Eat and drink Canada
October 10, 2006 8:10 PM   Subscribe

What nummy items should I ask my SO to bring back from Canada?

My SO has driven up to Canada—specifically BC and Alberta—for some business and hunting. After he mentioned he might be shipping back some dirty laundry, I suggested he would be well-advised to bring home something that I would actually welcome after three weeks alone wrangling our child, our house remodel, my job, our dogs, our cats, the yardwork, etc., while he's off playing Elmer Fudd. Based on our past history, I know it is best to give him specific lists vs. vague suggestions (the later is how I ended up with a fantastically ugly silver Conestoga wagon bolo tie...)

Thus far, I’ve come up with:
--Tylenol 3
--Nestle Coffee Crisps
--Fruits & Passion cosmetics (we used to have one of their stores locally and their facial toner is to die for)
--Tim Horton's coffee
--maple syrup (any brand suggestions? He's so disconnected from the shopping process that he's likely to drive home cradling a bottle of Mrs. Butterworths)

I'm not much for knick-knacks but welcome consumables. He's driving his own car, so he's got room to load up (especially after he FedX's his laundry home), so please suggest away.
posted by jamaro to Shopping (81 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Pollomacho at 8:16 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: oh and Kinder Eggs (keep them away from the younger kids though)
posted by Pollomacho at 8:17 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Tylenol 3? As in codeine? That's not available OTC in Canada is it? If so why wasn't I informed?

I hear you silly Americans don't have ketchup chips. Big mistake. Aero bars too. Especially the mint ones.
posted by loquax at 8:20 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Canadian Kit-Kats. They're way better than the American ones.
posted by kindall at 8:20 PM on October 10, 2006

Lemon butter and I'll second the kinder eggs
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:21 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Labello. It's the best lip balm ever.
Also, seconding loquax, the ketchup chips are a must.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:22 PM on October 10, 2006

How about Smarties? Better than M&Ms. As a side, he's fedexing you laundry? Are you kidding??
posted by modernnomad at 8:22 PM on October 10, 2006

Maple whiskey. Yummmm!
posted by zerokey at 8:23 PM on October 10, 2006

Tylenol 3? As in codeine? That's not available OTC in Canada is it? If so why wasn't I informed?

It appears to be still.
posted by kindall at 8:24 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Tylenol 3 isn't availble over the counter in Canada, no. Tylenol 1 is, though, with 8g of codeine per tablet. But you may get in trouble if they catch you bringing them across the border.

Coffee Crisp is now available in the US, apparently.

And if you go for Kit Kat, go for the Kit Kat Crunchy, which I love.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:24 PM on October 10, 2006

Mars bars, Three Musketeers is a poor subsitute.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:31 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: All dressed chips too, while he's in that section of the grocery store.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:31 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Old Dutch potato chips (Ketchup, Salt and Vinegar)
Nanaimo bars (! refridgerated !)
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:32 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: For maple syrup, a good deal is $5 for a can (aprox 500ml), but there's a cartel, and it's produced mostly in Quebec (and a bit in Ontario and New Brunswick) so you'll probably pay $6 or $7 a can. The clearer it is (grade will be specified on can) the better, although I enjoy the darker kind too, and there's actually a shortage of darker maple syrup because everyone gets paid more to produce the clear kind. BTW, I say can, but you can get it in bottles too, just the can is usually a bit cheaper. Buy it in a grocery store, don't waste your money getting it at gift shops.
posted by furtive at 8:33 PM on October 10, 2006

The US has Mars bars, Deep Dish.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:38 PM on October 10, 2006

I had no idea this existed. For Snowbirds, I guess.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:38 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Rye Whiskey: not all Canadian whiskeys are rye whiskey, in fact the only 100% pure rye whiskey left in Canada is Alberta's priced much like the rest, so do yourself a favour and get in on the secret.
posted by furtive at 8:39 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you ever sucked on a car freshner then you'll love spruce beer. It'll be found next to the orange crush and cream soda, if at all.
posted by furtive at 8:41 PM on October 10, 2006

Branston Pickle goes very well with a sharp cheddar and a loaf of French bread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:42 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Butter tarts. Like pecan pie without the pecans, but, really, they taste better than that.

Ozonol (blue, not green) is the best heal cuts fast cream I've used. I make trips to Canada just for this wonderful stuff. Well, and the Coffee Crisp bars. Never mind Canada is 10 min. away.

I prefer darker maple syrup, it has more maple flavour.
posted by QIbHom at 8:46 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: In the grocery store, go to the baking section (flour, sugar, etc.) and in the cake and brownie mix look for some Robin Hood Nanaimo Bar Mix. It doesn't get more Canadian than that.

(bonus points to anyone who can find a clip to the Just Like Mom gameshow)
posted by furtive at 8:47 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Mint Aero bars, definitely.
posted by MsMolly at 8:48 PM on October 10, 2006

The availability and quality seems to vary by province.

I once drove to the US from Montreal. I had some great beer there but once I remembered to buy something I was in a different province and all the brands were different.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 8:48 PM on October 10, 2006

Anything from Vachon .... some Jos. Louis or May West ??
posted by yqxnflld at 8:48 PM on October 10, 2006

Big Turk!
posted by Captaintripps at 8:49 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Coffee Crisp is available in the States.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:55 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Gravol is over the counter and I haven't found anything that works as well for nausea in the U.S. that I can purchase at a pharmacy.
(If anyone knows the name of a US version I'd be interested.)
posted by mztreskiki at 9:06 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Crunchie bars!
posted by cadge at 9:18 PM on October 10, 2006

My American relatives all love Excel gum. They claim it is far superior to the Eclipse stuff marketed in the US.
posted by glip at 9:22 PM on October 10, 2006

Ketchup chips!!

This post has given me the munchies and there's no junk food in the house!! :(
posted by phoenixc at 9:23 PM on October 10, 2006

Blazecock, I wholeheartedly agree, but isn't that available all over the US? (I have 3 ginormous 360gm jars in my kitchen that I picked up last week at my local grocery really goes well with anything)
posted by zerokey at 9:28 PM on October 10, 2006

I second the Crunchies.

And Fruit Pastilles:

But, they aren't really uniquely Canadian.
posted by zaphod at 9:29 PM on October 10, 2006

Gravol is over the counter and I haven't found anything that works as well for nausea in the U.S. that I can purchase at a pharmacy.
(If anyone knows the name of a US version I'd be interested.)

Benadryl, or anything else with diphenhydramine. Same stuff. Diphenhydramine is available as an antihistamine, an anti-nausea drug, and a sleep aid. Check to see which is cheapest per mg in your store.

Gravol is actually dimenhydrinate, which is a combination of diphenhydramine and a mild stimulant (on googling, chlorotheophyllinate) to help counteract the drowsiness side effect. But it's the diphenhydramine part that does the anti-nausea.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:38 PM on October 10, 2006

Coffee Crisp
dill pickle chips
ketchup chips

posted by catburger at 9:56 PM on October 10, 2006

I second Labello. (I didn't know they sold it in Canada.) It really is the best lip balm ever.

And mint Aéros.

Also a lot of duty-free shops sell chocolates that are full of (liquid) vodka. I think you cannot buy these in the United States? Or at least not in all states. But they are delicious.
posted by anjamu at 9:59 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: Cheezies. and no, I don't mean Cheetos or generic cheezy poofs... Hawkin's Cheezies. Buy lots of small bags instead of one big one though, because you tend to get sick of them after a couple handfulls - but then crave them again later and they aren't good stale.

And I second the recommendation for Alberta Premium Rye Whiskey, this is the stuff they usually give you when you go to a bar and order a $2 rye and coke but it really is a high quality drink and has lately won awards for being the only pure rye whiskey on the market.
posted by jeffmik at 10:09 PM on October 10, 2006

The BC wine industry has started procuding some very good wines. Check out Cedar Creek, SandHill, or Wild Goose. Are Ice Wines popular/available in the States?

Otherwise I would suggest good old-fashioned Coca-cola. It's sweetened with actual sugar in Canada, not high fructose corn syrup. I notice the difference in taste every time I am in the US. Although I wished Coke would start marketing Splenda-Coke in Canada.
posted by GeneticFreek at 10:19 PM on October 10, 2006

I second the Hawkin's Cheezies, they are insanely good. May I add, Cadbury Mini eggs (I'm not sure if you can get them in the US)
posted by bluehermit at 10:30 PM on October 10, 2006

Are EpiPen's still available OTC in the great white north?
posted by tumble at 10:41 PM on October 10, 2006

Response by poster: Wooo, you guys rock. I've emailed him every suggestion you've made, muahaha! At the end of this month, I fully expect to be pain-relieved, unchapped, nausea-free, covered in chip crumbs, drunk, and throughly sugar-buzzed, Canada-style.

Coffee Crisps are apparently still in the very limited test-market stage so yes, while they are technically available in the US, they remain closer to him than they are to me. Maybe some day. Maybe. ::Rubs palms, pats white persian, plots world domina...oh wait. Sorry, wrong script.::

re mailing laundry. Yes, really. He's done it before. It wasn't well received then, either. Hence, The List of Spousal Reciprocation. I do your swamp-encrusted socks, you buy me candy, capeesh?
posted by jamaro at 10:45 PM on October 10, 2006

jamaro, may I just say that I admire your spousal coping skills?
posted by QIbHom at 11:36 PM on October 10, 2006

What? You guys don't have Crunchie bars? Yeah, toss in a box of those.
posted by chrominance at 12:42 AM on October 11, 2006

Here in the US, we have ketchup chips and dill chips (both usually Uncle Ed's brand, but sometimes Bettermade), Mars bars, smarties, and kit kat crunches, and have for years (well, maybe not the kit kats, but the rest).

Alberta Premium is worth picking up, though the distance from it to Jim Beam Rye isn't very far. Tylenol 1 would go well with it.
posted by klangklangston at 6:06 AM on October 11, 2006

Best answer: Oh! I love this thread. I'm a sucker for Canadian treats. My wife is from Ontario and my father is from Alberta. When we lived in Buffalo we would go across to Ft. Erie regularly just to get stuff. It was always funny to see the border guards face when he asked us what we have to declair and we would say "About $75 Canadian of cookies, candy and cereal, and this Pizza-Pizza!"

Anyway, we live in Pittsburgh now and still get back at least every two months, so I'll mention some of the stuff that I sometimes bring back when we are visiting our family. (some of these may have already been mentioned.)

Coffee Crisp (Obviously)
Excel Gum
Aero Bars
Kit-Kats (tons of different flavors in Canada)
Note: It's near Halloween, so you can get some good sampler bags that have all kinds of mini Canadian chocolate bars.

Finally, check out the ice cream in the grocery store freezers. the quality of Canadian ice cream is soooo good. It's worth purchasing one of those freezers for your car that plug into the car lighter! The Rolo ice cream is so good. They even put these miniture rolos in it that somehow don't freeze! Amazing!

Shreddies (my wife loves em)
Corn Pops (Corn Pops are different in Canada compared to the US ones)
Vector! (This stuff is basically the same as "Smart Start" here in the states. But in Canada it's a in a big blue box named "Vector". It even has some copy on the box that says it was developed at the "Kellog's Institute" whatever that is!

Honey-Nut All Bran Bars. Again, different from the ones sold in the states.

President's Choice the Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie

Any of the Fortino's store brand cookies are awsome. (Only in Ontario, I think)

Sobey's Chocolate Chip cookies are amazing.

Oreo's! The Oreo's in Canada taste completely different than american ones. Personally, I think they are nasty, but it's fun to do taste test with american ones.

Tim Horton's
"Paridiso Medium" beans from Second Cup. This is some of my favorite coffee ever!

When In Canada...
Harveys - Yum! Canadian fast food! Totally tasty onion rings!
Pizza-Pizza: I usually get a large cheese with mushrooms and zucchini. Their full pies are tastier and fresher that the slices...
Mr. Sub - I have no idea why any Canadian would even consider going to Subway when they have the fantastic Mr. Sub.

Swiss Chalet - Chicken, chicken, chicken.

That's almost all I can think of at the moment, plus I'm sorta at work right now and need to go to a meeting. However, I'll also note that if anyone is visiting Ontario try to check out one of the Fortino's grocery stores. It's by far the best grocery chain ever!
posted by punkrockrat at 6:11 AM on October 11, 2006

Oh, and klangklangston you are confused on the Smarties. In the US, we have something called "Smarties" but in Canada, they are called Rockets. (They are those little suger disc-button things.)

In Canada, "Smarties" are similar to M&M's here in the states.

Man. I'm hungry now....
posted by punkrockrat at 6:28 AM on October 11, 2006

Best answer: Definitely the Old Dutch chips. Not only do they make the definitive ketchup chip, but their other flavours are pretty damn good as well. They may not be a canadian company, but I think they count.

Thrills, for all of your soap flavoured gum needs. This sounds grosser than it actually is. Give it out on halloween! :p
posted by utsutsu at 6:51 AM on October 11, 2006

Unibroue beers. Brewed in Quebec, so I don't know how the availability is in BC.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:56 AM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Winegums. Trust me. If you don't like them, you can sell them to me.
posted by parilous at 7:04 AM on October 11, 2006

A big jar of Saskatoon berry jam.
posted by Joleta at 7:16 AM on October 11, 2006

Go big and ask for a Polar Bear Diamond.
posted by greedo at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2006

Wow, I had no idea that most of these things weren't available in the States. I just take the wondrous joy of coffee crisps for granted, I guess.

Any my two cents is to repeat furtive and jeffmik: make sure he doesn't leave Canada without some Nanaimo bar mix and a crapload of Hawkin's Cheezies (in small bags). Yum!
posted by arcticwoman at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2006

you have allergies to pollen? Claritin is super-cheap and OTC up here.

cookies - ever had maple-leaf cookies? Think of vanilla cookies (like the Girl Scout ones) dipped in maple syrup. Yum.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:49 AM on October 11, 2006

re Unibroue - the beer market is tightly regulated in Canada, and provincial boundaries exist. It is possible to get some Unibroue products here in BC, but they are considered 'specialty' products and are market up accordingly
posted by seawallrunner at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2006

Mackintosh toffee!
posted by Savannah at 8:27 AM on October 11, 2006

Reactine is also OTC there - better than Claritin, and fairly reasonably priced. Also might help to think of what stuff stores sell and think of the products that way - i.e. there's no Shopper's Drug Mart in the States (I think), so if you're looking for the Life Brand product line, tell him to head to a Shopper's... etc. etc.

This thread has made me very hungry and very nostalgic for the food I grew up on. Wonderful stuff. *overdoses on chocolate bars only found in Canada*
posted by rmm at 8:27 AM on October 11, 2006

Oh Henry! bars are formulated differently in Canada than they are in the States. If you like lots of solid peanuts in your candy bars, you should try the Canadian version — it's more peanut than nougat.

And I'll second the Canadian-formulation Coca-Cola, especially if you're as much of a Coke fiend as I am.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:30 AM on October 11, 2006

Oh my god! With all those munchies, you're gonna need some BC bud!
posted by Neiltupper at 8:34 AM on October 11, 2006

havana club rum!
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:35 AM on October 11, 2006

As a Canadian, this thread is fascinating to me.
I always do the same thing when I go to the States (or any other countries.) Look at all the freaky products in the grocery store.
And I'm always amazed at the sheer variety of chocolate bars in the U.S.

punkrockrat, your list is awesome and made me laugh.
I have to disagree about Pizza Pizza, though. It's considered to be pretty lame, vanilla pizza in my circles. Something you order to get cheap food for a kids' party or a meeting or something.

I would also follow up on punkrockrat's mention of President's Choice. In Ontario their products are at Loblaw's (a supermarket chain)...they're probably available out west but I'm not sure of the grocery chains out there. (edit--you can find them here.) They do a lot of cheaper knock-offs of established brands, but they have a lot of awesome original products like the aforementioned Decadent Chocolate Chip cookies, awesome Wood-fired frozen Pizza, many flavours of ice could get your maple syrup there, too...check out the cereal, cookie and candy aisle for sure.

Oh, my wife always brings me back Purdy's chocolate when she goes to Alberta/BC. They're awesome. I like the chococate cowboy hats.
posted by chococat at 8:35 AM on October 11, 2006

Okay, I said "awesome" four times...what's going on. My internal thesaurus is not working. So sorry.
posted by chococat at 8:38 AM on October 11, 2006

He's in BC. Island Farms French Vanilla Mango (or Field Berry) yoghurt is to die for. I fill my cooler every time I'm back home.
posted by Mitheral at 8:54 AM on October 11, 2006

Wow - so many things listed already. One thing I didn't see though:

Maple Butter - amazing buttery, sugary, mapley spread for toast etc.
posted by youngergirl44 at 9:34 AM on October 11, 2006

"In Canada, "Smarties" are similar to M&M's here in the states."

We have those too. They show up in bridge mix pretty often, and are a Halloween staple.

We have President's Choice brand as a knockoff of major brands (it's pretty good too) at all of our Kroger's.

And Pizza Pizza is called Little Caeser's in the states (owned by Mike Illich, of Detroit, who also owns the Red Wings and the Tigers).
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on October 11, 2006

One thing that's for real only in Canada is Cuban cigars.
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 AM on October 11, 2006

Chlorophyll flavored gum! I tried it once in BC 5 years ago, and I've been dreaming of it ever since.
posted by vytae at 9:44 AM on October 11, 2006

Cherry Blossoms and Lime Crush. And orange, not mint, Aero bars.
posted by jdfan at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2006

Pea meal back bacon! Maple syrup! Combine!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:08 AM on October 11, 2006

One thing that's for real only in Canada is Cuban cigars.

Cuban rum too. And even consuming those items in Canada makes him liable for a hefty fine.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:54 AM on October 11, 2006

I have to wonder if I'm throwing this off— in Michigan we can get Lime Crush too. I don't see it all that often, but that may be because I don't really like it.
posted by klangklangston at 12:06 PM on October 11, 2006

Okay, klang, you buzzkill, suck on this:

Red Rose Tea.
"Only in Canada, you say? Pity."
posted by chococat at 12:27 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Seconding the President's Choice The Decadent Choc Chip cookies.

They also make Molten Chocolate Cakes, which were quickly devoured when I brought them to a friend's party.

For lip balm, is Softlips available outside of Canada? Because I love that stuff.
posted by catburger at 2:11 PM on October 11, 2006

Vachon Passion Flakies. I like the red one. (I can't remember what flavour that is, strawberry?)
posted by catburger at 2:20 PM on October 11, 2006

Ha! We had Red Rose Tea at the grocery store (in Michigan) I used to work at. I can't say if they still have it, having never tasted the stuff, and so not exactly current with the availability.
(Of course, it is also possible that this was a different Red Rose Tea, but that's what it was called, with a big bloom off to the left on the label).

My most prized Canadian purchase was always Black Label Beer, which you can't get in Michigan anymore, and is delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on October 11, 2006

Although someone mentioned "Maple Butter" you should also add "Map-o Spread" (in the orange tin) to the list. It is a mix of maple syrup with even more sugar added that you use to spread on bread, toast, what have you -- definite sugar buzz!

I definitely also second the Vachon strawberry Passion Flakies! Whenever I was in the States, I used to get a craving for them and could never even find a close approximation to them anywhere I travelled in the US.

If you love gourmet munchies, there is always smoked salmon from BC, some of them are packed in beautiful cedar cases with West Coast First Nations motifs on them.

I don't know how available they are in the western half of Canada, but I have a love of maple fondant and wild blueberry truffles, double dipped by hand in both Belgian and dark chocolate. My favorite supplier is:

Off the top of my head, other Canadian snacks/munchies of note:
- MacIntosh Toffee
- Hershey's Cherry Blossoms (chocolate coated cherry)
- Twizzlers Red Licorice and Nibs
- Big Turk bars (chocolate coated turkish delight jelly)
- Poutine (french fries with cheese curds and gravy), you can buy St. Hubert poutine gravy powder at many major grocery chains
- Hostess Hickory Sticks
- Chris & Larry's Clodhoppers

Although not a munchie, a definite classic to have him pick up for you is a copy of the "Canadian Bacon" DVD, starring John Candy, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollock, Steven Wright and many more. A wonderfully satirical view of the Canada-US relationship, by Michael Moore. It is even more on point now than when it was written back in 1995. If you've ever lived in or near Canada or know any Canadians well, you'll find it absolutely hilarious! (The film seems to be more easily available in Canada, we've seen it at many local pharmacies that carry films, as well as the local Wal-mart.)

Hope this helps! ~ Jade
posted by Jade Dragon at 5:30 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

mztreskiki, Gravol is to Canada as Dramamine is to the US. (wiki)
posted by mewithoutyou at 9:22 PM on October 11, 2006

"- Twizzlers Red Licorice and Nibs"

Got 'em. And Twizzlers are definitely national down here in the US.
posted by klangklangston at 11:17 PM on October 11, 2006

Another AskMe uestion reminded me of this:


They're the tastiest fruit on the planet, available in pretty much any decent Asian produce shop in Canada, and very, very hard to find in the continental USA, due to different import regulations.

Don't tell Customs you have them, though.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:29 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Gosh, now I feel like I should invite y'all over for a ginormous Canadian foodstuffs party.

Klang, Michigan must be a whole 'nuther country because of all the items you mentioned available to you locally (including Kroegers itself), only Twizzlers and Little Caesers are in norCal, AFAIK.

Thank you everyone, again! I sent Elmer an additional list and he wrote back, "Hey! WTF is going on here..."

Heh. Just...heh.
posted by jamaro at 11:34 PM on October 11, 2006

Er, actually, Pizza Pizza is owned by the Pizza Pizza Royalty Income Fund, which completed its IPO in 2005. Nothing to do with Little Caesar's.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:43 PM on October 12, 2006

Response by poster: The mighty hunter has returned with his kill. Thank you all for your suggestions, so far I love everything I've tried (OK, except for the 3 day old Tim Horton's Old Fashioned up there on the right).
posted by jamaro at 4:45 PM on October 24, 2006

klangklangston, Red Rose tea in Canada is much higher quality and much less expensive than Red Rose tea in the US.

Jamaro, he has to go back. He got you the wrong kind of Ozonol (although the green isn't bad) and I think the chocolate to swamped sock ratio is off.

Better than "Canadian Bacon" is "Men With Brooms". Although, there are some scenes in the former that destroy me...
posted by QIbHom at 7:21 PM on November 2, 2006

« Older It'll be a hard day's night...   |   What tools does a single person moving out on his... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.