Monday, 9 February 2009

Beaver Tails @ Ottawa's Winterlude '09!


Wait, what? Winter what? Winterlude.

Win-ter-lude (win-ter-lood)

1. A 3 week event in Ottawa/Gatineu celebrating winter. Started in 1979 (making this the 30th anniversary), the festival draws over 1 million people and includes events such as: skating on the Rideau Canal (largest ice rink in the world), light & sound shows, concerts, ice sculptures, oh and food.

What could be more Canadian than a festival devoted to winter? Ok, maybe complaining about the season, but seriously, this is quite the event. LJ and I headed out Saturday night to take in the sights and sounds in the heart of Ottawa. Bundled up for a wicked Ottawa winter night (which turned out to be extremely mild and on the eve of a brief thaw) we headed straight through Confederation park, skipping the ice sculptures (we went back though), heading down to the canal to catch the light and sound show Ukiuk.

Ukiak is a show projected on the side of the Union Station, celebrating Ottawa history and winter. It was the best of these types of shows I've seen yet (I have a video and will try and post it when I have some time soon, as well as the photos of the ice sculptures).

Afterwards, we walked along the canal where there were several eatery booths/cabins have been set up on the ice, and also some up in the park. The selections of food were the perfect Canadian/Winter theme.

Above is a photo of a maple taffy hit, where the maple taffy is formed in troughs of snow and eaten on a stick.

Below is a poutine cabin. Oh yes, French Canadian fries, cheese curds and gravy! But even just the warm, salty smell of french fries would have also been tasty!

Below, you can get your hot chocolate and coffee stands. No Starbucks or Timmies here!

But the most important booth of them all, the traditional food of the Winterlude festival: BEAVER TAILS.

A Canadian rodent's rear appendage? No no no, its a pastry. A delicious pastry. It's simply dough that is stretched out flat (like a Beaver tail) and deep fried, then topped with a number of different toppings. At the festival, the chain BeaverTails don't have as many options as their outlets (like in the market), but there are some tasty ones:
  • Cinnamon & Sugar
  • Maple Butter
  • Hazelnut & Chocolate (Nutella)
  • Garlic Butter & Cheese
  • Killaloe Sunrise (sugar and lemon juice)

Other flavours at the permanent booths also include:

  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Banana Chocolate
  • Coco' Vanil
  • Peanut butter, chocolate, Reeces pieces
  • Avalanche (cream cheese, Skor pieces, chocolate syrup) - My fave!

These are just the commercial flavours, but if you made these at home, the topping ideas are endless. A Buffalo wing beaver tail??? Ok maybe not.

LJ & I decided to get 2 we have never had before and to sample each others. She went with the garlic cheese tail, and I went with the maple butter.

On the ice, the tails retail for $5 (there are a couple that a slightly cheaper). They are served in a paper 'envelope', which basically becomes transparent in just a few moment due to the gooey contents inside.

The Garlic Cheese tail is garlic bread in beaver tail form. The deep fried pastry is brushed with garlic butter, and then topped with shredded mozzarella.

One word: savourylicious. The garlic had just the right amount of bite, salty butter and the mellow cheese made for a great combo. I would have preferred the cheese to have been a bit more melted, but oh well.

The tail itself looks big and doughy, but its actually quite light and airy inside, making this a great 'ice street' food.

I was in a sweet mood, so I had the Maple Butter. Maple butter, or maple cream, is spread over the tail, and chocolate syrup is drizzled over top. Brilliant.

This thing was a sticky monster of a mess to eat - with the cream and syrup melting all over the place. But dang it was good. What else can I tell you, maple, chocolate, fried dough = good.

As I mentioned earlier, my fave is only available at the permanent stands - Avalanche. That's cream cheese, Skor and choco syrup. There may not be a lot of Canadian cuisine additions, but this is definitely one of the tops in my book.

There's lots to see and do at the festival, and again I'll try and get some more photos up soon, so check it out. And when you do, get a Beaver Tail. Do it, you won't regret it! Just be ready to stand in line, but don't worry, they have stands EVERYWHERE at Winterlude.

Feb 6-22, 2009
Ottawa On/Gatineau Qc


Teena in Toronto said...

I had my first Beavertail this supper at the Ex. It was okay.

Lord of the Wing said...

What kind of Beavertail was it?