Austin Kurtis, 5, left, and his big sister Ella, 10, of Levack, Ont., helped create a 240-kilogram (530-pound) Nanaimo bar for a Guinness World Records attempt. (Photo submitted)

Ontario chocolatier tries for world record with 500-pound Nanaimo bar

Fudge maker from Levack, Ont., and her children await word if Guinness will make record official

The world’s first biggest Nanaimo bar record attempt is drawing attention to a small Ontario town.

Chantelle Gorham, owner of Northwest Fudge Factory in Levack, Ont., and her two children Ella Kurtis, 10 and Austin Kurtis, 5, have created the world’s biggest Nanaimo bar for the Science of Guinness World Records exhibit at Science North, a science museum in nearby Sudbury.

The museum asked Gorham to participate because of her previous world records and record attempts. Gorham is the current Guinness World Record holder for creating the largest slab of fudge that tilted the scales at more than 2,600 kilograms (5,750 pounds) and she had actually put in a request with Guinness World Records in 2016 to create a category for a world’s largest Nanaimo bar.

“So we thought, yeah, we could probably bring fudge and sit at a table, but I thought this might be a good time to force ourselves just to finish this project,” Gorham said.

She found a recipe that was simple to make and could be stored, transported and displayed and remain edible. To ensure she got the right ingredient ratios, she bought a President’s Choice Nanaimo bar mix and scaled up the ingredients, which were laid into a large form on wheels so it could be moved and sealed.

READ ALSO: U.K. press wonders if Nanaimo bars lured Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Canada

The Nanaimo bar then had to be weighed as a whole according to Guinness rules. Northwest Fudge Factory’s record attempt at the world’s biggest peanut butter cup was rejected because the ingredients were weighed separately instead of as a whole peanut butter cup.

“So that’s kind of a new thing for us,” Gorham said. “All of a sudden we had to move this thing to a commercial scale and have it weighed, which wasn’t bad because it was only 500 pounds, but our fudge record was almost 6,000 pounds … it got moved around quite a bit, unfortunately, but it held up just fine. It was like the perfect dessert to be manhandled.”

Gorham and her children laid down the base of the Nanaimo bar the night of March 4. The children poured the middle custard before they went to school the next morning and poured the top when they came home that night. The Nanaimo bar was transported to Science North on Friday to be weighed, put on display and cut up for sale.

“It was about a 48-hour process from start to finish,” Gorham said.

The final product weighed more than 240kg (530 pounds). Guinness World Records specified a minimum weight of 200kg (441 pounds) for the world’s first biggest Nanaimo bar record attempt.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo bar stamp makes it into Nanaimo Museum

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Gorham said the entire Nanaimo bar sold over the weekend, thanks in part to the residents of Onaping-Levack, a rural area of Sudbury with a population of about 2,000, who turn out to support her, whether she’s working on a world record attempt or community activism, such as taking up the fight to prevent a school closure.

As for the big Nanaimo bar, its status as the world’s largest remains as yet unofficial and it’s possible the attempt might not meet Guinness approval, which Gorham said is extremely specific in its requirements.

“Everything has been submitted … they’ve become so particular, right down to the food distribution. They want to prove that you didn’t just throw it out and you weren’t wasteful about it … in a way I’m kind of thinking my application may be rejected on the fact that I chose to do one without an egg, obviously, because it wasn’t being baked,” she said. “So you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it is a no-bake [recipe]. It doesn’t have any egg and I had to explain to the best of my ability that it wasn’t an option.”

Gorham, who started Northwest Fudge Factory about 20 years ago after leaving the Greater Sudbury Police Service, expects the record, if it does get approved, might not stand long once word gets out the world’s largest Nanaimo bar isn’t in Nanaimo.

“I did tell my kids, I said, you have to expect that somebody from Nanaimo will be offended and they’ll break our record and we’re just going to be very happy for them,” she said. “This isn’t a record we want to keep defending.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo bars served at White House state dinner

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READ ALSO: Vancouver Island Brewing puts Nanaimo bar on tap



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
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