They’re a festive favourite in the UK and Ireland, but when you ask locals ‘where can I buy mince pies in Canada?’, you’ll likely be met with blank stares.
Cooking experts say they can be created homemade easily enough. Freshly-baked mince pies even taste nicer, they proclaim.
But for those of us lacking that expertise, a packet off the shelf, served with a dollop of ice cream, will do just fine. The problem every year though, is trying to find a packet of mince pies in Canada.
Before we begrudge Canada, it’s good to know that mince pies are actually a tradition with origins in Britain.
Its beginnings can be traced back to the 1600s. The name comes from the fact that they were initially made with actual minced meat, with mutton, beef, and a range of spices, sugar, currants, and raisins.
Over the centuries, the meat was gradually dropped and the modern day fruit-based recipe took hold.
But while tens of millions are sold each winter in the UK, they’re not a universally popular treat in other parts of the world.
The other confusing factor that halts people in their search, and what leads to those blank stares, is that they’re not even called mince pies in Canada. They’re more commonly known as ‘mince tarts’.
When you address them by their proper Canadian title, you’re far more likely to encounter staff who know what you’re talking about.
So where can I buy mince pies in Canada?
The good news is that there are enough of us spreading the word about mince pies that local stores are beginning to see the light and stock them.
COBS Bread Bakery, with outlets across Canada, sells their own brand of mince tarts. They can sell out quickly, but if you call ahead they may be able to hold a box for you. Some Safeway, Freshco, Real Canadian Superstore, and No Frills outlets also sell them.
In Toronto, Agora Café on Dundas Street West is taking orders for their baked goods, including mince tarts.
There are also numerous stores stocking Irish and British goods, like the Celtic Treasure Chest in Vancouver, which have imported mince pies for the Christmas season.
Just remember that the key is to ask for ‘mince tarts’, not mince pies in Canada!
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