Best maple syrup!
For the longest time, I thought like most people probably do, that maple syrup is maple syrup. I mean, it's all pure stuff that comes from a maple tree, right? How different could it be?
But one day I decided to try this brand I found in the natural foods section at Hannaford's called Arnold Farms Pure Maine Maple Syrup. It came in a glass bottle shaped like a maple leaf, and had a pretty steep price tag. But I figured I'd reuse the bottle with the cheaper stuff.
I didn't feel like cooking any french toast that week though, but I did have a hankering for that maple flavor, and I was curious if there was any difference between this expensive brand and the stuff I usually get when I go to a diner or something and order real maple. So I tried a spoonful, and boy was I surprised! You could practically drink the stuff, it's that good.
After trying it, I paid more attention to how the stuff I got at the local diners tasted (the stuff from the little bottles they charge you extra for, not the fake stuff they give you free) and there was simply no comparison. The diner stuff was much sweeter, (too sweet) and a lot more like the fake syrup.
Of course, I haven't tried a ton of different brands, nor have I gone to a maple sugar house to get some fresh stuff, (I don't even know where there'd be one around manchester nh) so maybe there's one that's even better out there, but my eyes have certainly been opened as far as the potential greatness of something as seemingly simple as maple syrup.
There is a huge difference in maple syrup. There are different grades as well. I love grade C for cooking because it holds up better. For using out of the container - A or B grade. Also, this year's batch will be better than an older one. Also, the weather makes a big difference in how syrup can taste from year to year. I prefer to buy my syrup from local sugar houses - I feel that way I am supporting someone local and the syrup is usually a ton better than what you pick up at a gift shop or a grocery store.
We like the "heavier" flavor of grade B. Can't abide the fake junk. Always buy as local as we can.