Lots of factors can be considered when it comes to purchasing the best tasting syrup. For example, you can choose maple syrup for its grade, its brand, its quality or the place where it comes from. Your choice can even be based on more than one of these factors, depending on your preferences and how choosy you are. Of course, it is not a bad thing to take the time to evaluate the different alternatives available to you. There are many good syrup options out there. When searching for the best product, the most important thing is to compare your options based on the same criteria. If you are an expert, the viscosity, the smell and the color of the product might be good to determine whether it is good maple syrup or not. But if you use syrup on a more casual basis, the flavor is probably the most important thing to look for, as a bad tasting maple syrup is usually a true dealbreaker.
If you want to purchase maple syrup, the grade of the product will probably be what your choice is based on. The different grades bring a lot of variation to the taste of maple syrup since each has its distinctive characteristics. For example, the Grade A Golden Color, formerly known as the “Fancy”, has a very delicate maple taste to it. On the other hand, the Grade A Very Dark Color, once called Grade C, is a much more maple-packed and robust alternative. While these two options have a very distinguishing flavor to them and can be very tasty for some, not everyone enjoys them. In fact, most people prefer the two grades in between, whether they choose the delicious Grade A Amber Color or the rich Grade A Dark Color. The former has a smooth and unique flavor to it, while the latter is versatile and more intense. Both make great options for you to pour on top of your pancakes and waffles, and they remarkably meet the demand of those with harsher or more delicate taste preferences. It is no surprise why the Amber Color and the Dark Color are the most popular, as both are a good compromise to the lightest grade and its darkest alternative. Even then, there is no such thing as the “better” choice when it comes to grades of maple syrup. It is up to you to decide which is the best tasting option, as it really depends on your preferences and what food you are using it for.
When searching for the best tasting syrup, you can also make your choice depending on the brand of the product. As you might already know, there are many maple syrup brands available and their quality notably depends on the process with which the syrup was made as well as its ingredients.
On one side, there are brands usually found in grocery stores. Most of those products are not pure maple syrup, but rather pancake syrup, which is a cheap, lower-grade alternative to maple syrup. More precisely, a lot of those brands are made out of corn syrup – a food syrup made from corn starch. They are very accessible and less expensive, but they are also less healthy than the real thing as they are made from a lot of sugar and contain chemicals. Moreover, corn syrup products available on store shelves generally have a more bland taste as they do not contain all the rich and subtle hints found in pure maple syrup. For that reason, pancake syrup might not be the best option in terms of flavor.
On the other side, there are also brands directly provided by sugar shacks. Buying maple syrup straight from producers ensures that you have a better and purer product, and it allows you to encourage a family business as well as the local economy. Not only is it more sustainable than purchasing any over-processed syrup out there, you also have a much better chance to stumble upon a delicious product you will keep buying in the future. Of course, all real maple syrup brands are different. Depending on the ingredients they use, you might find that their products comprise various hints of vanilla, cinnamon or chocolate, for example. Other maple syrups, like the one curated by my colleagues at Canadian Maple Co., have a much more natural taste to them as they have not been diluted by any non-essential nor artificial ingredients. I personally prefer the latter option, as it allows you to truly savor and enjoy all the fine subtleties found in pure maple syrup. Still, it is up to you to decide which “handmade” brand is your favorite, as maple syrups produced in sugar shacks usually have a very unique and distinctive flavor.
You might also choose your favorite syrup depending on the place where it comes from. Some areas gather more maple syrup producers and experts in the field, and the conditions seem to be more favorable for the production of maple syrup. That is the case for the province of Quebec, for example, which is the largest provider in the world. The state of Vermont is also known for producing lots of the spring nectar we all love. Therefore, the state or province from which it originates might also guide you in your quest to find the best tasting maple syrup.
To sum up, it is not always an easy task to find the best tasting syrup. With a variety of grades and brands available, there is more to it than meets the eye. Since your choice highly depends on your preferences and the purpose you intend to use it for, chances are you have yet to find your favorite tasting maple syrup. In my opinion, it can be good to try out new things, as you might discover the maple gem you were always longing for.