BeaverTails are massive whole wheat dough balls shaped and hand stretched into flat oval pastries resembling the tail of a beaver. They’re then deep-fried in canola oil and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. You can also add toppings like crushed chocolate bars, fruits, chocolate hazelnut spread or maple cream. They’re kind of like Krispy Kreme donuts except they’re huge and have no hole in the center.
BeaverTails has become a nationwide sensation. In Whistler and Vancouver, you can top it with fresh salmon, capers and cream cheese. In Montreal, you can top them with steak, ham-and-cheese or even lobster. BeaverTails have become so iconic they’ve appeared in TV shows.
Who Invented BeaverTails?
In 1978, husband and wife Grant and Pam Hooker were selling pastries at a local fair in Ottawa. Grant’s recipe came from his grandmother who referred to the pastry as “keekla.” She was of German descent and would make the treats for breakfast, topped with butter and honey, butter and jam or cinnamon and sugar.
The couple’s daughter quipped that the oblong-shaped fried pastry looked like a beaver’s tail. And suddenly, they had a brilliant idea of renaming this fried pastry “Beavertail” since the beaver is Canada’s national animal after all.
Grant and Pam opened their first shop in Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market 2 years later. In the winter, they also set up shop close to Rideau Canal, which has a huge outdoor trail for ice skating. The skaters loved the BeaverTail as it’s a great pastry to munch on in the cold winter.
Word spread fast about this delicious treat and today, you can find BeaverTails foo trucks and kiosks in over 140 locations around the globe including Niagara Falls, Toronto waterfront, Banff, the United States, Mexico, France, the UAE and Japan.
BeaverTails Have Come a Long Way
Since it’s very first shop, BeaverTails have come a long way. In fact, they use about 50 tons of chocolate hazelnut spread annually to make the pastries. They also have a mascot named Beav who has traveled all over Canada to spread word about BeaverTails.
It’s as Canadian as Tim Hortons and poutine. If you haven’t tried the BeaverTails yet and are planning to, there are a few things to remember. First, you have to eat it back to front or front to back. Don’t eat it side to aside as you will end up with a thin, floppy pastry that would be difficult to hold. Don’t roll it up either so you’ll have enough time to truly enjoy your fried pastry. And lastly, be sure to have a few paper napkins in the ready because you will need them when you’re eating BeaverTails.
Learn more about the BeaverTail’s menu here and check out their video: