I am a jolly Canadian at Christmastime. Not only do I love seeing the lights, the snow covered trees, the gorgeous store displays, and adorable snowmen, but I also look forward to my favourite foods that, regardless of calorie-count, end up on my plate, upon my palate, and in my tummy throughout December. Here is a list of Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada that make us Canadians feel all the more merry at this time of year; you know, the season that can be stressful and even unbearable at times, testing our overall holiday spirit.

These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Christmas Cookies

Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada

Fruitcake

So this one can be on the fence depending on who you speak to, but is one of the more Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada. Some give fruitcakes to co-workers they don’t like, while others cherish the classic dessert and give it to those deserving of this labour-intensive sweet. I lean toward the former. I have come to appreciate the effort (and cash actually) involved in crafting this beautiful and historic dessert, giving it to those who deserve such a treat.

Fun Fruitcake Facts:

  • originating in the UK, the classic fruitcake is made with dried fruits including raisins, currents and cherries soaked in either orange juice or sweet liquors of brandy or sherry.
  • Traditionally, small slices of these rich and dense cakes are given out not only on the Christmas sweet table, but also at weddings, anniversaries, and other celebrations.
  • The earliest recipe of fruitcake was developed in Rome, Italy with pomegranate seeds, honey, and pine nuts.
  • Fruitcake has several variations around the world – in the Bahamas it is soaked in rum, while in Australia it is available all year round and served on its own (without additives as butter or creams)
  • Every year in the USA, a fruitcake throwing contest is hosted to rid yourself of your recycled fruitcake that was regifted to you.
  • [CRAZIEST FACT!] Fruitcakes if soaked and fed with liquor can last for YEARS. You read that right – YEARS. This is so crazy, but a cake made in 1878 was discovered in 2003 and sampled by Television star Jay Leno. What a brave soul…

Canada refers to this classic dessert as Christmas Cake (instead of fruitcake), and the process rarely involves soaking in alcohol. Canadians do enjoy their fruitcake plain or with almond icing depending on who you speak to. All I know is that it does not last long in my house during the holidays once opened from the storing and feeding process, starting over a month before Christmas! Truly one of the popular Christmas dishes in Canada.

These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Fruitcake

Eggnog

This thick and rich seasonal treat is always on hand in Canadian fridges. It is a creamy beverage that historically went by “milk punch” which in no time became a timelss favourite for Canadians over Christmas. First seen in supermarkets and shops in October, this Christmasy treat made of milk, eggs, and topped with nutmeg or cinnamon, is enjoyed with an array of spirits including rum, bourbon, brandy, or whiskey.

Eggnog Facts:

  • The drink is very popular in North America, but more and more countries are embracing this thick and rich palate extravaganza.
  • Historians believe that the festive drink dates all the way back to medieval times with the term “eggnog” originating in the late 1700’s.
  • The term “eggnog” was derived from the ingredients in the concoction, mixed with the complementing alcohol. So, when created linguistically, eggnog broken down means “milk punch” with “nog” meaning “strong ale, or strong spirits.”
  • Since the early days variations of the drink have been created, as well as the flavour being incorporated into other recipes including espresso mixes (eggnog lattes), cakes, pies, and cupcakes.

 

These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Eggnog

Butter Tarts

Okay, let’s bring out the big ones here. The Butter Tart. This Canadian classic is one of the most popular Christmas dishes in Canada that in the summertime, festivals dedicated to this cavity-creating delight sell nearly half a million of these bad boys.

Fun Butter Tart Facts:

  • These treats of brown sugar, butter, raisins, pecans, and pastry, totally satisfy the taste buds of Canadians and their very sensitive sweet tooths.
  • Recipes originated solely on Canadian soil, with food historians believing the first recipe developed in year 1900 in Barrie Ontario.
  • Quebec’s Sugar Pie indulgence that dates back to the 1600’s is quite similar to the flavour of the butter tart.
  • Canadians love butter tarts throughout the year, but bring them out in particular around Christmastime.

These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada

Nanaimo Bars:

So my sweet tooth craves these guys quite often, but more and more around Christmas time! Hence, it is one of the most popular Christmas dishes in Canada.

Nifty Nanaimo Facts:

  • Another Canadian delight, this chocolaty square originated out West in Nanaimo British Columbia back in 1953.
  • It took off with great success after it was selected for a cookbook the author submitted her recipe to.
  • It won a spot in the cookbook and since then, has pleased millions of Canadians and visitors with its unique taste, texture, and flavour fusions.
  • No Christmas sweet table would be complete without a tray of Nanaimo Bars. Retailers also include the coconut creamy chocolate sweet within their holiday baked offerings. (Try the one at Starbucks! It is intensely satisfying!)
  • They aren’t tricky to make and certainly are a crowd-pleaser, bringing culinary luxury to any Christmas celebration.
These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Nanaimo Bar
Credit: Mindmatrix

Yule Log

This decadent centrepiece for your Christmas dinner table is a favourite indulgence for Canadians at Christmas. Usually chocolate flavour, this delightful dessert is the perfect ending to a very satisfying Christmas feast.

Cool Yule Facts:

  • This delightful recipe was developed and created in France.
  • French Canadian families residing in Quebec particularly enjoy the Yule Log as part of their Christmas dinner.
  • The Yule Log dates back to the 19th century and evolved from the classic Jelly Roll dessert
  • Yule Logs are served to resemble a chopped log by a lumberjack right before Christmas. They are then decorated to resemble the piece of wood.
These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Yule Log

Soufflé Vegetables

Some may argue that having crunchy vegetables as part of a Christmas feast is most enjoyable. But I beg to differ. Soufflé vegetables are not only more gourmet, but they also are a more elegant and beautiful option for the utmost festive presentation. My family have done souffle veggies for years including mashed potatoes, broccoli souffle, French turnip, and scalloped corn. It is a must in the list of most popular Christmas dishes in Canada.

  • Soufflé recipes date back to the 18th century.
  • the dish has both sweet and savoury variations.
  • Soufflé dishes are frequently depicted in pop culture with culinary school scenes, funny dinner montages where chefs attempt a more complicated meal, or where they are deflated in a comedy sequence.
  • The main ingredient of soufflés are egg whites. Once they rise they are a fluffy texture and are quite a light alternative to heavy sauces and other dishes involving dairy and herbs.
Soufflé
Soufflé

Plum Pudding

So my parents’ Christmas dinner table always has a plum pudding ready to light. It makes us so happy to burn our sins away and honour the tradition of centuries past. A very dense pudding that takes days to prep with steaming and soaking of ingredients, this indulgent, but very satisfying addition to your dinner table adds the sheer luxury your palate craves.

Pudding Points of Interest:

  • This delightful decadent dessert originated in medieval UK
  • No plums are actually in a plum pudding
  • Variations of this recipe include: Christmas pudding, Carrot Pudding, and Figgy Pudding
  • The steaming process dates back to the 19th century.
  • Plum Pudding is served hot and often accompanied with brandy butter, custard, or rum sauce topping
  • Tradition states that Plum Pudding is made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his 12 apostles. It was then served on the 25th Sunday after the Trinity.
  • King George in England always requested Plum Pudding as part of his royal feast. He later got the nickname “Pudding King.”
  • Some traditionalists add silver coins within the pudding. If the diner receives a coin in his serving, he would be blessed with wealth in the upcoming year.
  • Wishbones, thimbles, and mini anchor trinkets have also been said to be included in mixtures. If you enjoy your plum pudding with these items, do take care when eating your helping feeling for these non-edible items, avoiding dental work or stomach pumps….
These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Plum Pudding

The Lighting Tradition

Another reason making Plum Pudding such a special part of the Christmas feast is the lighting. Traditionally, a shot of brandy, rum, whiskey, or sherry is poured over top. Next, take a flicker and light your pudding, causing a blue flame. This practice is said to burn all your sins of the passing year to start fresh in the upcoming year. We love this part of this dinner course, especially when the tablecloth doesn’t catch fire! My beloved granddad did this one year. It wasn’t funny at the time, but we can laugh about it now. Needless to say that paper tablecloth was tossed in the garbage and we were much more careful when pouring the liquor, ensuring it remained on the pudding and plate! That doesn’t stop it from being one of the popular Christmas dishes in Canada.

Lit Plum Pudding
Lit Plum Pudding
Credit: Matt Riggott

Gingerbread House

I love these and one of the most popular Christmas dishes in Canada! I don’t eat them too often, but enjoy creating my own, attempting intense precision icing the rooftops, and presenting my beautiful architecturally planned out piece of real estate in on my coffee table for all to admire. But where did we as Canadians learn of this tradition and adapt it to our celebrations?

gingerbread houses
gingerbread houses

Gingerbread House Facts:

  • It is believed that the first gingerbread was baked in the 11th century in European homes.
  • The ginger flavour dates back to the ancient medieval times
  • Gingerbread was so posh that in the 17th century only select commercial bakers were allowed to make it, except at holidays.
  • Gingerbread initially was actual bread texture, then through the years it was adapted and created into biscuits and sold in various shapes including people, soldiers, stars, and trees.
  • It was the gorgeous German Christmas Markets that are said to have started the Gingerbread House tradition with baking them into these colourful, but edible dwellings.
  • Adaptations of the original Gingerbread House include apartments, trains, and even cafes with Starbucks new Gingerbread storefront.
  • There are contests held yearly and usually for charity on who can create and design the most extravagant of Gingerbread [mansions] houses.
  • They aren’t usually eaten and displayed for decorative purposes. Gingerbread people became very popular thanks to the popular story of the Gingerbread Man.
  • The city of Bergen, Norway crafts the largest Gingerbread Village for all citizens and visitors to see and enjoy over Christmas.
These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Ornate Gingerbread House

Candy Cane Ice Cream

So ice cream is a thing for Canadians. Yes. Even in Winter. And I cannot tell you how much I crave the Candy Cane Ice Cream year round. So when it appears in grocery shops in November, I am so excited for a nice chilly treat by the fire.

Exclusive to the Loblaw’s supermarkets (well, except for independent parlours), candy cane ice cream is perfect served alongside a slice of Yule Log, fruitcake, plum pudding, or even pumpkin pie.

These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Candy cane ice cream
Credit: President’s Choice

Tourtiere

Mostly served in Quebec, this French Canadian deep-dish meat pie is very popular around the holidays. Perhaps a great alternative to turkey, or an easy-peasy Christmas eve dinner, the tourtiere is one of the most popular Christmas dishes served perfectly with wine, cheese, and a slice of sugar pie.

The facts:

  • Beef or pork is the prime ingredient of the tourtiere, with added mixed game for flavour and texture.
  • The dish became a popular choice for a no-fuss holiday meal back in 1970, though the first meet pie dates way back to 1600 BC.
  • Quebec, Manitoba, and New Brunswick primarily serve Tourtiere for Christmas meals in lieu of the traditional turkey where as the other Canadian provinces choose turkey or ham for the most part for their Christmas meal.
These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Tourtiere

So there you have it. 10 delightful Christmas popular dishes enjoyed by Canadians year after year. Do remember that these are indulgent recipes and you should mind your waistline, eating these in moderation. Or, if you don’t care, wear elasticized waist pants to your Christmas dinner…

These are the Most Popular Christmas Dishes in Canada
Most Popular Christmas Treats in Canada

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