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To celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, why not make a traditional Canadian dessert called Nanaimo Bars (pronounced na-nai-mo). The name Nanaimo comes from the city of Nanaimo on the Vancouver Island of British Columbia. The name itself means “big strong tribe” in the local native language. Nanaimo Bars are very popular in Canada and have been since the 1950s when a woman named Mrs. E. MacDougall created it for a cookbook.

Prep time: 30 mins

Total time: 4 hours

Servings: About 32 if cut into 33g bars.

6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. butter, softened and divided (12 tablespoons + 1 = 13 tablespoons butter)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (you can buy these pre-crushed or take some graham crackers and crush them yourself by hand or in a food processor)

1 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

3 tbsp milk

2 Tbsp. Bird’s Custard Powder (You can purchase the custard powder here)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Microwave the 2 oz. of chocolate and 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) in a large microwaveable bowl on medium power for 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the egg and vanilla. Once blended, stir in graham cracker crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press the base mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch square pan and bake for 8 min. Cool completely once removed from the oven.

When the base has cooled, mix the custard powder and milk together in a medium bowl with a whisk until blended. Add 1/4 cup of the remaining butter and mix well. Gradually beat in the sugar until well-blended, then spread onto crust. Refrigerate for about 15 min.

Microwave remaining chocolate and butter in a microwaveable bowl for 2 to 3 min. or at least until the butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread the chocolate butter mixture over the custard layer and cool completely. Cut using a sharp knife and enjoy!

Enjoy Nanaimo Bars with a cup of our Ontario Breakfast Tea, a black tea with a malty flavor and hints of Earl Grey. Nanaimo Bars are very easy to make and taste divine.

 

-CD

 

Note: This recipe has been provided courtesy of The Kraft Heinz Company. Re-written with permission.

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As far as I can tell, when it comes to matters of tea, our good neighbors to the north are much like us here in the United States. In the overall scheme of things we Yanks don’t really drink all that much tea. Our consumption of just over a pound per person per year ranks us at about 70th on the list of the world’s tea drinkers. The Canadians drink a few ounces less per year and are ranked a few spots lower on the list.

Tea Rooms Canada - a guide to tea rooms "north of the border" (screen capture from site)

Tea Rooms Canada – a guide to tea rooms “north of the border” (screen capture from site)

As for growing tea, we don’t do much of that either here in the U.S., with just one plantation that turns out any noticeable quantity and a few that grow even less. As far as Canada goes, there’s only one small tea farm that I’m aware of – not that I’m the final authority on that sort of thing.

Something I have noticed in recent years is that Canada, like the U.S., seems to be getting on the tea bandwagon in a fairly significant way. It seems that more news stories have been cropping up about up and coming tea merchants there – and the drinkers who consume their wares – and off the top of my head I can think of at least one growing Canadian chain of tea shops of some size. Then there are the increasing number of Canadian tea merchants I’ve been running across as I make my regular forays throughout the tea-related segment of the Internet.

However, in the interests of coming up with actual figures to support my observations, I thought it might be a good idea to turn to the Tea Association of Canada, who claim to know a little bit about this topic. They reveal that the Canadians drink about nine billion cups of tea a year, with the province that has the largest share of the tea market being Ontario.

While the tea industry in Canada is, much like it is here, made up of a large chunk of unexceptional mass merchandised teas, the good news is that, like here, the specialty tea industry is on the rise. While tea consumption overall is expected to jump 40 percent by 2020, specialty tea is now outselling regular tea and, as the association notes, “specialty and upscale tea continue to gain in popularity and now account for nearly 60% of the total dollar market share in Canada.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In the years that I’ve been writing about tea, I’ve commented a number of times about the relative scarcity of tea growers in the United States. We’re not really renowned for drinking tea here or growing it, although there is one producer of note – South Carolina’s Charleston Tea Plantation – and a number of other smaller operators.

It’s pretty much the same deal for North America, as a whole, as far as I’m aware. And while Canada seems to increasingly be the home for a number of tea merchants, including a few relatively big names, they too are apparently not much for tea growing either.

To put Canada’s tea consumption in perspective, consider that they drink a little less of the stuff per capita than we do here in the good old USA. Americans drink just over a pound of tea a year and are ranked at about number 70 worldwide. The Canadians fall a few notches down on the list, with a consumption of about 14 ounces a year.

But about that first Canadian tea farm. According to a recent article in the Vancouver Sun, the simply named Teafarm got started about five years ago when the founders planted 200 tea plants on their property on Vancouver Island. Don’t rush out to buy any of their homegrown tea just yet, mind you. The process of bringing tea plants from square one to a drinkable product is not a quick one. Don’t count on drinking any Canadian tea for a few more years yet.

Canada's Teafarm (image capture from site)

Canada’s Teafarm (image capture from site)

In the meantime, according to their Web site, Teafarm offers “a truly eclectic tea culture experience” and operates a teashop and gallery on their eleven acres, which they acquired in 2003. In addition to proper tea of the Camellia sinensis variety, the farm produces various herbs and other plants which are sold as tisanes and blended with other types of “real” tea that come from more traditional tea-growing regions far removed from western Canada.

As if that wasn’t enough there’s a tearoom on site and co-founder Margit Nellemann operates a gallery that features her ceramic teapots and more. And while I suspect that Canada may never support tea production on any significant scale, perhaps one day a few of us will be lucky enough to sample part of the modest harvest from our neighbors to the north.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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