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Discount Diva: Canada is open. What's your favorite Canadian treat?

Discount Diva: Canada is open. What's your favorite Canadian treat?

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Swiss Chalet (copy)

The nearest Swiss Chalet is across the border in Niagara Falls, Ont.

I recently crossed the border into Canada for the first time in almost a year and a half. It was a very special thing.

Grandparents were reunited with grandchildren. Cottage owners were reunited with their beachside retreats. And I was reunited with my sweet, sweet Caramilk candy bars.

I'm sure you aren't going to get a Covid test just so you can go to Canada and buy a Coffee Crisp. I wouldn't either. And I know you can buy a lot of Canadian foods stateside at places such as Vidler's in East Aurora and Hello Sweets in the City of Tonawanda.

Still, what better time to celebrate our favorite Canadian creations?

Swiss Chalet. It's no coincidence that the last two Swiss Chalet restaurants to close in the United States were in Depew and Amherst.

I didn't grow up on Swiss Chalet, but I can understand its legion of devoted followers. If you think people crossing the border for rotisserie chicken and Swiss Chalet sauce is silly, just try to tell me you wouldn't travel to Ontario to visit Your Host or some other extinct restaurant you've built fond memories around. 

Kinder Surprise Eggs. If you watch YouTube with your kid, you're aware that videos about Kinder Eggs have literally billions of views. Kids love to watch people break open the chocolate eggs and reveal the surprise toy inside.

A different version has become available on this side of the border but they're much different, thanks to a Food and Drug Administration rule from the 1930s. The rule – that foods cannot contain "non-nutritive" substances – was meant to keep things like antifreeze out of the food chain. But it also keeps the inner surprise capsule out of the center of Kinder's hollow, chocolate eggs. American Kinder Joy eggs are split into two sealed halves. Just not the same.

If you buy real Kinder Surprise eggs for your kids, be sure they enjoy them in Canada. Shipping, selling or carrying them to this side of the border is illegal. You can be fined.

Hawkins Cheezies. According to Saveur magazine, they "will change your opinion of Cheetos forever – they’re super crunchy and impossibly cheesy." Its maker is still family-owned.

Ketchup chips. I'm not a huge fan but wow do people love them. There are also Ketchup Doritos. If I'm going to have a Canadian chip, I prefer dill pickle ones. 

All-dressed potato chips. Ruffles describes them as "a blend of salty, savory and sweet flavors, all at the same time. Think salt & vinegar, ketchup and BBQ all rolled together."

Smarties. No, not that kind. Canadian Smarties are candy-covered chocolate buttons much like M&Ms. American Smarties are chalky discs sold in rolls packaged in cellophane. Canadian Smarties were originally made by British company Rowntree and Co., which was acquired by Nestle in 1988.

Mackintosh's toffee. You know it's good if it has stuck around for 130 years. Consumers are known to "Smack their Mack," slamming it against a hard surface to break it up instead of biting into it with their teeth. It's unmistakable in its tartan-patterned wrapper.

Poutine. Poutine and Cream on Hertel Avenue is one of my favorite places to take the kids for a treat. Its over-the-top indulgent Freak Shake milkshakes are awesome, but the pulled pork poutine is where it's at. Still, poutine is just not the same unless you're north (or, technically, west) of the border.

Aero. I grew up watching commercials for these chocolate bars on Canadian stations. They have chocolate bubbles that "pop" as the chocolate melts in your mouth. They were originally made by Rowntree.

Coffee Crisp. Another Rowntree invention. Vanilla wafers fused with coffee-flavored candy and covered in chocolate, they're everyone's favorite.

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I smuggled $100 worth of illegal goods across the Canadian border last week. To be fair, the illegal goods were chocolate Easter eggs and I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong. But after I got home, I found out I could have been fined thousands of dollars if I’d been caught. You see, my 4-year-old daughter is obsessed

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