Ice wine is pressed from grapes harvested in December, when temperatures near 10 degrees Celsius below zero. Winemakers must imperatively harvest their grapes by hand and at night so that they stay frozen while pressed. This process, which is very laborious, results in a high concentration of sugar for each pressed grape as most of a grape’s liquid stays in the press in the form of ice crystals. The finished product has a colour ranging from golden to dark amber, depending on the variety of the grape.
Ice wine is known for its intense natural sweetness and aromatic fruity bouquet which puts it among the world’s best wines. Generally served cold, it makes for a great aperitif and pairs well with desserts. Canada is one of the world’s main ice wine producers due to its climate which allows grapes to grow in warm months before naturally freezing during winters. Partly due to strict and demanding regulatory oversight of the ice wine industry, Canada’s ice wine bottles are known to be among the world’s best and most prestigious.
Born in Quebec during the early 1990s ice cider is a relatively new product. The province’s iconic climate, known for its extreme winter temperatures, is key to the production of ice cider. Two methods are typically used to produce ice cider. The first one resembles the ice wine production process and requires frozen ripe apples to be harvested by hand and pressed when temperatures are between -8 and -15 degrees Celcius. The second method involves extracting juice from apples before freezing it in natural cold. To produce ice cider, fermentation of pressed juices must begin in January. Like for ice wine, regulations in the industry are very strict and ensure that the level of alcohol is between 7% and 13% per volume and that no sugar, aroma, or colouring is added. This product makes for a great aperitif and pairs well with cheese and desserts. Due to a recent explosion in popularity, ice cider now boasts international recognition comparable with that of the best sweet wines like ice wine.
Fire cider is also originally from Quebec and has its own recognized denomination since 2012. It is obtained by boiling juice from pressed apples to evaporate its water contents and increase its aroma, resulting in 20% of the original juice. The resulting product is fermented at low temperatures using yeast. After aging for several weeks, it is then transferred to oak barrels. To produce a 375 ml bottle, nine kilograms of apples are required. The finished product usually contains a mix of aromas with notes of caramel, roasted apple, nuts, and orange being particularly noticeable. Fire cider tastes very fresh but retains a touch of acidity which makes it quite unique. Like ice cider, it is usually served as an aperitif or paired with cheese and desserts.
This hard-shelled crustacean is caught in the cold and clear waters of the North Atlantic. The lobster trapping industry is strictly controlled and under an integrated management model to ensure responsible and sustainable practices. Canadian lobsters are caught at a stage in their maturity where their shell is well developed, giving them a hard but sweet flesh of a very high quality. Lobster is very rich in proteins, vitamins, and iodine while having low fat and calorie levels. There are various ways to prepare Lobster with broiling, boiling, and grilling being among the most popular. Its intense flavor is memorable and pairs well with rice.
Canadian lobster can be purchased alive or frozen. It is sold in a variety of formats: raw, peeled, boiled, in its shell, head, claws, joints, tail. With a high pressure processing (HPP) system, it is possible to extract flesh from a lobster instantly while killing the animal without suffering. This system allows for optimal use of lobster flesh and guarantees its flavor and texture which remain exceptionally fresh if frozen immediately.
The famous red leaf on the Canadian flag comes from the maple tree, a true icon of Canada. During springtime when the snow begins to melt, sap rises from the maple tree’s roots into the trunk and can be harvested using a spile and bucket. Long before the arrival of European settlers, indigenous people used the maple tree’s sap – known as “sweet water” – to cook game meat.
Today, maple sap is boiled to concentrate its sugars, making maple syrup. Maple syrup comes in a wide variety of colours, from amber yellow to dark brown. It contains Vitamin B, Vitamin H, Vitamin A, minerals, proteins, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which make for a healthy product. Maple syrup is an integral part of many dishes typical to Canadian cuisine. While it is traditionally associated with desserts, maple syrup is highly versatile and can be used to season meat, fish, and salad by creating rich and contrasting flavours.