We’ve seen wild ingredients found in the British countryside break into the mainstream over the past few years – wild garlic, chanterelles and seaweed are now commonplace in our home kitchens, rather than being confined to specialist books and high-end restaurants. But in countries like Canada, where the majority of the country is taken up by stunning wild scenery, the natural larder has been celebrated in cooking for centuries.
Game is treated with the utmost respect in Canada. While Alberta is famous for its beef and peameal bacon is a national treasure, elk, caribou, venison and moose are popular across the country. Bison is held in particularly high regard, tasting similar to beef but with a richer, sweeter flavour. There’s also the ptarmigan, a grouse-like bird with a dark meat similar to mallard, prized by hunters and chefs alike.
Canada is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful berries, both grown commercially and found wild in the beautiful woods and forests of the country. Foraged herbs and vegetables also make an appearance on top-end restaurant menus whenever they’re in season, and the trends for preserving and pickling mean they can even be enjoyed year-round.
Here are some of Canada’s most unique ingredients, found in the country’s farmers’ markets the second they’re in season.