The Sweet Life: Maple Syrup from New Hampshire
When somebody says maple syrup my first thought is: pancakes! Lush airy-light pancakes with strawberries, crème, maple syrup. The memories of road trip early mornings in American diners arise and it is like I can catch the rising sun and that feeling of air conditioning (something that is just not a thing in Europe and that is firmly liked to North America in my head) from far off.
The finest maple syrup I ever tasted we found on a trip in the summer of 2018 that lead from NYC to New Hampshire. Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, in the Lakes Region and on the foothill of the White Mountains, is picture perfect setting. We were staying in a house by the edge of the water and watching the sun set and rise over the lake besides enjoying water sports.
The New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, Inc. is a non-profit trade association, founded in 1943, and it is fiercely dedicated to protecting sustainable maple syrup farming. Family-run businesses gather sap from sugar maples and red maples and produce high quality syrup under the association’s label. You can visit the businesses and take part in tours around their land to see the maples and watch a demonstration of the tapping, followed by tasting the amber liquid.
The centuries-old tradition of sustainable collection does not hurt or damage the trees. The tree is tapped and the flowing sap is the gathered in buckets and finally boiled over a fire. While utilising the wisdom and skill of their ancestors, the small businesses also augment their work by complementing it with modern technologies such as reverse osmosis to gather and perfect their syrup.
Maple syrup is an all-natural sweetener, 100% natural and unrefined. It not only adds sweetness and flavour to dishes, it also contains mineral nutrients and vitamins like Riboflavin and Manganese and thus is set apart from conventional sweeteners. Well, what besides pancakes can you have maple syrup with? Basically anything that requires a sweetener. Hot or cold doesn’t matter, be it in marple-barbecued spareribs, tea cakes or teryaki sauce.
The New Hampshire Maple Producers Association does not only grade the quality of their syrups by letters, it also uses a scale to classify the taste, ranging from golden to very dark:
Golden • Delicate Taste (first sap in spring)
Amber • Rich Taste (pancakes, oatmeal, ice cream)
Dark • Robust Taste (good for cooking)
Very Dark • Strong Taste (good for cooking)
If you are ever in New Hampshire during Maple Sugaring Month or Maple Madness, give it a visit!
Keywords: artisan, craftsman, craftsmanship, slow food, sustainable living, sustainable food, conscious, lifestyle, artisanal, small produces, small business, makers movement