The Nanaimo Bar, famous for its layers of chocolate, custard, and coconut, is the inspiration for the Nanaimo Bar Trail throughout downtown Nanaimo. This tour, envisioned by Tourism Nanaimo’s Chelsea Barr three years ago, engages local businesses to remix the famous bar into drinks, cakes, and various other concoctions. Their innovative creations are featured on a self-guided walking tour.
Back in 2010, Keira-Anne and I were treated to a Nanaimo Bar Cupcake, a Nanaimo Bar Martini, and a Deep-Fried Nanaimo Bar. Just recently, I visited the trail again with Chelsea and a media group to see what new creations have been added to the tour.
Real Food Fast
Feature: Nanaimo Bar Cake
Location: #3 321 Wesley Street
Dallas Collis said the goal was to get you past those first two bites of a traditional Nanaimo Bar that usually have you putting it down because it’s too sweet. The cake was much more soft in terms of sweetness and the creamy custard filling was a great fit with the moist layers of cake. The generous serving you see in the image above is also just a half order of the dish.
Mon Petit Choux
Feature: Gluten Free Nanaimo Bar
Location: 120 Commercial Street
Nanaimo’s “little taste of Paris” offers up a gluten free bar made with crisped rice on the bottom layer, buttercream in the centre, and a simple chocolate ganache on top.
Feature: Deep Fried Nanaimo Bar
Location: 1 Commercial Street
The novelty of deep frying a Nanaimo Bar makes it one of those “must try” dishes. Battered up with cinnamon sugar and beer, the bar on the inside melts enough to become soft and chewy, staying true to the original flavours.
ACMe Food Co
Feature: Nanaimo Bar-tini
Location: 14 Commercial St Street
This decadent drink is milky, nutty, and rimmed with chocolate and coconut. In 2010 I enjoyed Modern Cafe’s Nanaimo Bar Martini as well, which was a bit more chocolatey and contained espresso for that extra punch.
The Nanaimo Bar creations are getting more inventive while still celebrating the delicious flavours and textures of the original treat. New this year, Chelsea will be adding a new “non-edible” category to the list that will have inspired spa treatments, soaps, and other indulgences for the senses. The Nanaimo Bar Trail list is nearing 25 locations which are all within walking distance. Learn more by following Tourism Nanaimo on Facebook and Twitter.