A taste of genuine sweetness
Sample real maple syrup during New Hampshire Maple Syrup Weekend
By Susan Reilly firstname.lastname@example.org
Maple syrup makes almost everything taste better.
A swirl of maple syrup can entice a kid to actually eat vegetables. For adults, this amber nectar heightens the flavor of salmon, brussel ssprouts and, when reduced with milk, makes a fabulous dulce de leche-like sauce.
Maple trees, indigenous to the northeastern US and Canada, put us smack dab in the middle of maple syrup country.
But not all maple syrup is really maple syrup. Most of the stuff you would pick up in the supermarket has single-digit percentages of the real syrup or extract and the rest is corn syrup. If you have never tasted pure maple syrup, invest in a bottle of the real deal.
Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25 is New Hampshire Maple Syrup Weekend. Across the state 50 sugar shacks will open their doors and turn you on to the joys of 100 percent maple syrup. The New Hampshire maple producers have a complete list of weekend events and sugarhouses statewide at www.nhmapleproducers.com.
Other maple treats found locally include maple roasted coffee, maple baked beans and maple roasted ribs, all available at Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason. At Riley Mountain Maple in Milford, they sell maple jelly, maple salt and maple pepper amongst a variety of other unusual maple items. Maple Lane in Concord sells Indian sugar, a form of crystallized maple.
Maple syrup isn’t just limited to a jug on your kitchen table. In southern New Hampshire, there is no shortage of dishes spiked with maple.
Probably the most abundant use of maple is at the Common Man family of restaurants. Look for a butternut tortellacei ($5.99) served in a maple cream sauce and a pumpkin-cranberry crusted chicken served with a bacon maple gaze ($15.99) and spare ribs brushed with a molasses maple sauce ($15.99).
Manhattan on Pearl Chef Michael Dussault likes to use New England flavors. A mainstay on his menu is the batatas ravioli which are maple sweet potato raviolis served with toasted pecans and a maple butter.
In Derry, Pinkerton Tavern serves up scallops ($10.99 starter) which are wrapped in bacon and roasted with a glaze of maple syrup or served with a NY strip steak ($19.99).
Here are a few of the local maple sugar houses. For a complete listing of maple sugar farms in the state go to www.nhmapleproducers.com.
• Folsom’s Sugar House, 130 Candia Road, Chester, 524-7673. Open Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The house offers up samples of syrup, cream and candy. Maple syrup is for sale and tours run throughout the day.
• Hutchinson Family Sugar House, 271 Hackleboro Road, Canterbury, 783-4691. Open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sugaring off party will be held on Sunday and feature live music and dance. Also regularly available are sap coffee, doughnuts, sugar on snow, maple candy, cream and syrup products.
• Maple Butternut Farm, 184 Francestown Road, sugarhouse located on Pine EchoRd., Rt.136, New Boston, 487-5508. Open Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. See the wood-fired evaporator. Available treats include free coffee, homemade doughnuts and syrup samples. Syrup is for sale.
• Parker’s Maple Barn, 1316 Brookline Road, Mason, 878-2308. Open Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Samples of syrup and tours of the sugar house are available.
• Peterson Sugar House, 28 Peabody Row, Londonderry, 432-8427. Open Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Peterson offers guided tours of the sugar house, with sampling of maple syrup on maple walnut ice cream with maple pecans. All maple products are for sale.
• Tamarack Farm, 125 Asby Road, Canterbury, 783-9226. Open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Farm offers horse-drawn rides, farm animals, sugar on snow and a free tasting.
• Dean & Meg Wilber, 99 Oak Hill Road, east Concord, 224-0820. Open Saturday only, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Available treats include coffee, sugar on snow and samples of various maple products.