Sugar High At The Sugar Shack
Real Canadians grow beards in the winter, including the women. Real Canadians actually enjoy back-bacon. And real Canadians dip their maple sugar candy in real Canadian maple syrup.
That is how I indulged my sweet tooth on the weekend, prefering the extraordinary taste of maple syrup over Easter's more traditional eggs. Sure chocolate eggs are fine and dandy and can rot your teeth with the best, but sweet syrup, priced like a fine rare Cognac, was my sugar of choice.
Suz and I spent our holiday checking out a Canadian tradition: the sugar bush. When the sun starts hitting the ol' Maples in March, the sap starts flowing and the sugar shack starts a-boilin'.
Good ol' Quebec is by far the world's largest tooth-rotting culprit, producing approximately 7 million U.S. gallons per year. Vermont is the largest U.S. producer, making approximately 450,000 gallons per year, and making them much lower on Health Canada's Hit List.
But considering how little comes out of one stinkin' maple tree, even 1 gallon is impressive. We took a horsie wagon ride through the sugar bush until we reached the isolated sugar shack, where our tour included a demonstration on syrup being made, sampling of the sweet treat, and one enormous jackass claiming that Michigan was the world's largest producer of Maple Syrup. The experienced employee handled the situation well, insulting no-one in the process of informing the mistaken gentleman that he was incorrect. But to drive his incorrect point home, Mr. Wrong left by announcing loudly to everyone, "Google it".
Suz and I left shortly after, trodding back down the meandering path which lead to the horse-drawn wagons again. The entire forest was filled with tapped maples.
Our return trip destination was the log cabin lunch building called Ironwood, where we ate maple syrup sausages, pancakes, and apple pie followed by mugs of hot cider and maple syrup chasers. Afterwards, we blew our allowance at the General Store, buying up loads of maple sugar paraphernalia.
It was such an insane amount of sugar that, well, let's just say when I pee, it's thick and golden and smells like the true north strong and free.