Maple Memories

Pioneer Maple

When I think about maple syrup, I always seem to flash back to when I was in grade school, and they would take us to the maple farms in the early spring. The sap would have just started to run, and there would be snow on the ground. To us simple kids, it would look like water dripping ever so slowly into metal buckets, drip… drip… drip… And there was always the patient guide, dressed up like the male or female version of a pioneer, explaining to us the importance of this “water”. We didn’t care. We were frozen. We just wanted the good stuff! The dark rich amber liquid that was boiling away in a kettle, reducing from what seemed like tap water, to sweet, delicious syrup. The best part would be when the guide, finally would give in and ladle some of the syrup onto the fresh clean snow and we’d break our teeth on maple taffy. Ahhhh a parent’s nightmare and a dentist’s dream. More than one kid always seemed to get lock-jaw when they couldn’t unhinge their teeth after taking too big a bite. But man, it was worth it!

I may have grown up a little since then, well, I’ve aged at least, and I no longer go on school trips, but I still have a warm place in my heart for maple syrup and syrup farms. As I mentioned earlier in the week, COR has a number of syrup companies that we certify, but I’ve been speaking to one in particular lately, which is Maple Orchard Farms. I was discussing with David Knappett, the president of the farm, about this blog and savoury recipes using syrup and he mentioned to me that he puts syrup on his chili! I thought, “why not?” Sweet and spicy? It could work! So today’s recipe is a chili that calls for syrup to be added into the recipe itself, not just drizzled on top like David does it. I hope David won’t mind that I’ve changed the way he makes it! I guess you could be a purist though and leave the syrup to the end and just drizzle a little over each serving like he does. To each his own… as long as there’s syrup!

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