Catharine and I often have brunch at a well-known Montreal restaurant named Beauty’s. We always order the same items. Fresh orange juice, blueberry pancakes and bacon. Catharine orders the more expensive real maple syrup. I use the regular table syrup and it is perfectly satisfactory to me.
It is true, however, that it is all too easy to misrepresent real maple syrup. Rigtht now two American senators have a bill in the hopper that would impose tougher sanctions for the marketing of other syrups as maple syrup.
Table syrup is sickly sweet. While maple syrup may be expensive, even a small amount transforms a plain waffle or pancake, a simple slice of ham or cube of tofu, or a mustardy salad dressing.
But does Canada do enough to protect maple syrup? Quebec forbids the use of the word “maple” or of maple-leaf shapes or pictures, on any bottle that does not contain 100 per-cent pure maple syrup. But Quebec is the only province that does this? Some restaurants still pass off inferior syrups and most customers do not notice or they acquiesce.
Should there be more protection for pure maple syrup?
Is there a difference between maple syrup and table syrup?
What do you think?
Published by Neil McKenty on November 27, 2011
Here are the comments that followed:
I like brown sugar,actually. Put enough ketchup on anything and it works out.
Posted on November 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm
Lady Janus Says:
There’s a definite difference between maple syrup and its many copy-cats (I learned how to make one of those copy-cats for myself a few years ago). And the expense of it is only part of the difference. But yes, like with wines, a lot of people have trouble tasting the difference, and sweet is sweet.
But I don’t know what you mean by “protection.” Other than accurate labelling, what else could be done?
Posted on November 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm
Tony Kondaks Says:
Coke, Pepsi, no-name brand. Blindfold a volunteer and see if they can tell the difference in a taste test. Whenever I’ve read about this being done, no one can by any significant statistical amount.
I’d like to think that there’s a discernable difference between real maple syrup and maple-flavoured table syrup but I don’t have much confidence I could tell the difference in a blind test.
Sugar is sugar…whether it’s refined from cane sugar in some factory in North Carolina or from boiling boiling forty gallons of sap down to one gallon of maple syrup in a quaint log cabin outside of Knowlton. And for all I know disreputable purveyors have been cutting the latter with the former for years and I have been none the wiser.
Posted on November 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm
Neil McKenty Says:
One thought. Agriculture and Agi-Food Canada and the Quebec maple syrup industry have developed a “flavour wheel” for maple products, adding descriptors such as clove, butter, or roasted dandelion root, which enables Canadians to develop a finer appreciation of pure maple syrup.
Posted on November 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm
Table syrup is corn starch colored with caramel, and has never seen sap, except the sap who thinks it’s maple syrup. Why anyone thinks it’s maple, except for the colour, is beyond me. When I was knee high to a peephole I would chill the sap right out of the tree and drink it as I would a glass of water. That was a real thirst quencher. I must admit, however, that I drank more beer. The reason was that I could only knock off a few glasses of sap in a day, whereas with beer I could knock off 24 pints in a day. Isn’t it odd that we can knock off 24 beers in a day, but not the equivalent in milk or whatever.
Posted on November 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm
I was surprised recently to find Quebec maple syrup in the USA for $3.99 in a maple leaf shaped bottle that sells for 7.99 here. I suggest that Canada is subsidizing Maple Syrup to that extent.
I use a sugar-free syrup, and very little because I like strawberries & whipped cream on my pancake or waffle.
I wouldn’t pass a taste test-
Years ago I shipped a case of syrup to clients in Florida. They had never tasted the real thing and I was the most popular person, for awhile.
I think that Canada should increase our exports.
There’s no point in more product protection.
Posted on November 28, 2011 at 8:21 am