Slideshow SLIDESHOW: Exploring the Nanaimo Bar Trail in Nanaimo, British Columbia

[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

Most of Canada's contributions to gastronomy have two things in common: they are very bad for you, and they are also very tasty. The Nanaimo bar, which was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, in the early 1950s, is no exception. The triple-decker bar may be one of the sweetest desserts in existence. The traditional recipe features a chocolate, almond, and coconut base, topped with a vanilla custard-flavored butter icing and a top layer of chocolate. Variations on the classic bar include adding mint or peanut butter to the middle layer (as well as Cakespy's creative interpretations, including Triple Chocolate, Holiday Eggnog, and Candy Corn Nanaimo bars).

The Nanaimo Tourism Board recently created the Nanaimo Bar Trail: a list of the best spots in town to grab everything from straight-up bars to unique interpretations of the famed dessert, like Nanaimo bar cheesecake and "martinis". I took a walk (which quickly turned into a waddle) around Nanaimo to document the offerings.

About the author: Erin Jackson is a freelance food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best cheap and tasty eats in San Diego, including all things sweet and sugary, for her dessert blog San Diego Sugar.

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