If the subject of Canada comes up in conversation, chances are you're going to hear all about my deep and undying love for the Nanaimo Bar.
If you don't know what a Nanaimo Bar is, then clearly you've been wasting your life up until today. It's a no-bake bar composed of three layers of pure pleasure: base of graham cracker crumb, cocoa, coconut and nuts all held together with butter, a middle layer of rich, buttercream custard, and a top layer of firm chocolate. They're messy, they're hella buttery, and they are pretty much the most delicious and decadent thing you could dream of eating.
And while I've embraced variations in the past, recently I came across one that stopped me in my tracks: the one at the Savary Island Pie Company (not a typo; pronounced the same as "savory" or, you know, since they're in Canada, "savoury") in West Vancouver.
What we thought was a Nanaimo Bar was actually referred to as a peanut bar--because you see, the bottom layer was not the chocolate crumb mixture, but instead it was like a peanut butter cereal treat.
It does bring up the important question: is it ok to mess with the perfect balance of a classic?
In this case, when you're doing a sort of scotcheroo-meets-Special K bar-meets-rice-krispie-treat-Nanaimo Bar-mashup, it's so, so very OK.
The crispy crunch of the base adds a wonderful texture contrast to all the soft creaminess on top, and the peanut butter offers a satisfyingly savory dimension to the flavor.
All things considered? A successful riff on a sweet treat that I wouldn't dream of sharing with Mr. Spy (though he was quite satisfied with his raspberry rhubarb pie).
You can find this magic at the Savary Island Pie Company, 1533 West Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC.