Best Vermont maple syrup?
In connection with my other thread about Vermont cheese, I'm looking for suggestions on the best Vermont maple syrup. Based on my research so far, it seems like Grade B has the best flavor. Among the different brands, which one would you recommend? We are driving from Stamford to Burlington this Saturday, coming back on Monday. We ideally want places that are close to 91 (from CT to White River Junction) and close to 89 (from White River Junction to Burlington). It would be great if the farm has maple syrup tasting or similar. Thanks!
You're a bit early for the new syrup. Usually sugaring starts in March, though I think they're placing taps right now.
I've not noticed a lot of difference between "brands" (or syrup from various farms) as much as I've noticed the differences between grade A and grade B. Grade B is WAY better. IME, places that boil and bottle for sale in Vermont are pretty universally good.
That is to say, I've not tasted all that the various farms of Vermont have produced, but I've not had any from any of the eight or so different places I've gotten it from over the years not taste exactly as it should taste.
This time of year you're going to be paying a pretty high price for syrup, and I'd recommend finding it at a farmer's market. There's the one in Montpelier (Capital City Farmers Market Winter Dates: First and Third Saturdays December through April, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Vermont College of Fine Arts Gym, East State Street and College Ave, Montpelier) and I know they have some maple producers there that I've always liked. :)
As for tastings, you should be able to find a sugar house that might have tastings you can do (and certainly would have syrup to buy) by going here and checking the areas you'll be visiting: http://vermontmaple.org/open-year-rou...
I really love this place and recommend it often:
not a huge tourist place-- totally off the beaten path-- an old house with great sugaring, cheeses and such run by the Luce family. They will chat with you ad nauseaum....and are happy to do so-- you can sample away and leave with great treats and a feeling that you've discovered a real hidden treasure. If its a nice day they also have a lovely network of trails to hike...
This from a local syrup maker:
A high percentage of ag fair blue ribbons (Tunbridge World's Fair, Rutland State Fair) go to syrup from the valley between the Northern Taconics and the Southern Greens, the area stretching along Rt.7 from about Shafstbury to just south of Rutland. Something in the earth there seems to produce better-tasting syrup. There's a large vein of marble that runs there; it could be the calcium.