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As a chef and resident of Nanaimo for over 20 years, I have heard many tales of the origin of the Nanaimo Bar. My favourite was about a coal miner's wife, an immigrant from England of the early 1900's made the dessert after many rumours abounding that there was gold amidst all of the coal on the Island, even though I don't know of any substantial gold being found here or anywhere on the Island. So the layers of chocolate, and the walnut crust were representative of the coal in the ground in and around Nanaimo and the surrounding islands, and the custard filling was the "gold" in the middle.

Often bastardized with various variations of the filling from raspberry, to peanut butter, and cappucino, produced commercially, and domestically, they are all good but there is nothing like the original, especially made from scratch. Also to note, it is a Christmas, as well as a year-round favourite in these parts.

Chef Hawkins


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