What food is Manitoba known for? What do we eat in Manitoba? I have already written a blog post on Canadian cuisine, but without really going into the details of our Prairie province.
So today, I am going to list you 10 Manitoba food you must try- to taste for your next visit!
Honey Dill Sauce
Manitoba’s first culinary specialty must be the Honey Dill sauce. This sauce is made with honey, mayonnaise and dill and can only found here. It is on sale in any supermarket – but impossible to find in the rest of Canada!. It is everywhere, it’s an integral part of restaurant menus to accompany certain dishes (chicken fingers or sweet potato fries).
It was created by mistake in the 1980s by a restaurateur who wanted to reproduce to taste a sauce he had eaten at a competitor … and voila!
Manitoba has the largest diaspora of Icelandic people outside of Iceland, around the town of Gimli on Lake Winnipeg. In the 1870s, it was even an independent Republic of New Iceland! We can find traces of the past in topography but especially in the kitchen, with the vinartera.
Vinarterta is a plum-based cake, an Icelandic specialty … which has funnily completely disappeared in Iceland! It’s sweet and a little floury, each recipe uses different spices, and it’s the kind of cake that is perfect on a snowy Sunday with a hot cup of coffee.
The best place to find vinartera is the Sugar Me Cookie bakery in Gimli.
As the name nicely suggests, the fatboy is fat. Imagine a burger, with chili, pickles, onions, salad, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise and most importantly, a cinnamon meat sauce. The creators of this burger were Greek immigrants who sought to replicate the flavors of their country.
I have not (yet? ever?) tasted this Manitoba culinary specialty…
New Bothwell Cheese
The New Bothwell cheese factory, located in New Bothwell an hour south of Winnipeg, has been producing cheese since 1936. Of course, it’s cheese like you could find everywhere else but I prefer to buy local produce when I shop.
You can buy it at the cheese factory directly, at Fromagerie Bothwell sur Provencher in Saint-Boniface (cheaper than in supermarkets) or in certain chain stores.
I am sure we should take any pride in this Manitoba culinary specialty: Winnipeg has been designated the Slurpee capital of Canada for 22 years and running. This distinction comes from the stores 7/11, which sell the most frozen drinks in the country in Winnipeg.
The pickerel and the goldeye
Lake Winnipeg, that I already mentioned earlier is the eleventh largest lake in the world. Among the fish found there, two are considered local specialties.
Goldeye has been eaten smoked for centuries, according to Indigenous traditions.
I don’t think I’ve ever had goldeye – by the way, fun fact, that’s also the name of the Winnipeg baseball team!
Pickerel, or walleye, is found in other parts of Canada and is very popular. It is a white fish, which is eaten very well in fish and chips, in Gimli for example.
Fall suppers are one of my favorite Manitoba food traditions. In September and October each year, every small community outside of Winnipeg will host a meal, usually on a Sunday. For a fixed price (fifteen or twenty dollars), you have a complete homemade meal and the funds collected are then used for repairs or investments in the community.
My favorite is in Saint-Joseph, a small French community near Altona, which takes place just after Thanksgiving. But the fall suppers are really everywhere!
OK, perogies are not from Manitoba, they are found in Eastern Europe, Poland and Ukraine in particular. But these little dumplings stuffed with potatoes and cheese (and usually also with clotted cream) are a complete part of the Manitoba food scene.
Perogies are the first meal I wanted to eat when I became a permanent resident! It was a symbol for me.
The Schmoo Cake
Two possible spellings for this cake, schmoo or shmoo. It’s a sponge cake with layers of whipped cream and lots and lots of melted caramel sauce
It’s quite common in Winnipeg, you can find it at Baked Expectations in particular and I ate it at the very good Peasant Cookery restaurant in Birds Hill.
Bannock is an important element in the indigenous culinary tradition. The history of this Scottish fried flatbread dates back to the Hudson’s Bay Company and to a decline in the quality and quantity of tradable food. To make this bread all you need is flour, salt, water and lard.
The best place to try it would be the Aboriginal restaurant Feast Cafe Bistro in Winnipeg.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of Manitoba food to try out! Which one tempts you the most?