Chelsea Barr from the City of Nanaimo has been promoting the city’s latest (and sweetest) attraction. She’s put together the “Nanaimo Bar Trail” in honor of the famous 3-layer chocolate dessert invented in (and named after) Nanaimo.
Normally served up in bar form with a layer of vanilla custard between a bed of coconut and a solid chocolate topper, the Nanaimo Bar is being transformed into many different creations around the city. Keira and I had the chance to explore a few of these decadent treats during our recent visit to the Harbour City.
A Wee Cupcakery
Location: 407 Fitzwilliam Street
Specialty: The Nanaimo Bar Cupcake
While there were no Nanaimo Bar cupcakes on display by the time we strolled into the shop we had our pick from gluten-free creations, dark vanilla, gingerbread, and red velvet cupcakes topped with healthy dollop of sour cream icing. It’s also conveniently located just down the street from Jakeobs Ice Cream who serves up a massive Nanaimo Bar-theme ice cream sundae.
Location: 221 Commercial Street
Specialty: The Nanaimo Bar Martini
Vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, espresso, coconut syrup and a healthy swirl of chocolate sauce makes this super sweet martini complete. The addition of the coconut syrup and chocolate sauce really give it a Nanaimo Bar-like taste and if you’re enjoying one late in the evening, you can ask for decaf espresso.
Location: 1 Commercial Street
Website: Go Nanaimo Blog
Specialty: The Deep-Fried Nanaimo Bar
Known for their deep-fried specialties (from fish and fries to Mars bars), Pirate Chips serves up a piping hot deep-fried Nanaimo Bar coated in a light cinnamon batter. This crispy treat is melted and chewy on the inside, while it doesn’t lose the flavours from each layer of the bar.
Other stops on the tour include Mon Petit Choux for an organic version, the Nanaimo Museum for a brief history of the dessert, and Minnoz in the Coast Hotel for a Nanaimo Bar cheesecake. You can read about all of Chelsea’s recommended stops in this article she wrote for EAT Magazine or stop into one (or all) of the locations we visited this month.