipe is simple: “just dates and oats”. This guilt-free pleasure is a delight for sweet tooth and health-conscious people alike!

2. Butter Tarts

Pecan Butter Tart from the Pie Hole ($3.50)

Butter tarts have won my Norman heart. The Pie Hole has an extremely satisfying Pecan Butter Tart. The gooey filling tastes just like salted caramel, and the flaky outside layer is as buttery as it should be. The Pie Hole goes an extra mile by adding some pecans on top of their tarts, and it works remarkably well! This rich pastry is definitely on the heavy side, yet it won’t leave you uncomfortably stuffed after you devour it!

3. BeaverTails

Bananarama from BeaverTail ($8.25)

BeaverTails are classic Canadian pastries that were invented in Ontario in 1978. Nowadays, you can find them across Canada. The hand-stretched whole-wheat bread is served warm and you can choose the toppings that you like. The classic combo is sugar and cinnamon, but they have a lot more flavors such as chocolate hazelnut spread, cheesecake, crushed oreos, etc. If you are a chocolate lover, I recommend the Bananarama!

4. Nanaimo Bars

Laurelle’s Fine Foods Nanaimo Bar ($3.10)

Nanaimo bars are not my favorite Canadian sweets, but they deserve to be listed. This no-baking dessert was invented in Nanaimo in 1986 and it has been a local pride since then. The signature of this sweet lies in its three distinct layers. The bottom layer is a chocolate and cracker crumb base, the middle layer is a custard icing, and the top layer is a chocolate coating. I tend to find it a bit too heavy and sweet, but I enjoyed Laurelle’s Fine Foods‘ traditional Nanaimo Bar in Granville market.

5. Hedgehog Chocolates

Isn’t this hedgehog-shaped chocolate the cutest? It was invented by the Canadian chocolatier Purdys in the 90s and it has been one of brand’s trademarks since then. The milk chocolate shell is filled with a creamy and nutty gianduja ganache. It melts in the mouth as you bite in it. It’s an absolute wonder! Purdys has locations throughout the country so these cuties are easy to find. I have also spotted some in Lonsdale Quay market!

Bon Appétit Vancouver!

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Note that prices and information featured in this article are subject to change.

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