This weekend was what seemed like the first real weekend of spring. We finally got some nice weather, meaning there was some sun, it was above freezing and there wasn’t a snow storm. Since the weather was nicer than it had been we decided we needed to get out of the house and have some fun in the great outdoors and maybe grab a bite to eat. Around here (eastern Ontario and western Quebec) this time of year is all about the maple syrup. When we get temperatures that are above freezing during the day and below freezing in the night, the sap in maple trees starts to flow and it’s time to turn it into syrup.
Canada is famous for our maple syrup. So famous that the maple leaf is on our national flag, you can buy it as a souvenir in most Canadian airports and it makes the news when a large amount of maple syrup is stolen. (Great Canadian Maple Heist) Most people think about putting maple syrup on pancakes, which is delicious but there are so many other uses. You can use it to flavour coffee, make maple butter, in baking, on oatmeal and in so many other ways. Not only does maple syrup taste great, it also brings back fond memories of sticky breakfast with friends and family.
This past Sunday, Sarah and I decided to go out to Proux Farm, where they have a sugar shack. A sugar shack is always located in a forest and is where a lot of syrup is made. Maple syrup is made by drilling into the trunk of a maple tree and placing a tap. As the syrup moves from the roots of the tree to the top, some of it flows down the tap and into a waiting bucket. The sap is then boiled until enough water has evaporated to make it into syrup. It’s amazing how much sap is needed, for 1 litre of syrup; you need 20 to 50 litres of sap.
At Proux Sugar Shack, you can see the sap being collected, sap being turned into syrup and get a meal at the buffet. Sarah and I took advantage of the buffet to douse our food in lots of syrup. The food at the buffet was pretty good, nothing amazing but the whole experience is worth the $20 per adult price. If you do decide to go for the buffet, be prepared for a wait and for there to be a ton of children. By the time we were leaving the line just to be seated was at least 40 minutes long. My favourite part of the morning is when we got the maple syrup snow taffy. This is when hot syrup is poured onto cold snow and then wrapped around a popsicle stick. If you’ve never had one of these sweet treats, you need to head out to your closest sugar shack and give it a try!