What is it that makes our well beloved maple syrup so delicious? There’s just something so mysterious and magical in that sweet sap that makes people light up. Is the sweetness, the stickiness, or the fact that you could drizzle it on anything from pancakes to ham?
Although maple syrup can be enjoyed year round, it seems like when February hits and cabanes à sucre venues open up shop, Canadians
are reminded of this delightful, local product. As for those of us who can’t make it out to wilderness for a little syrup on ice, there’s a lovely shop in Montreal’s Old Port that will satisfy your needs.
Canadian Maple Delights is a specialty store filled with every maple product you could possibly think of. Thankfully, for the sake of our sanity, the shop offers maple taffy, or as we like to call it tire d’érable, for $2 year round.
To further your experience and in case you’ve forgotten the maple story from your elementary school field trips, Canadian Maple Delights offers an extensive maple museum explaining the maple syrup process.
When the store was opened in 1999, a division Citadelle the largest cooperative of maple syrup producers and sugar maple growers in Quebec, there were only 60 products. Today, assistant manager Mark McDonough says there are more than 260 products, ranging from salad dressings, to maple cookies, maple popcorn, maple pie, and even maple bath scrubs, all ranging from $3 to $25. One of the delicacies of their shop is their $3 delicious maple latte, served best with a pair of homemade waffles on the side for $2.95.
Now maple flavored drinks are usually too sweet for one’s liking, such as those you may see in some chain coffee shops, but the natural blend of this drink is mild, soothing and welcoming to your taste buds, veering away from the typical draining aftertaste.
McDonough warns that a lot of maple products are mixed with white sugar to enhance the taste. Health-wise, it’s artificial and not good for you. Natural locally-made maple syrup from the sap of Quebec’s forests is the way to go.
“[Maple syrup] is the world’s natural sweetener with the fewest calories, 100 fewer calories than honey. Everyone thinks that honey is good for you, but maple syrup is [healthier],” adds McDonough.
His favourite part of the job is working at the tasting table, where he interacts with customers and encourages them to try out the sweet stuff that’s here.
“We don’t push sales, but we push tastings. We want every person who comes in this store to learn about maple syrup, how it’s made and taste it […] taste a little bit of sugar. It’s good for you,” he said. “Drop by, say ‘hi’ and lets have a good time. We always love to have you taste everything in our store.”
We know now why Canada is so well-loved overseas. We’re not just nice and friendly; we have mother nature on our side and our good old maple trees to thank.
Canadian Maple Delights is located on 84 St-Paul St. E. http://mapledelights.com