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Quebec City - maple sugar and syrup?

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My wife and I will be in Quebec City for four days in November and are looking to buy some maple sugar. I'm talking about the bags of maple sugar that I can use for baking, etc., not maple sugar candy (though, I love that, too). In the States, maple sugar like this is insanely expensive. Last year, we bought it for a bargain in Montreal and we're hoping to do the same in QC. We're staying in the Old City, but have the time and willingness to go beyond the walls if required, though keep in mind that we won't have a car. Where can we buy maple sugar in QC?

And while we're at it, we're also interested in purchasing some very dark maple syrup. I'm talking low-grade stuff, not the watery stuff. I use it in preserves and it's fantastic, but it's hard to find in the States, where people seem too interested in the clear, Grade A stuff.

One note that I should add.. I know there is a "Museum of Maple" store in QC, just as there was one in Montreal. I wasn't too impressed with it and I'm hoping for something priced and merchandised with the non-tourist in mind.

Many thanks...

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  1. Is it possible last time you went to Montréal it was during spring aka maple time ("temps des sucres")? That's the only time I see maple sugar selling at a good price.

    But if you want maple product not-for-tourist outside of maple time, usually it's better to just check groceries, ideally outside the Old town. The two closest groceries I know close to Old Quebec are the Metro on Charest (somewhat near the train station in lower town) and the one on ave Cartier (walk west on St-Jean street for about 15-20 min).

    To be honest, I've never seen dark maple syrup, so I can't help you there. I'm not even sure if it's sold in stores in Quebec, I think it mainly goes to food producers.

    And the museum of maple in Quebec is only usefull for tourists that want to try maple taffy on "snow" outside maple season.

    Sorry my answers are not very encouraging! If you do find dark maple syrup, let me know, I'm curious to try that one day!

    8 Replies
    1. re: dominiquep

      We were in Montreal last November. I think we bought the maple sugar at a grocery, so I suppose we can just do that again. Thanks for the two locations you mentioned.

      The dark amber maple syrup is usually available at some stores, right? I swear I saw it in the markets in Montreal. Maybe I'm confused.

      1. re: glutton

        Try the farmer's market aka "Marché du Vieux Port". It's open daily from 9-5 and I'm pretty sure there are producers that sell maple sirup year round there. I was able to buy the really dark sirup (sirop de sève or "sap sirup") during the "temps des sucres". If they don't have the products you want when you go, they can probably help you find some so it might be a good idea to in the first days of your visit.

        1. re: Olemon

          Just wanted to mention that I've been noticing lately (here in Montreal) that if you go to any well-stocked health food store, you will find an increasing number of high quality eco-certified organic maple syrup/raw maple sugars. Certification requires following certain production standards (http://www.siropderable.ca/Afficher.a... from wood lot management to the region from which it comes. So while in Quebec City, if you see a health food store it's worth checking what they have. Often more expensive but worth checking out--actually may end up being less expensive than what you'd find in a touristy shop. Glad there is someone out there who likes the dark syrup--personally I prefer its richness and the taste can be exceptional.

          1. re: deborahm

            This is a great recommendation -- thank you very much. By chance, does anyone know of a store like this in QC? These places can be hard to track down on the internet because they tend fo be of varying quality, varying item selection, etc.

            The dark syrup is fantastic when I make ice creams, preserves, apple sauce, etc. So much more flavor than just the sweet, light syrup I see in stores here.

            1. re: glutton

              Next to Old Quebec there is "Crac - La Carotte Joyeuse" on St-Jean street outside the touristy area. Nice neighborhood to visit btw!
              The is bigger one in Ste-Foy : Aliments Santé Laurier.

              1. re: Olemon

                Slightly off topic, but I've started seeing more birch syrup from Quebec and particularly this brand at some local Quebec cuisine de terroir food shops:

                http://www.larbore.com/en/joindre.html

                No doubt also available in Quebec city--and might be worth checking out while you're there. I also second Olemon's suggestion above to walk along St. Jean beyond the tourist area. Lovely with lots of nice shops, including Choco-Musée Erico. They used to have hot chocolate this time of year with chilis and a vanilla hot chocolate that was amazing: http://www.chocomusee.com/

                1. re: deborahm

                  I'm not familiar with birch syrup. How does it compare to maple syrup?

                  1. re: glutton

                    I'm a Canuck through and through and even worked sugaring off during the maple syrup season in my teens, but I have never tried birch syrup. I was just surprised to see it from here as I thought you needed a different climate (much further north). Info. about taste can be found here on this US site:

                    www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/program...

                    I think, however, that unlike maple syrup it is an easier digested sugar and may have some medicinal properties. Although maple sugar is certainly better for you than refined sugars....

    2. Try Jardin Mobile on Cartier ave. I bought 3.5 oz of pure maple flakes last week for 4$. I'll check if they have maple sugar next time...

      1. There is a health store in Laurier Québec (large shopping mall in Ste-Foy) named Aliments de Santé Laurier, that sells all kind of maple produce. I bought very nice organic maple butter last year. I've never seen the real dark maple syrup though (I live here), that's interesting. Or maybe I just wasn't looking for it and never noticed... :)

        I also second Le Marché du Vieux-Port. Although since we're not in season, I don't know if the price will be great.

        **Oh, and for the record, that huge shopping mall is a 15-minute bus trip from the old city (#800 or #801).