Sugar Bush

High on my list of favourite things in life is sweet, wonderful maple syrup. Pancakes or French toast topped with table syrup is sinful in my books. Breakfast is meant t be drizzled in the true goodness from the maple tree, and it's especially delightful to dip your sides of bacon and cheddar slices for a sweet and savoury mix. Mmm...
So now that it's springtime, sugar shacks are pumping the sweet stuff. I recently visited Matthews Maple Syrup in Powassan, Ontario. It's a family run business that provides free taste tests and a ride through the bush to learn the production process.


With some 15,000 tapped trees, they collect the sap through a system of tubes running from tree to tree and all the liquid gets pumped into large vats. Through reverse osmosis, steaming and filtering the sap is transformed into liquid gold. The filtering process is what determines the grade - colour, clarity and flavour. Like a fine wine, we all have our preference. I tend to opt for the amber, but when sipping it, like we did at the shack, the lighter grades are more addictive.
At Matthews they not only bottle the syrup, but they also make a variety of products like barbecue sauces, maple butter, maple sugar, jelly, taffy, candy and even maple cotton candy. One thing they don't make is my favourite of all maple concoctions: maple whiskey. If you've never tried Sortil├Ęge, get some from the liquor store, chill it,  pour some into a liqueur glass, and be dazzled.
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