All over the world, Canada is known for many things, including its especially harsh winters. After receiving tons of snow and braving the cold, Canadians welcome spring with open arms, for it coincides with the beginning of the maple sap harvest. When the mild spring sunlight hits the maple trees, they begin to weep and only then can the holy grail be collected. The maple water is meticulously extracted from the sap as the snow melts and the days slowly warm up, and after a tedious process, the delicious maple syrup is finally produced.
As you may already know, maple syrup is one of the sweetest delicacies curated in the country as well as one of its most famous icons. In Canada, the opening of the season is an event that can be appreciated with friends and family, whether it be in a “cabane à sucre” or in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. Of course, maple syrup is available and can be enjoyed all year round, for there is no better time to drench your fluffy pancakes or waffles in maple syrup than when you are hungry.
Producing more than 70% of all the maple syrup, Canada is without any doubt the largest maple syrup provider around the world. The two largest producers in the country are the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. In addition, Canada gathers many sugar shacks, the majority of which are located in the province of Quebec. It has a long history with the sugar maple trees; in fact, the story of maple and that of Quebec are very closely linked, so much that you cannot speak of one without thinking about the other. In Quebec, the first sugar shack made its appearance in 1850, but maple sap was already being used for its sweet tastiness for more than 200 years before that. Over time, the techniques used were gradually replaced by the use of metal pots, evaporators, tubing systems and the like. It is in 1951 that maple syrup as we currently know it was born and was sold in stores in small cans. As innovation and technology became more accessible for the industry, gathering methods became more advanced and producers can now push the boundaries of their art even further. Needless to say that maple products are deeply ingrained in Canadian roots and culture, making the Canada a rightful expert in the field.
As you might have imagined, harnessing the maple water in order to produce maple syrup that is both delicious and of outstanding quality demands time and skills. Naturally, the process is not identical everywhere, elsewise the result would often be the same. In Canada, the producers offer different grades of maple syrup, but all are subjected to strict quality standards when it comes to selling their products. For example, for Grade A products to be sold, the maple syrup produced has to meet very precise requirements. The color, the consistency, the odor and the taste of the syrup are thoroughly tested and the grade of the syrup has to be correctly and clearly identified. At least, that’s the case for my colleagues at Canadian Maple Company, who take quality control very seriously. They constantly strive to deliver a product that is as delicious as it is pure.
That being said, the fact that Canada is a world-leading figure in terms of maple syrup allows for a vast variety of quality and grades in the country. Whatever your taste buds dictate you, you always have access to an array of options and the choice is yours for the taking. In the end, it is up to you to decide which is your favorite, whether you prefer a delicious Grade A Amber Color or any other product on the scale.
For all these reasons, the country with a maple leaf sitting in the middle of its flag is a true reference when it comes to maple syrup. For us Canadians, it is a source of great pride and it is reminiscent of our connection to nature. Our producers take the gathering and transformation process very seriously and “are committed to safeguarding the health and the longevity” of the trees. Long story short: maple syrup is in our DNA. So, when a friend asks you where the best maple syrup is made, you might have a better idea as to what the answer is, eh?