Friday, May 13, 2016

Sarasota Food Blog - SRQ Chew - Quebec - The Sugar Shack








My  family and I recently traveled to Canada for Spring Break to visit some friends. One of our friends invited us to his family's cabane a sucre (sugar shack) in Quebec to make maple syrup. The experience was rich, sweet and incredible just like the syrup we made that day.


Nicolas and Catherine are the caretakers of the cabin. As soon as I met them I knew this place was a family affair. It did not take long to figure out this cabin is a special place for family and friends to spend time together, create memories and traditions that are pure and organic just like the syrup being distilled inside.

The weather conditions must be perfect for collecting enough sugar water from the trees. Freezing nights followed by forty degree daily temperatures cause sap to flow in the trees. Temperatures that remain warm cause the buds of the trees to open which in turn causes the sap to become off flavored. This time marks the end of the syrup season for another year. Season typically lasts approximately six weeks.









After the sugar water is collected from the maple trees, it's time to bring the water to the cabin to boil. The boiling process takes about eight hours which leaves plenty of time to eat, drink and talk amongst the sweet maple aroma that fills the cabin. Throughout the day, the water boils, and evaporates making the syrup denser and sweeter, turning it into a beautiful amber color.








The sugar water is also being filtered throughout the day. Nic uses an organic cloth to filter it. Filtration is a necessary and critical step for taste, clarity and the color of the syrup. Filtering removes the natural minerals that harden when boiling called niter or sugar sand. While the water is boiling down into syrup, we are handed some wooden spoons to dip in the vat of syrup to lick. We do this a lot! When the syrup is the perfect temperature, color, and thickness, it is time for the syrup to be poured  through an organic filtering cloth into the carafe to be canned. But first we must have some to drink. Nic pours some in a cup for each us. The taste was clean with a subtle vanilla sweetness like a dessert wine.
















It takes about forty liters of sugar water to make one liter of syrup. Nic said it was one of the best seasons he has had. We canned a lot. After sealing the tops on our own cans, we were invited to Nic and Cat's home to shed our snow clothes and have dinner. Dinner was incredible and for dessert, a toboggan full of fresh snow was brought to the counter. Hot maple syrup was poured on the snow to make toffee. When the syrup is still warm on the snow, a wooden stick is dipped and twirled in the toffee to make a pop. We also had to try the maple butter which is syrup that is whipped a longtime with a wooden spoon. Oh yes, it must be a wooden spoon. Divine.





Thank you to our friend, David whom invited us and because of him this incredible experience actually happened. Thank you also to our new friends, Nic and Cat for welcoming us into your sweet life. A la prochaine.



#SarasotaFoodBlog #Sarasota/MapleSyrup/Travels 

Copyright 2016 Kyra Barger. All Rights Reserved.

Photos by Kyra Barger of Faso Photography

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