the canadian munchie landscape: protocol & pairings for the cannabis consumer

one of the most fulfilling and inspiring parts about traveling is experiencing all things new and wonderful. whether its the culture, the language, the architecture, or the food, inspiration can be sought and found at every turn if you’re doing things right. for the cannabis-friendly tourist - and also for the unbeknownst staycationer - food and flower are likely the preferred and celebrated pairing at every meal - especially when you’re on vacation from everything, including your diet.

finding your destination’s best destinations isn’t exceptionally difficult. between the unreliable yelp and the endlessly sycophantic google review, one can find an unending list of well-intentioned comments that any local will know is a scam (see “tojo” in vancouver). this happened to me and my partner when we were in the refreshing climate of bangkok in early may. after a twenty minute walk through a more unsavoury area of this colourful metropolis - expelling toxins that would rival that of any sweat lodge - we arrived at one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants on google only to be promptly added to our list of most memorably deflating meals of all time.

so how do you avoid making incompetent snacking choices when you’re visiting canada or you’re a canadian trying to impress your guests?

start by deleting your yelp app and only use google to play the old “i’m pretty sure we’re not where the blue dot is” game. stop fighting with your significant other and go on an adventure at your local grocery store for the truly unique and exclusive canadian dining experience!

sure, there are things that are born-and-bred “canadian” that are also available on shelves across the globe. anything from maple syrup to meat, dare cookies to mccain frozen foods. for the canadian food brands that are not exported or promoted globally, they are usually not missed as there are local or national brands to fill this void. in some cases, there are many instances where there is no palate for such an export and rightfully so. some foods are embarrassingly canadian as i’ll go into later in this article.

but what about the void left to be filled filled for the naive tourist wanting both the unique cannabis experience coupled with the exclusive list of snacks available only in canada? look no further! this list is not exhaustive and focuses on the canadian treats that are unavailable in the united states and most other countries. it is to be used as a guide for all cannabis users from stoners to patients and everyone in between to ensure a full-spectrum approach to canadian cultural snacking.

try the following:

✔✔✔✔✔ a variety of heavy-hitting chocolate bars: smarties, caramilk, crunchie, wunderbar, aero, and to a lesser extent, the mars bar are all inaccessible “bon-bon buzzkills” once you land in america and most other countries. pair with the british columbia bred “romulan” strain for maximum appetite. currently available in the grey market only.

✔✔✔✔ dill and ketchup chips: for a country whose food pyramid is built on a foundation of lips, assholes, and sesame buns with accompanying deep fried potatoes, you think they would have a greater affinity for the hamburger’s accessory-flavour palate pleasers. but alas, there will be no marrying of the brine nor ketchup to the fried chip in the american snack food aisle. the b.c. bud cultivar, ‘black tuna’ will keep the munchies in their “on” position for this snacking experience. currently available in the grey market only.

✔✔✔✔ swiss chalet: i have since become a pescatarian but this doesn’t change the fact that swiss chalet is a national treasure and a dish best served whenever you want! however, swiss chalet has become a more polarized preference and it is not suggested that you use this option to relate to all canadians or when attempting to bridge the cultural gap. always ask how they feel about swiss chalet sauce before engaging the topic. a ‘b.c. rockstar kush’ from whistler medical marijuana will have you singing the right tune.

✔✔✔ kinder surprise: get your fill of kinder surprise and the accompanying toys while you can. this threat to american national security will land you in a heap of trouble at american customs. this one you won’t find in america but trouble will find you if you’re not careful. if you’re ever in line at american customs and you have your kinder surprise three-pack in your luggage, always remember this little rhyme - “if you can eat it, you can beat it!”. (see also “applies to edibles”) strawberry cream from top leaf canada is truly the ideal amuse bouche for the soothing of any sweet tooth.

✔✔ honourable or otherwise neutral recommendations: there are some snacks that exist in the “grey area” of preferences. although not polarizing to the general population, the following treats - like ribbon candy to america’s seniors - are not always appreciated or otherwise desirable by it’s intended audience. they’re perfectly fine in a pinch and no one is going to turn them down if you’re on a desert island with nothing else to eat. safe to try but not to gift - hickory sticks, crispy crunch, and butter tarts live in this grey area. this is where we suggest a cultivar boasting higher levels of thc-v (>.1%) to begin inhibiting your desire to over-consume or experience buyer’s remorse. sunshine blue dream from the sunshine coast in british columbia boasts higher than average levels of thc-v while helping you stay alert and focused in your mission to not buy butter tarts by the baker’s dozen. prefer the regulated environment - try blue dream from tantalus labs, aurora, or canna farms.

great gifts for caucasian parents/hosts: although not an overly emasculating curve, "macintosh’s creamy caramel" skews male and is guaranteed to please any white father or aging caucasian host, especially those with british accents, slippers, and their own teeth. you’ll hit a home run when you bat away her questions about grandchildren with a “kit kat break”. both will vye for space in the freezer, providing not only longevity for both treats but an additional functionality to the creamy caramel by creating “shatter” when smashed against the countertop at subzero temperatures. in a pinch, try "maltesers" for your father-in-law and a "coffee crisp" for your mother-in-law. but don’t think you’re going to be the life of the millennial party if you bring any of the treats to the jimbaroo. like cbd and to a lesser extent, salad, you won’t make friends with any of these options. you might help alleviate the anxiety-ridden experience of interacting with your in-laws with a joint or two of ‘cannatonic’ from tantalus labs, sungrown in maple ridge, b.c. and available in legal retail stores across canada. if anxiety isn’t the problem and introversion is, i would suggest pairing this experience with a healthy dose of ‘jean guy’ from ontario’s 7 acres that has done a great job keeping me alert and ready to face any challenge. try also from high park (a tilray company). i suggest avoiding all aphria flower, and that includes their prerolls also.

just because you can doesn't mean you should

under no uncertain circumstances: there are some inalienable truths and telltale signs of “batshit” in the underbelly of canadian confectionary and related sweets. “under no uncertain circumstances” applies not only to how you should purchase your canadian confectionary but also in how you evaluate others’ choices (as in, under no uncertain circumstances should you date that person who just purchased {insert candy bar here}.) keeping in mind i eat the skins on kiwis (i'm that kind of crazy), the following are unacceptable under any and all circumstances. never purchase a "mr. big", a "sweet marie", and sitting atop the holy trinity of candy horror, the demonic "big turk". run, don’t walk when you find a box of big turks in your date’s pantry. that’s some bunny-boiling behaviour right there. ‘space queen’ from sacred garden cannabis on vancouver island should help with any nausea. otherwise, find yourself some headband and have a nap. then seek professional help.

tune in next time when we review the state of edibles in canada from both the perspective of the proposed regulations, what is currently available in the canadian grey market and why "grey" will be a thriving marketplace for years to come. for both therapeutic and recreational purposes, we will highlight some of the myths and facts relating to edible consumption, how it is a challenging arena to navigate, and how to best engage edibles in this emerging marketplace.

for regular musings and to stay up to date with a debatably relevant information relating to navigating life in the cannabis space, be sure to subscribe to this blog, my vlog on youtube, “the cobb & unity” podcast, and the @matchstickmarijuana instagram account.

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