Maple syrup is made from the xylem sap of maple trees.
In cold climates, such as in Eastern Canada, maple trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter and then then converted to sugar that rises in the sap when day-time temperatures are above freezing, 0 °C (32 °F), while night-time temperatures remain below freezing.
Small holes are tapped into the trunks of maple trees to collect the exuded sap. The sap heated to evaporate water to produce the concentrated syrup.
The province of Quebec is the world largest producer producing about three-quarters of the world's supply. We eat maple syrup with pancakes, waffles, French toast, or oatmeal and porridge. I also use maple syrup in baking too.
And sap collected from sugar maple trees is boiled into maple syrup in a small cabin or series of small cabins called sugar shack(s).
There usually are loads of firewood stored next to sugar shacks.
So by this time of the year when sugar bushes start to collect sap, they open seasonal pancake house for a couple of months. we visit a sugar bush, i.e. maple syrup farm, in Quebec, and have pancake brunch there before a horse-driven sleigh ride.
I knew that it was too cold to see the buckets tapped in maple trees. Nonetheless we were very excited since the sugar bushes opened the brunch restaurant yesterday.
We drove over an hour to get to la cabane à sucre Chez Ti-mousse. My friend Tamara and her kids joined us for the maple syrup breakfast , just like last year. We had gone to Ange Gardien, one of the biggest maple farm in Quebec, two years in a row. But, as it was so huge and crowded, we decided to visit a smaller & quiter one.
At Sugar bush, you pay for your meal before you are seated.
You can also buy "pure" maple syrup at a competitive price :)
A typical Quebec style sugar bush meal is composed of omelet, baked beans, pancake with maple syrup, and oreilles de crisse(deep-fried smoked pork jowls). Sometimes Qubecoise split pea soup is also served.
Oh, one important fact! Sugar bush meals are unlimited, or à volonté.
Quebec style baked beans (Fèves au lard)
Assorted farm-made pickles
Oreilles de crisse(deep-fried smoked pork jowls)
This is my favorite :)
and Pancakes with maple syrup.
As you can imagine, meal with 5 kids should not take more than an hour.
As It was almost 10 a.m. and kids were super hungry, the meal was relatively smooth and cooperative ;>
After breakfast, we all went out to have a maple taffy.
Typically, Meal at a sugar bush includes a taffy.
Have you tried maple taffee? If not, you really should try it.
Maple taffy, or tire d'érable sur neige, tire sur neigh in short in French, is also called sugar on snow.
Boiling maple syrup is poured onto the snow and then rolled with a popsicle stick.
Old and young people, and children love maple taffy.
We had a nice cozy breakfast with an excellent service, but we missed sugar shack where we could eat maple taffy made by the professionals(?), which we had last year at Ange-Gardien.
These were taken last year.
Instead, at Chez Ti-mousses, kids could roll their taffies on the snow in individual containers.
Kids liked it anyway eventhough their jackets and gloves became messy. :(
As my stomach was full with pork jowls and pancakes,
I couldn't eat taffy. Remi had two maple taffies~
You are told to wait for 30-40 seconds before you roll.
But kids never listen to such an important advice.
Now it is rolled so soft and start to flow down :(
It was nearly 14 degrees F outside, but it didn't feel like that cold thanks to the Sun.
We bought the tickets and waited for sleigh to come.
We enjoyed ride on the sleigh pulled by two beautiful horses called Queen and Kate.
Two kids could seat just behind the horses.
Well, as there were more than 2 kids, they took turn.
This is Remi's usual pose when he is on a sled or a wagon.
Sleigh were making traces
The maple forest was peaceful and serene. Kids loved the sleigh ride so much that they wanted to have another ride.
These were wooden runners that made traces on the snow.
Both Queen and Kate were two and half years old and this year was their first year as working horses.
They are not yearlings or fowls.
They are under four, so they must be called fillies, but still like babies.
They had beautiful eyes.
Kids did't really care how cold it was outside.
I couldn't believe that they didn't want to leave.
For me, one hour at outside at 14 degrees F was more than enough.
Come on kids, it's cold!!!!!
My younger son is specialized in flying as you see.
The three guys in my life.
This was the last photo I took yesterday :)
I love drives in sunny weekend morning.
A brunch and excursion at sugar bush is what we'd like to continue until it becomes a long family tradition.