The Nanaimo Bar reveals some sweet secrets

In Canada, Cuisine by Lenore Newman2 Comments

I love Nanaimo Bars, with their combination of bittersweet chocolate, creamy sweet custard, and chocolate Graham Cracker base. I know they aren’t likely the healthiest food, and the dominant flavour is “toothache sweet”, but I grew up with them, and I am proud to call them a Canadian food. However the actual origin of this treat has been somewhat of a mystery, and so I decided given I am a Canada Research Chair in food I should get to the bottom of things. My student Shea Wind and I spent months raking over archives (and yes, sampling to keep our spirits up) and have largely brought the pieces of the puzzle to light. Our results, and a lot more on Nanaimo Bars, are out in a new article in the first issue of Canadian Food Studies, which is open access. Enjoy, but beware that an article about Nanaimo Bars can elicit certain…cravings.


  1. highmiler2013

    Interesting blog, and article about Nanaimo bars. Lived there many years and married a Nanaimo native in the mid 70s. There was also a strong set of vernacular narratives about Nanaimo Bars, which seemed featured in my ex’s family as far back as she could remember (the late 50s). In particular, they were always linked to a long standing bakery downtown. Interesting to have been involved in one of those invented place myth thingies…. Thanks for this.

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