The coolest thing about Nanaimo, a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island, is probably that it has a wildly-popular dessert named after it: the three-layered coconut chocolate treat Nanaimo bar.
According to the city's website, there is little known about its origin.However, over the years, the fudge-like bar has earned its status as a proud Canadian dessert. So much so that Canada Post even launched a stamp featuring the bar, in 2019.
Nanaimo bar includes three scrumptious layers: the bottom is a crunchy chocolate, coconut and graham cracker mix; the top is a hard chocolate ganache; sandwiched between the two is a thick creamy bar of buttercream.
And the best part? You don't have to ferry all the way to Nanaimo to grab one. You can treat yourself to the classic dessert right here in New Westminster's many eateries.
Trove Desserts has raised the bar on what a Nanaimo bar can be. The bakery, run by a sister duo, has boldly given the dessert from the 50s a striking twist. Besides the original vanilla-flavoured Nanaimo bars that you are used to skipping your dinner for — there is one that tastes like cappuccino, and another that has a hint of raspberry.
The bakery has not just given the bar a taste makeover, but also tweaked the proportions of the three layers. In their bars, the middle custard layer is extra thick. That means each bite will fold in a little extra creaminess along with the taste of cocoa and the crunch of crackers.
It’s understandable if you can’t stop with one. Which is why they offer dessert boxes, dessert trays, and a tri-pack of original, cappuccino and raspberry Nanaimo bars at the store.
Trove Desserts is located at 800 20th St.
Located at the River Market, the bakery offers the opportunity to appreciate the Canadian confection while pondering the history of Fraser river.
Grab a bar and stroll on the boardwalk; and while you delve into how the longest river in BC got its name (it was named after the explorer Simon Fraser), take a small bite of the bar that has come to be associated with Canada's culture.
While Nanaimo bars aren’t the highlight on the Mexican bakery’s menu, the dessert rests as a permanent offering somewhere besides their Mexican tres leches cake, tacos, and tamales.
Pamola Bakery is located at #117, 810 Quayside Dr.
The long-standing bakery on Columbia Street can give a dopamine rush to anyone who has a sweet tooth. From Sicilian cannolis, to hazelnut eclairs, espresso almond biscottis and more, the bakery includes a bevy of Italian desserts to choose from.
In this 1997-established bakery that’s known to make elaborate wedding cakes, and custom birthday cakes, you can also step in and order a modest Nanaimo bar.
While the bar is a classic vanilla custard flavour, the highlight, as per the bakery, is the chocolate topping. They use world-famous Belgian Callebaut chocolate to make the brittle layer that rests on their every Nanaimo bar.
Fratelli Bakery is located at 459 E Columbia St.
Greens and Beans
Want a tray full of freshly-made Nanaimo bars delivered to your home? Greens and Beans Catering offers a free delivery of a dessert tray that includes the traditional Nanaimo bars, right to your door — that is, if you are within a 2 km distance from their store.
Besides the bar, you can load your dessert tray with carrot cake, haystack brownie, Deep Dutch Brownie and more.
While it's difficult to predict when a hankering for Nanaimo bars may strike, the deli requires that you place your orders two days ahead — especially if you have an event planned and want to serve Nanaimo bars for desserts.
Place your order on the Greens and Beans website.
Located at 143 E Columbia St.
Waves Coffee House
The coffee chain, which was founded in Downtown Vancouver in 2005, has expanded to over 26 stores today — New West has two Waves Coffee House locations.
Both spots, while offering drinks such as Maple Macchiato as a “tribute to Canada’s legendary syrup” and Canadiano — the chain’s “patriotic take” on Americano, also offer BC's pride, Nanaimo bar.
Whether you plan to hang with your friends, or catch up on work (hopefully not) over cups of coffee this weekend, the sweetmeat might be the best choice of snack to pair your beverage with.
Located at 715 Columbia St. and 599 6th St.