CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 14 Sci-Fi & Fantasy - Page 41

down the maple sap to its ideal sugar con- centration of 66.5 brix. Some lament the advent of modern technol- ogy in the sugar bush and yearn for the old days when wood smoke, fire, and tradition were the heart and soul of the sugaring sea- son. It’s certainly true that the efficiencies af- forded by a combination of high-brix concen- tration, flue-less pans, and diesel evaporators have the potential to produce technically per- fect and totally uninspiring maple syrup, de- void of traditional flavours or regional identi- ty. Yet this isn’t always the case. If a producer is so inclined, they can moni- tor sap temperature, yeast, and bacteria cell counts, and wait for the perfect moment to begin a very controlled evaporation process, employing a specific combination of heat and time to produce a maple syrup that truly ex- presses all of its natural potential. We know more about maple syrup today than ever be- fore, and making a truly exceptional batch remains a captivating and complex process. Every farmer has their own approach to pro- ducing maple syrup, and every farm has a microclimate that inevitably affects a syrup’s quality and flavour. Each day of sunlight and rain within the woods, and each step in the production process—from the length of time the sap sits in a reservoir before it is boiled, to the concentration point at which the re- verse osmosis system is set—contributes to an entirely unique maple syrup. This uniqueness is worthy of exploration, but in truth, this can only be done if we indulge ourselves in buying maple syrup directly from the farmer. This is because most of maple syrup’s nuanced and complex flavours—flo- ral, fruity, earthy and herbaceous—are lost in the mix as soon as the spring sugaring season comes to an end. At this point, the majority of the world’s maple syrup is scooped up by the large packing companies, blended for a stan- dard, boring flavour, and shipped off to the local supermarket with generic labels. It is doubtful that we will ever see the pres- tigious tasting panels of the world of wine applying their gustatory brilliance to the judgement of maple syrup, but for those in- terested, maple syrup direct from the farm offers a delectable surprise. MAPLE SYRUP GRADES GOLDEN AMBER DARK VERY DARK Delicate Taste Rich Taste Robust Taste Strong Taste Light Transmission Light Transmission Light Transmission Light Transmission ≥ 75% 50% - 75% 25% - 50% ≤ 25% © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.