This Spring, Make it Maple!

It’s that amazing time of year when winter’s coming to a close, the days are getting longer, and (most importantly)…. it’s maple season! maple-syrup-ontario_36526_600x450 As Canadians, we have a lot to be proud of when it comes to food, but not much else can beat the rich and sweet flavour of Canadian maple syrup. Not to get ‘sap’-y, but we even have the maple leaf on our flag! We’re definitely proud of the stuff… Maple syrup is the first sign of spring, when maple trees from across the entire province are tapped for their ooey-gooey sap. The sap is than boiled down to make the syrup we love so much. Fun fact: it takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup! You can find different grades of maple syrup to suit your taste – from light to amber to dark – which have a deeper, more maple-y taste the darker you go. Ontario is the second largest producer of maple syrup, and it really shows in the maple madness occurring across Ontario. No matter where you live, there’s an event near you! Check out some of these events happening this March and April:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMapletowne: A Sap to Syrup Story

When: March 2nd – April 7th on weekends, holidays and daily during March Break (March 11-15) Where: Mountsberg Conservation Area, Campbellville What: See how sap is magically transformed into sweet, sticky syrup and smell the fragrant steam rising from simmering kettles! Learn the secrets of Maple Candy making and taste FREE candy samples! Enjoy piping hot pancakes smothered in fresh maple syrup outdoors under our pavilion nestled in the woods. Guided horse drawn wagon rides through the sugar bush! For more info: http://www.conservationhalton.ca/events.cfm?itemid=3512 Bronte Creek

Bronte Creek Maple Festival

When: March 2nd – March 31st on weekends and daily during March Break (March 11-15) Where: Bronte Creek Provincial Park, Oakville What: Fresh Ontario maple syrup begins flowing at Bronte Creek Provincial Park on the first Saturday in March when the park’s annual Maple Syrup Festival gets under way. Enjoy a guided tour of the Maple Lane, where 1890s costumed interpreters demonstrate how to tape maple trees, make maple syrup and maple sugar. View artifacts in the maple museum or tour the 100-year-old Spruce Lane Farmhouse. Be sure to browse through the maple products and souvenirs available in the Maple Gift Shoppe and pick up a bottle of syrup to take home. Hop on a wagon that will take you to a heated pancake house where you can enjoy fresh, hot pancakes with pure maple syrup and sausages, served up throughout festival hours. We make our own fresh maple sugar and maple taffy!  For more info: http://www.brontecreek.org/bronte-creek-maple-syrup-festival.htm proulx

Proulx Farm Sugarbush Season

When: February 28th – April 14th on weekends, weekdays (reservations only), and daily during March Break (March 11-15). Where: Proulx Farm, Cumberland What: Proulx Farms’ 3rd generation sugar bush begins its activities in the last week of February and ends mid-April. Come spend a day in the country minutes from the city. You can smell the maple vapour from the sap being transformed into real maple syrup still on a wood fire. Enjoy a meal of homemade pancakes or the traditional sugar shack buffet. Enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride or for those full of energy, take a walk on the trails. Kids can play at the many different parks or visit the animals in the barn. Proulx Farm has lots to offer! For more info: http://www.proulxberryfarm.com/e/sugarbush/index.htm Maple-in-the-County-Taste-the-County

Maple in the County

When: March 23rd – March 24th Where: Locations across Prince Edward County

What: The Prince Edward County Maple Syrup Producers proudly present the 12th Annual Maple in the County! Enjoy family friendly activities at 8 sugar bushes throughout Prince Edward County. Fill hungry bellies with pancake breakfasts and s’mores, be entertained by fire trucks, petting zoos, antique tractors, lumberjack shows and more! Activities will be taking place all over the County. Take part in cooking classes, wine, cider and beer tastings, maple themed dining, flower arranging, farm animals, a farm & artisan craft market, and retail sales throughout the County.

For more info: http://www.mapleinthecounty.ca/ elmira

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

When: April 6th Where: Locations around Elmira, Ontario What: Elmira’s Maple Syrup Festival is considered a true sign of spring; visitors are drawn by spring fever and a nostalgia for a rural way of life. Come join the fun—there is something for everyone young and old. Thanks to our visitors from all over the world – Australia, Europe, Mexico, the USA, Canada, and even the North Pole – the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest maple syrup festival with 66,529 people. Our goal is to offer a family friendly, volunteer led festival to celebrate Elmira’s history as a maple syrup producing community through a blend of traditional and innovative events that will attract guests from across Ontario and beyond. For more info: http://www.elmiramaplesyrup.com/

These are just some of the that festivals highlight maple in all its amazing forms! Get out there and discover a truly Canadian food experience this Spring.

And remember: maple syrup is not just for drizzling over pancakes (although this is hard to beat)! Check out this week’s taste-tested to find out how maple syrup sweetens this pear upside-down cake. Maple syrup can be used as a sugar substitute in many recipes, so try experimenting with maple syrup next time your sweet tooth starts acting up!

Tune in to Cravings on AM 640 this Saturday, where OCTA’s Executive Director Rebecca LeHeup, will be talking about maple events across Ontario.

Let’s make it maple, Ontario!

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