Donuts, Coffee and Hockey: a True Canadian Hat Trick
Where donuts originated from is a sticky debate. The earliest donut recipe is traced back to Hertford, England, but the Dutch claim it was Dutch settlers who imported donuts into America, and Americans believe the donut we know and love today is an American sweet down to its very core. Actually the core, or lack thereof, is somewhat credited to an American sea captain Hanson Gregory. Legend has it that one day he poked a hole in the centre of a donut using the top of a round tin pepper box, and voila, the glorious donut hole was born!
Wait, what “aboot” the Canadians? We may not have invented the tasty, fried ring of dough, but there’s no question, we Canucks have helped put donuts on the map. I mean, there are donut shops on practically every street corner across the country; the most donut shops on the planet per capita, in fact. And we devour more donuts in Canada than any other country in the world; a lot of this can be credited to Tim Hortons also known as Timmies or Tims. No matter what you call it, Tim Hortons is Canada’s pastry powerhouse. They reportedly sold 500,136,000 doughnuts in Canada alone in 2011; that doesn’t even include timbits—we’ll get to those tiny sweet balls in a minute. So you see, donuts are as Canadian as hockey, maple syrup and long, cold winters. And when it’s hockey season in Canada, donuts, coffee and hockey are the ultimate hat trick.
For many Canadians, hundreds of hours or more a year are spent in cold hockey rinks. Whether it’s minor hockey, NHL, CHL, or a local pickup game, hockey in Canada isn’t just a pastime, it’s a lifestyle that’s fueled with caffeine and fried dough, There’s nothing like watching a hockey game with a warm cup of Tim’s coffee in hand and a mouth full of Timbits. Remember those sweet balls I was talking about earlier? Timbits are bitesized donuts, not to be confused with donut holes, that are made using a special dough cutter and come in all sorts of savory flavours including honey dip, old fashion plain, old fashion glazed, chocolate glazed, sour cream glazed, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and lemon.
Even the late co-founder Tim Horton has roots in Canada’s game as a legendary hockey player turned donut connoisseur. Horton opened his first coffee and donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario where coffee only cost a quarter and his home grown creations the apple fritter (an irregular shaped, apple-mixed donut) and Dutchie (a square, rain-studded, yeast doughnut topped with sugary glaze) were a plenty. Thankfully the ￼donut shop was such a huge hit that Horton decided to grow it into a franchise and the rest is history.
Donuts became a huge part of Canadian culture, hockey got sweeter and Canadians got addicted to caffeine and sugar balls, and we’re not “sorry” about it either.