Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring has sprung!

Once again it is that time of year. Some wait for the groundhog to see his shadow before they announce the arrival of spring. In Québec the tradition is to announce the first signs of spring when the sap of the maple trees start running!
What does this mean? Well for those who have never experienced a sugaring off party, this is a part of Québec culture that you should experience at least once in your lifetime! First imagine the hardships of winter (and believe me this year has been HARD), then imagine the joy of those first warm days of spring when the sun shines down on our faces and the temperature starts to creep above the freezing point. The snow starts to melt, the birds start returning from their trip south and the maple trees start awakening and the sap starts running!

We collect the maple water by taping a hole in the trunk of a maple tree, a spout is inserted and a bucket is placed beneath it to collect the maple water. We also use a tube system that is
connected to a pipeline that brings the water directly to the sugar shack to be boiled. We then put the water through a concentrator (osmoses) to separate the sweet water from the rest of the water (only 40% of the water will be boiled). We then boil the water in a huge boiler that will slowly raise the temperature of the water from 4 degrees Celsius to 118 degrees Celsius until the water turns into a syrup.

We celebrate the arrival of spring with sugaring off parties that are held in sugar shacks where a special menu of omelettes, beans, pork, pancakes and many other items are prepared and served with the finishing touch being the maple taffy served on snow.
This celebration only lasts for 8 weeks, from March 1st to the end of April, and it is a wonderful way to get together with friends and family and to stock up on this golden elixir called maple syrup.

Join us for a group dinner or just a weekend get a way with a loved one.

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