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maple syrup?

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eatsies Oct 1, 2007 02:56 PM

i used to live in montreal, and one of the sweetest (pardon the lame joke) food finds there was quebecois maple syrup in a 355 ml can for 5 dollars or less. the syrup always came in the same can- with a sugar shack and snowy maples on it, and the individual shack address was stamped on the side. the syrup came in dark, ,medium and golden flavours and was pretty much heaven on earth.
now, trying to track down maple syrup has been giving me a real headache. everything is so overpriced and the quality isn't as good.
apart from a 6 hour drive to montreal (or importing the stuff myself) does anyone know where to buy Quebecois maple syrup or a comprable substitute in Toronto?

thanks!

  1. c
    cheesymama Oct 1, 2007 03:51 PM

    I used to buy the same stuff in the market in Ottawa. I have had no luck finding anything comparable here. I even worked for a food shop that was paying more at cost for maple syrup here than I ever paid in Ottawa. Now I stock up every spring (for $5-6 for a 540 ml can), and if it doesn't last I ask family or friends to replenish my supply when they visit.

    1. Recyclor Oct 1, 2007 05:23 PM

      I loved that can of syrup too, funny though, I didn't realize it was a generic package and thought it in itself was a brand from my youth...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Recyclor
        e
        ekammin Oct 1, 2007 07:40 PM

        Am I missing something? Just about any supermarket in Toronto has at least one brand of Canadian 100% maple syrup, along with the usual maple flavoured corn syrup junk. The province of origin usually isn't given, but I understand that most of our maple syrup comes from Quebec. So, what's the problem?

        1. re: ekammin
          JamieK Oct 1, 2007 07:46 PM

          I'm with you there, ekammin, wondering the same thing. If all else fails, I suggest the Royal Winter Fair, some great maple syrup vendors there.

          1. re: JamieK
            e
            eatsies Oct 1, 2007 08:35 PM

            i don't know what the actual processing difference is. all i can tell you is that if you know what i'm talking about, you know what i'm talking about.
            i'll check out the royal winter fair though!
            and costco...

      2. jayt90 Oct 1, 2007 07:55 PM

        Costco always has litre containers of Quebec maple syrup for $10.

        1. a
          Apple Oct 2, 2007 05:41 AM

          I have seen a vendor selling them outside the St Lawrence north martket. I am afraid i don't know how much they cost but I suspect because it may be spendy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Apple
            gnuf Oct 3, 2007 08:13 PM

            I buy from that guy all the time (I'm not a Costco member). He has the plastic jugs (which I prefer, after dropping a glass one once) in various sizes and in various grades. I just looked in my fridge and a 1L container of the #2 Amber sells for $14. It's cheaper than the vendor in the basement of St. Lawrence, and cheaper than most supermarkets, which usually only carry #1 Extra Light.

          2. s
            Scary Bill Oct 2, 2007 06:59 AM

            All maple syrup is not intended to be equal, so before you go any further, I suggest you educate yourself abouth the different grades of maple syrup. Each will taste different and be better in specific applications.

            Try here as a primer: http://www.ontariomaple.com/fact-find...

            There may also be regional as well as producer differences, but I expect understanding the differences between the grades will lead you closer to the syrup you seek.

            1. m
              Mila Oct 2, 2007 07:14 AM

              I don't think I would rely on the packaging. The sugar shack with snowy maples is a pretty standard and generally available can for producers.
              http://www.atkinsonmaple.com/Cans.html

              The taste of syrup is based on many factors, most importantly weather, early or late harvest, filtering, sap storage and equipment.

              If you are looking for unique flavours I'd try some farmgate sales but you'll have to wait until March. Being an amateur syrup maker for several years I'd love to know what is special about this particular syrup.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mila
                jayt90 Oct 2, 2007 06:06 PM

                Farmgate or farmer's market are the only ways to get individual maple grove syrups. And even then you have to trust the purveyor. There has been a vast surplus of product in Quebec for 7 or 8 years and the price has not gone up at the wholesale level.. There is no Appellation Controlee for syrup, so most of what is available is blended, farm to farm, and year to year.

                1. re: jayt90
                  m
                  Mila Oct 3, 2007 06:49 AM

                  Maybe that is what Eatsies got. Really fresh syrup. It is not that the quality declines that much after time but there is a definite taste difference in new syrup. I like to say you can taste the tree with a lovely undertone of smoke.

              2. Davwud Oct 2, 2007 07:27 AM

                I buy the stuff from Costco and it serves me well.

                DT

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                  Abbeshay Oct 3, 2007 10:35 AM

                  I bought some organic maple syrup at Whole Foods Market in Yorkville this past spring that I thought was pretty good. No gimmicky packaging here though, just a large bottle with a green label, but I was impressed not only with the flavour of the syrup, but also with the size per dollar value I got. Also, I believe that alot of people are unaware that the maple flavour is much more prevalent in syrups marked as #2 Amber.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Abbeshay
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                    Yongeman Oct 3, 2007 11:14 AM

                    I think that most maple syrup would be as 'organic' as the one marked 'organic'. I'm pretty sure that it's just a tap-and-boil operation without pesticides or fertilization (although some may).
                    Although I often prefer the darker syrups like amber, the lighter varieties are more prized by folks who like more subtle flavours.

                    1. re: Yongeman
                      a
                      Abbeshay Oct 8, 2007 07:21 AM

                      I know, you're right about the organic labeling and the fact that no pesticide is used on the trees, I saw this on television the other night as a matter of fact. My main reason for purchasing the "organic" syrup was for the size and value. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product after I got home.

                    2. re: Abbeshay
                      m
                      Mila Oct 3, 2007 11:18 AM

                      This is fast becoming my favourite post...
                      This rant is not directed at you Abbeshay but just my maple frustration.

                      First, the chance of you getting non-organic maple syrup in Canada is next to none. Formaldehyde is banned by the government and there are no additives allowed in maple syrup.

                      Second, persons that make maple syrup try really really hard to get the first run of sap which produces #1 syrup with delicate and nuanced flavours. If you like #2 or #3 by all means use it, but please at least try our best work.

                    3. j
                      Janine Oct 4, 2007 07:15 PM

                      If you live fairly central on Saturdays at the Brickworks farmers market, there was a guy selling award winning maple syrup. It was amazingly good. All made on their 'farm' so that you got to taste the flavours from his trees.

                      1. s
                        Stewart Oct 6, 2007 08:18 AM

                        I used to enjoy the syrup in a bag in a box from LeSirpotier ... no need to refrigerate !
                        www.syrupbox.com
                        But, now, they seem to want you to buy 8liters at a time ... not even I could use that much syrup.

                        I just bought a jug at the St.Jacobs market .... good stuff.

                        Enjoy

                        1. s
                          Snively Oct 8, 2007 10:07 AM

                          It's certainly the wrong time of year to be getting fresh maple syrup, but in the spring many farms have syrup sold on site. Generally Canada #1 grade syrup is for table use. Canada #2 tends to have a much stronger flavour as does Canada #3 and Ontario Amber. Ontario Amber may only be sold at farm gate.

                          http://www.ontariomaple.com/directory...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Snively
                            DockPotato Oct 8, 2007 02:56 PM

                            Does anyone know if unopened maple syrup degrades or alters on the shelf?

                            1. re: DockPotato
                              m
                              Mila Oct 9, 2007 07:26 AM

                              Syrup that has not been filtered or canned perfectly can develop sugar crystals but that will not affect the taste. A trick I learnt from my grandmother was to re-boil syrup that was older (say, over 8 months) to capture a stronger maple flavour.

                          2. m
                            mightycheesehead Oct 11, 2007 07:01 AM

                            I have to say that the best maple syrup that I have ever tasted is McCutcheon's Maple Syrup. They are a producer in Coldwater, Ontario and have won best maple syrup at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair several times. Actually, that is the only maple syrup that enters our household anymore. To buy it is a little bit of a chore. Whenever we are driving up the 400 (this happens a couple times a year), we get off at the Horseshoe Valley Road exit and stop by the little gift shop across the road from the IGA. They sell the Maple Syrup there and I pick it up in 2 or 4L bottles. I decant about 500mL at a time for the fridge and freeze the rest in portions. Sometimes, if I am lucky and have extra time on my hands, I'll actually go to their place to buy directly from Mr. McCutcheon.
                            I am not sure if they do mail order, but they do have a website. Maybe their stuff is available at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mightycheesehead
                              xtal Oct 11, 2007 11:25 AM

                              How much does McCutcheon's cost?

                              1. re: xtal
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                                mightycheesehead Oct 11, 2007 12:30 PM

                                Last time I was there, I picked up 2L for $39 at the shop. I think that the 4L was $50.

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