|Clockwise from top: Cheerio bar, Nanaimo bar, butter tart
-Shortbread is the chocolate chip cookie of British Columbia. It's everywhere. I did not sample any shortbread as I would be unable to stop eating it and I already know what shortbread tastes like.
-British Columbians do not malign the fruitcake. I saw numerous home-baked fruitcakes for sale and bought a marzipan-topped cake at a popular bakery called Bubby Rose's. I asked the woman at the counter how long it would last and she considered for a minute and said, "June?" I'm going back to the Dutch Bakery (thank you Anonymous) to buy one of their fruitcakes today.
-I noticed lumpish agglomerations of Cheerios and mini marshmallows at several bakeries before I realized this was a trend. I bought a Cheerios bar and discovered that it contained not just the evident Cheerios and marshmallows, but also peanut butter. I liked it, but was able to stop eating without struggle. It's no Rice Krispie treat.
-I was unacquainted with the Canadian butter tart until yesterday afternoon, but now we are dear friends. Generally sold as muffin-size pies, a butter tart consists of a flaky pastry crust that holds a golden and very gooey raisin filling. It's like a bright, sunny pecan pie, but with raisins instead of/in addition to nuts. I'm going to try baking the bar version of this lovely sweet.
-The ubiquitous Nanaimo bar involves a chocolate crumb crust topped with a layer of vanilla custard/buttercream topped with a thin, firm coat of melted chocolate. Because quests make everything more fun, I decided to find the best Nanaimo bar in Victoria. I would be in the hospital now if I'd actually tasted every bar in town, but I did sample quite a few and can say with some assurance that in Victoria you want to buy your Nanaimo bar from Bond's Bond (the best vanilla filling) or the cafe at the Royal British Columbia Museum (the best crust).
There are some vile Nanaimo bars out there. The filling in one seemed to be made with canned frosting, but the worst was a raw, organic pretender made with dates, brazil nuts, and coconut oil. I'm not going to malign the coffee house where I bought it, but can offer a warning: An earthy cafe that employs young hippies to ladle up the lentil soup will, as a rule, serve Nanaimo bars you don't want to eat.
I had dinner at Re-Bar on Wednesday night -- thank you Anonymous! It was great.
I bought breakfast at Devour yesterday morning -- thank you to another Anonymous. Devour is a tiny, bright place and along one wall are shelves of kitchenwares and cookbooks.
|Vij's cookbook is there.