Food Network sweet on Nanaimo Bar

Joyce Hardcastle with her Nanaimo Bar recipe. Hardcastle makes an appearance on an episode of the Food Network’s Pitchin’ In show Feb. 6 - News Bulletin
Joyce Hardcastle with her Nanaimo Bar recipe. Hardcastle makes an appearance on an episode of the Food Network’s Pitchin’ In show Feb. 6
— image credit: News Bulletin

Nanaimo’s tastiest dessert is getting its fair share on national television coverage these days.

Comedian Ron James took a gentle jab at the Nanaimo Bar during his CBC show in December and now the Food Network is giving the treat a little exposure.

Lynn Crawford, host of Pitchin’ In, was on Vancouver Island in September, filming an episode on Island Scallops in Bowser.

The show also runs a recipe segment and researchers heard about the Nanaimo Bar and wanted to feature it. So they went to local expert Joyce Hardcastle, who won the Ultimate Nanaimo Bar Recipe contest in 1986.

“Lynn travels the country finding these food stories and jumps right in and participates,” said Hardcastle. “She asked if I would show her how to make Nanaimo Bar.”

So television cameras and crew crowded into Hardcastle’s kitchen for close to five hours of filming.

“They would stop filming and ask us to do something over again or say something again,” she said. “I never realized it took so long.”

The origin of the Nanaimo Bar is surrounded by myth and rumour, so when Crawford asked, Hardcastle gave the answer she tells everyone.

“Nobody really knows,” she said.

The Nanaimo Bar segment is about three minutes of the 30-minute show, but Hardcastle said it’s worth it.

“I live in a modest home and shared it with a North American-known executive chef who has her own television show. We just made a pan of Nanaimo Bar but it was a highlight of my life,” she said. “It’s not so much I want to see myself on TV, but it’s exciting Nanaimo will be featured.”

The shows airs Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. on the Food Network.

Nanaimo gets some additional coverage on the Food Network in March as Mrs. Riches restaurant on Fraser Street is featured in the new show You Gotta Eat Here.

The show airs March 30 at 6 p.m.

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