There’s a delicious truth both locals and visitors savour on central Vancouver Island: It’s always the right time to take a tasty trip along the Nanaimo Bar Trail.
A scaled-down version of the self-guided tour, based on the tastebud-tantalizing treat, operated last year, explains Jenn Houtby-Ferguson, Tourism Nanaimo interim executive director, but things should be pretty much back to normal by now.
While the traditional Nanaimo bar will be offered at some new places this year, like White Rabbit Coffee Co. in the Old City Quarter, some non-traditional offerings are also on the menu.
“One of the other things that we’ve added is a Nanaimo ‘barre’ stop, which is at Zen Revolution Yoga and Spin,” Houtby-Ferguson says. “So that’s kind of fun, right? It’s downtown and if people want to get their exercise on, they can work off their Nanaimo bars in a different kind of way.”
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Burnt Honey Dessert Company is offering Nanaimo bar macarons, which while not “super sweet,” are still delicious, she says.
“There were also some other additions that aren’t necessarily Nanaimo’s,” she adds. For example, there was a Nanaimo bar liqueur that was introduced just before Christmas and (Nestlé Aero) makes a Nanaimo bar chocolate bar, so it’s that notoriety and that helps continue to raise awareness.”
Interest in the Nanaimo bar isn’t limited to the city – the dessert is world-famous, as witnessed by a social media post from the New York Times last year. A kerfuffle ensued, as the picture used didn’t have correct ingredient ratios, Houtby-Ferguson recalls, however it only served to amplify awareness of the Nanaimo bar.
Brochures with suggested stops on the Nanaimo Bar Trail are available at the Northfield Road visitor centre in Nanaimo, at participating businesses and online at tourismnanaimo.com.
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