The taste of Old Blighty in Montreal

A little bit of heaven in a jar

From a culinary point of view I think I've done a pretty good job of assimilating here in Canada. I have maple syrup on my porridge (sorry oatmeal), I love a roadside poutine or two, adore a good tourtiere and I've even been known to eat squeaky cheese or cheese curds as they are actually known but there are some foodstuffs from home that I really miss. So a trip to British food specialist Bramble House in Point Claire, Montreal was bound to be emotional.

The real stuff - Lyle's Golden Syrup.
Best to go with another British friend of course. That way it's slightly less embarrassing to shout out, "Horlicks, Wendy!" or for her to call "Do you want this last loaf of fruity malt?"  I actually kissed a packet of cheesy biscuits I don't think I've seen in nearly five years. Cheddars, they sell packs of cheddars! Now for all you Canadians reading this you would probably like an explanation. Marmite you have probably heard of. It's black and it's a little taste of heaven on buttered toast in the morning. It gives you that kick that only yeast extract can (yeast what?). Just come round and try some - I've got a jar in the cupboard. Golden syrup is not corn syrup (how dare you) nor anything like maple syrup. It is the taste of slightly burnt toffee and also, melted in porridge, the taste of my childhood. The tin is as good as the syrup and there is a scene from the bible on it that used to fascinate me as a kid. A lion lies dead and bees have made a nest in his carcass. The slogan says, Out of the strong came forth sweetness, a reference to a riddle told by Samson in the Book of Judges. Golden syrup was invented in 1883 as a byproduct of sugar cane and its trademark lion has been declared Britain's oldest brand by the Guinness Book of Records.
Lemon barley water - I love you.
Another staple that we were never without back home but have had to live deprived-of here is lemon squash. No it's not a vegetable, it's a drink, silly. Lemon cordial to you. Just add water and you have a refreshing lemon drink - nothing like the dreadful powdered stuff that we buy from the supermarket here. So it was with some emotion that I purchased a bottle of Robinsons Lemon Barley Water this weekend. It's on ration and we haven't touched it yet but I'm looking forward to quaffing it's silky citrus properties soon.
Come to mommy, you little beauty.
Similarly I rekindled my love affair with more British fayre - Horlicks (a malted milk drink), McVities digestive biscuits, Soreen fruity malt loaf (a Sunday afternoon staple, covered in butter), walnut whips (where have you been all my life) and Fry's Turkish Delight (covered in chocolate, not for wimps). My friend couldn't resist the charms of a curly wurly, real Scottish oatcakes, Tunnocks wafers and bought a group of French-Canadian colleagues some British treats - wonder what they'll make of them. How DO you say hobnob in French anyway?


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