Discovering Food in our Northern Neighbour’s Capital City

Hello, I am Esme, from Chocolate & Croissants. This week Lisa honored me by asking if I would write a guest post here at Anali’s First Amendment.

Lisa and I met through the blogging world; we both love Nutella, adore Obama, passed the bar and enjoy food. These are some of the best ingredients for a friendship.

Happy Birthday Canada! Canadians are waking up today to celebrations of Canada’s 142nd Birthday. To get you in the mood, I have a Canadian trivia quiz for you.

1. What is the capital of Canada?
2. Who is the current Prime Minister ?
3. How many official languages does Canada have?

Visiting Ottawa last week I was truly amazed by all the selection of ethnic food. Located in Ontario, Ottawa is separated from Quebec by the Ottawa River. The city’s choice of food reflects both the country’s history and the wave of migration to the nation. In grade school we were told that Canada was a melting pot of nations and this statement rings true in the capital’s offering of cuisine.

The Byward Market is a great place to stop for lunch if you enjoy open air markets. Designed by Colonel By in 1826 it is one of Canada’s oldest public markets.

When the good Colonel designed the streets for the market, he had two streets be extra wide so they could serve as a public market and gathering place.

The market is open all year round with farmers selling their goods. Sidewalks are lined with shops and stalls. While fruit and vegetables are big sellers in the summer, in the wintertime, this is the perfect place to pick up maple syrup and wreaths and bows for your home.

Inside the market are take-out stands selling Indian, Greek, French and traditional Canadian food.

For those that have a green thumb, there are plenty of fresh herbs and beautiful flowers for sale.

You can buy freshly cut flowers or beds for your garden.

One of my favorite shops is The House of Cheese with its collection of imported and domestic cheese, pate and a decent selection of imported chocolate.

Here the staff introduced me to Sauvigne, a creamy Quebecquois cheese.

Give me a baguette, a glass of wine and a good book and I am quite content.

Another great shop is La Bottega, an Italian deli and market. The shop offers a wonderful selection of spices, coffee, dry and fresh pasta, chocolate, vinegars, oils, a fresh olive bar, cheeses and packaged deserts. At lunchtime, you can have a sandwich made for only $4.95.

Of course no trip to Ottawa would be complete without sampling a beavertail pastry.

If you are feeling tired, hitch a ride from one of the rickshaw drivers. College students earn summer wages, by giving tourists rides.

We discovered a Thai restaurant that introduced us to young fresh coconuts stuffed with a delicious chicken and shrimp curry.

Ottawa’s own Chinatown is home to a good sampling of pho, dumpling, Korean bar-b que and sushi restaurants. After dinner you can wander over to one of the coffee and tea shops for bubble tea.

Every city has a Little Italy and Ottawa is no exception. Corso Italia as the main street is known hosts an Italian week, Ferrari festival, cyling criterium and grape harvest. This is the place to come if you want some Italian pastries.

If you are in the mood for something more exotic, the city has a wide selection of middle eastern restaurants serving gyros, kebabs and a traditional pizza that is a thin pita crust baked in a brick oven with toppings.

La Brioche in the Glebe is home to a middle Eastern bakery selling baklava and other desserts.

Should you be in the mood for traditional French pastries or fresh bread, then let me suggest that you return to the market and visit Moulin de Provence, the little bakery Obama made famous. The desserts are so delectable that Obama returned home with a few goodies for the children.

Outside of France, this is one of the few places I have found ready made vol a vent (French for windblown) shells. Vol a vent is a filo dough cup traditionally filled with a mushroom mixture.

To all the migrants that have brought their wonderful recipes and foods to Canada, Happy Canada Day!

Thank you for your wonderful post Esme! You've given us all quite an education and definitely made me want to take an Ottawa vacation.

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Suldog said…
Ooh, thanks for reminding me that it's Canada Day! I had forgotten, and I have some Canadian friends I should wish well to.
Mark said…
Hi there! I just hopped over from Willow's blog. I hope I find you again. This guest post is cool...lots of yummy food. <3
Mark said…
Sorry that was the wrong name, I'm using my friend, Mark's, computer. I'm Cynthia at <3
Lisa Johnson said…
suldog - You're welcome!

cynthia - Welcome! Glad you liked Esme's post!
Wow, very insightful!
Thanks for sharing.

Happy 4th of July and Canada day.
Lisa Johnson said…
slices of beauty - Thank you and glad you enjoyed it! : )
Great guest post, Esme! Loved all the pics and info. BTW, United is running a 2-for-1 sale on tickets to major Canadian cities right now. We just planned our vacation to Key West; otherwise, we'd be taking advantage of this deal!

Nutella--a great reason for friendship (all the others, too! LOL). I have a fab PB/Nutella recipe on my blog. I still have to keep a promise to make some flourless Nutella cookies though ...

Lisa Johnson said…
shirley - Wish I could take advantage of that sale! This would be a great time to visit.

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