It’s the impossibly obvious question but it still begs to be asked. Did the Nanaimo bar originate in Nanaimo? Well unfortunately the question will remain a verified mystery, as no one is able to completely confirm its origins. However, the earliest confirmed printed copy of the recipe appears in Edith Adams’ prized cookbook, dating way back to 1953. A copy of the book is on display at the Nanaimo museum. Despite this, some claim the recipe was published under a different name that same year called the London Fog Bar.
Others say the first printing of a recipe featuring all of the key Nanaimo bar ingredients dates back to 1952 in the Women’s Auxiliary to the Nanaimo Hospital Cookbook, although the actual recipe was titled the Chocolate Square or the Chocolate Slice.
There are also a unconfirmed references to the famed Nanaimo bar dating back to the early 1930s, when a similar looking bar referred to as the chocolate fridge cake was floating around. A few New Yorkers also claim that the recipe originated in their city, obviously, as New Yorkers think they invented everything, including inventing.
Regardless of whom you believe and what may be fact or fiction, one thing’s for certain, there’s only one Nanaimo, but many versions of the Nanaimo bar. Regardless, it’s safe to say that the true essence and cultural birthplace of the Nanaimo bar is right here in our beautiful city.