We released the 2020 list of the top desserts in Canada. We wanted to explore the same on a provincial/territory level. It was always our perception that the dessert preferences for each province differed from the next, but in reality, when we compared them we saw quite a different picture. While some of the dessert items were no-brainers, we must admit we were surprised by some of the more outside-the-box results. This is the rundown, by provinces and territories (not really in a specific order).
We chose the 300 most common dessert options and used the monthly search averages on Google to compare search numbers between different regions. While there were some wild cards, we’ll discuss these soon, we essentially saw the same top five desserts of chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, pancakes, butter tarts, and ice cream time and time again. The results for the various provinces/territories were mostly a reshuffling of top desserts in Canada, but with a twist.
Ontario Top Desserts
In the Heartland Province of Ontario, the results painted a more traditional picture very similar to the overall Canadian top ten. We did see the muffin swap out for the apple pie, though, and while this addition secured the Ontarian a position of #8, we might point out that the apple pie came in as #1 on the US list! No surprises there for our southern neighbours, but we did expect to see more of an apple pie presence in Canada.
British Columbia Popular Desserts
For the Pacific Province of British Columbia, a dessert substitution made us wave goodbye to the muffin and mochi in order to make space for the chocolate cake and, once again, the apple pie. Note, British Columbia makes up one of the seven provinces who ranked chocolate cake in their top desserts list.
Alberta Preferred Desserts
Alberta was the first province we saw adding cinnamon rolls and carrot cake to their top ten list. Similar to what we saw in British Columbia, these additions came at the cost of the muffin and mochi, and while we do want to focus on the top ten, we did enjoy seeing oatmeal cookies and saltwater taffy ranked by Albertans as #11 and #12, respectively!
Prince Edward Island Dessert Preferences
We were very pleasantly surprised with the data from Prince Edward Island. While muffins, mochi, dark chocolate, and ice cream failed to make their top ten cut, in their place we welcomed the above-mentioned cinnamon rolls and apple pie, plus oatmeal cookies and dulce de leche! No other provinces included dulce de leche in their top ten list and the only other list to mention the oatmeal cookie was the one from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Quebec’s Dessert Score
In Quebec, where apple pie came in as #1, we saw the addition of four new dessert searches. One of them, the gaufre, which makes no appearances on any of the other province top tens, is a French-Belgian waffle; the addition of this dessert is understandable considering the heavy francophone influence in Quebec. But we were surprised to find the lokma, which ranked #8! This Turkish type of doughnut ball, which is soaked in a sweet sugar syrup, is also known as loukoumádes by Greeks and Cypriots. Quebec was the only province to list the lokma in their top ten, something we didn’t expect to find when we consider Ontario has a larger Turkish community in Canada than Quebec. Two other dessert additions that made the Quebec top ten include tarte au sucre, a typical Quebecois pie, and cheesecake.
Newfoundland and Labrador Ranking Results
Moving on to Newfoundland and Labrador, we came across the date squares for the first time! Ranked #8, the only other province to feature the chewy treats in their top ten was their Maritime neighbour, New Brunswick. Similarly, the other Maritime neighbours Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island almost managed to include date squares in their top ten lists but came short, only ranking them as #12 and #13, respectively. It seems that east coast fishermen are partial to date squares or date crumbles, which incidentally, are referred to as matrimonial squares in the western provinces.
New Brunswick Dessert Choices
Looking specifically at New Brunswick, we were unable to find any desserts we haven’t already mentioned. Yes, they have a subtle east coast undercurrent, confirmed by the date square in their top ten, but overall the bilingual province demonstrated the classic Canadian tastes of cinnamon rolls, apple pie, and butter tarts. An extra tidbit we thought we might add: New Brunswick joins the company of three provinces and territories who deem the frozen food good enough for their short-listed top five… We wonder how many gallons of the popular Canadian tiger tail flavour New Brunswick consumes each year?
Desserts in Nova Scotia
The Bluenoser Province of Nova Scotia is another part of Canada showing quite conventional tastes. Ice cream almost missed out on making the top ten here, and if it had, we might be looking at oatmeal cookies or apple pie, both of which came in as #11 and #12, respectively! While there were no new desserts here that haven’t already been mentioned, we were pleasantly surprised to see the trending Japanese dessert of mochi ranked #14. This dessert continues to show an upward trend in growth, and it’s looking like Nova Scotia might be the first of the Maritime provinces to eventually include mochi in their top ten!
Saskatchewan Beloved Desserts
Heading west to Saskatchewan, the province affectionately referred to as the land of seed and honey, it’s worth mentioning that Saskatchwans seem to enjoy carrot cake more than any other province, ranking it #6. When considering additional desserts that almost made their top ten, the infamous mochi is nowhere to be found, but, we do acknowledge oatmeal cookies at #11, and dark chocolate at #12, which did contribute to dark chocolate’s position in the overall top ten list for Canada. For more on dark chocolate, specifically during the COVID-19 lockdown, we remind you to take a look at our top desserts in Canada post.
Manitoba Favoured Desserts
As with most of the other provinces and territories, Manitoba follows the general Canadian favourites like butter tarts, pancakes, and ice cream. But don’t let this fool you. As soon as we step outside of Manitoba’s top ten, our eyes spot a golden brown gem in the form of dulce de leche! We won’t lie, we’re quite excited to see the Latin American dessert ranked as #13 here. While it didn’t make the top ten, as in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba does join British Columbia in having an above average appreciation for the versatile confectionary. Though we haven’t been able to put our fingers on it exactly, for some reason the interest in dulce de leche peaked significantly in the first two weeks of January this year. Surely one of these provinces can tell us what happened because we’re curious to know.
Yukon Trendy Desserts
Yukon starts off ‘business as usual’, but a sweet spanner is quickly thrown in the works with the new addition of brownies. The only region to mention brownies. Not only that brownies made Yukon’s top ten list, but they are included in the top five! The next notable dessert here was the nutty and exotic baklava. Ranked #8 by Yukon residents, this was only one of two rare references to the dessert we came across for all the regions. As if this wasn’t enough, sitting just outside of their top ten we respectively found cupcakes, lemon tarts, and alfajores ranked #11, #12, and #14. For those who don’t know, alfajores are delicious dulce de leche sandwich cookies!
Northwest Territories Unique Dessert Selection
We think there might be something special in the water up north because the Northwest Territories delivered yet another interesting top ten list. Not only did they rank ice cream #2, but they ranked mochi #3, and we saw the addition of two new dessert items! They were the only province to include tiramisu and milk chocolate in their top ten list. Three other eye-opening desserts sat at #12, #13, and #14: milkshakes, pumpkin pie, and floating island. The first two need no introduction, but the last is a little less common. It’s a French dessert that consists of a light meringue, which floats on a sea of crème anglaise, like an iceberg in the Beaufort Sea or the Arctic Ocean.
Nunavut’s Original Dessert Choices
Last but certainly not least, we consider Nunavut’s unique dessert preferences. The only province to rank banana bread as #1, and chocolate cake as #2, the presence of meringue at #5 is unique. We were fascinated to learn that the cold communities not only ranked ice cream as #7, but also ice cream cake at #6! Another new addition was the (banana) pudding, which came in at #10. Looking beyond the top ten, we were delighted to respectively find Charlotte russe, gingerbread, and kifli sitting at #12, #13, and #14. Kifli, which may be unfamiliar to some, is a simple crescent-shaped pastry from Hungary and was originally used as a pagan offering to the moon goddess, Selene.
We wanted to see what was going on in each Canadian region, and as you can see, we were quite impressed. Being able to see the demand shift for our top desserts in the various regions of Canada makes you think that we are not so different after all. While there are a lot of commonalities, each region still has some special twists to offer. If you want to see how the overall Canadian desserts compare to the dessert lists for the US, UK, and Australia, we share the information here in the top desserts in Canada list.