Self-described as the world’s first food atlas, tasteatlas.com has been launched to promote “eat local culture.”
Its secondary goal is to connect travelers with the traditional dishes of the city they’re visiting.
For example, the website associates St. John’s with toutons, and suggests 3 spots to eat them:
- Blue on Water
- Classic Cafe
- Bagel Cafe
Taste Atlas’s very nature makes it a great preservation and celebration tool for traditional dishes worldwide. People can make up their own minds as to how accurate it is, but the atlas does contain almost 10,000 dishes, drinks, and ingredients.
It also lets users rate the dishes it lists, for better or worse. Such public ratings assume we all have the same tastes, or that all toutons or figgy duffs or whatever are made equal.
Taste Atlas Features 8 Dishes from Newfoundland & Labrador
8 of the 66 Canadian food or drink mentions on Taste Atlas are from our province:
While it’s safe to say the website doesn’t know as much as nan would about each food item it lists, it’s also safe to say you’ll learn a thing or two about the dishes that define us. As an example, toutons are also known as Damper Dogs, Washday Bread, Tiffins, Towtents, Tushins, and Damper Devils.
All in all, it’s pretty accurate. It knows toutons are served with molasses, not maple syrup. It calls Cold Plates a “fundraiser and wedding staple.” It knows Jiggs’ Dinner is served on Sundays, to a large crowd of people, and with pickled beets and cranberry sauce as condiment. It even knows that the leftovers are fried up as “hash” the next day. So they did their homework.
It’s suggesting where to eat these dishes that the website will trip up a little. The answer is too ever-changing, too dependent on personal tastes, too vast of a thing to list (like where to eat poutine in Canada) or sometimes too impossible of a thing to list (like where to eat cold plates in NL, or who serves the best Kraft Dinner).
And 66 from Canada
All the Canadian classics are there as well. Poutine, smoked salmon, Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, pancakes with maple syrup, beavertails, and more, including some things we, as Canadians, don’t think of as our own, like Montreal Hot Dogs aka Steamies.
And did you know garlic fingers and donair sauce is more or less an Atlantic Canadian thing?
Speaking of pizza spin-offs, if, like everyone, you love pizza, give “Pictou County pizza” a try next time you’re in Nova Scotia. It differs from normal pizza because of its unique, chewy dough, a spicy brown sauce, and Halifax-made Brothers‘ pepperoni. According to Taste Atlas, “Every year, there is a Pictou County pizza competition, so that the locals can find out which pizza restaurant is the best.”
There are some pretty obscure or lesser known regional delights on Taste Atlas. Take Ploye, a traditional Acadian flatbread associated with New Brunswick. They’re similar to a pancake, but never flipped, and made of buckwheat flour, wheat flour, water, and baking powder. They’re consumed rolled, and are often paired with baked beans or fricot, a popular chicken stew.
Taste Atlas also includes some dishes born in Canada by our bastardization of international fare. These include items like Sushi Pizza,