Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Driving back from Elmira Sunday A. noticed that there were an unusual number of farms along the way advertising maple syrup. We pulled into one, and found that the whole operation was going great guns, and that there were other people who were taking the syrup equivalent of a winery tour. Turns out it was Maple Weekend (we were at Hillside Acres). I'd always wanted to visit a sugar shack, and I'd definitely go back and see more next year. I had some of the syrup last night, and it was terrific. Generally the maple syrup you get in the store is a lighter flavored version: although only Vermont actually grades syrup, it sets the standard, and Vermont Grade A doesn't have that strong maple flavor. In colonial times maple syrup was a substitute for cane sugar, which was heavily taxed. The lightest flavored syrup was "Grade A" because it was the most neutral tasting. The folks at the sugar shack had the light stuff, but they also had some darker syrup, and I was really impressed with its rich, complicated flavor. I shoulda bought more.