Flavour matters: What makes Lanark County maple syrup taste so good
Year after year, the distinct flavours of Lanark County maple syrup are celebrated on tables across the region. Like fine wine, the geographical location where maple syrup is made has a big impact on its flavour. Interestingly, it is the same scenic topography that draws thousands of visitors to Lanark County each year that is also a contributor to the flavours found in the syrup made there.
Lanark County has the perfect environment for maple syrup production; both geographically and geologically. The region is found near the Frontenac Axis where the Canadian Shield meets the Limestone Plains. The combination of minerals in the soil found in Lanark County offers an especially diverse “terroir” that flavours the world champion maple syrup produced across the county.
“Making such high quality and distinct maple syrup is the pride of Lanark County, and quite literally in the foundation of our communities,” Lanark County Tourism Manager, Marie White, said.
For the skeptic, the proof is in the (maple) pudding; Lanark County’s maple syrup producers have walked away with numerous awards thanks to the high quality and flavourful syrup produced there. Among the prestigious awards earned by producers are: the David Eaton World Championship Award at the Royal Winter Fair; the Premier Exhibitor Trophy for the highest points in all maple syrup categories; and the C. P. Corbett Trophy for the highest total points related to value-added maple categories.
“Our only year-round sugar camp attraction holds an international record, in addition to national recognition from Heritage Canada and Canadian Geographic,” added Marie White.
The Lanark County Maple Flavour Wheel describes the many different flavours found in maple syrup. The syrup produced in Lanark County falls in the “Confectionary” range and is a sponge–taffy-tasting syrup that tastes great on pancakes.
“Across Lanark County, you will find that our syrups have a similar flavour, but that taste is very different than in syrup found elsewhere,” White pointed out, “It’s our distinct flavour that makes our region so attractive to maple syrup connoisseurs.”
White also noted that in some ways the maple syrup industry in Lanark County could be compared to the wine industry, where vineyards are sought out for their regional flavour varieties.
“Maple is part of our culture. Lanark County is home to over 200 maple syrup producers, many of them operating on a small, craft-sized scale to create truly exceptional products,” White explained. “As a result, we have a wide variety of syrup making styles for visitors to explore.”
As the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, this sweet liquid gold is considered part of the very fabric of the community and celebrated, revered and loved, all year long. In spring, the maple syrup harvest is celebrated at maple sugar bushes and through community events, but the celebration continues into fall, where the concentration of sugar maple trees creates a dramatic display of fall colours.
The maple syrup influence in Lanark County doesn’t end there, it’s found everywhere from the Rideau Canal to Canada’s Mississippi River, where maple syrup pours from every table and is found in local restaurants, spas, breweries & distilleries, museums, specialty stores, factories, and even in the architecture.
Visitors from all over the world enjoy this authentic Canadian experience, spring, summer, fall and winter. Maple-themed events taking place in Lanark County are a chance for visitors and the communities to celebrate the importance of maple syrup to the fabric of the community. A few of these events include:
The Festival of the Maples is a free, outdoor celebration of everything maple that has been taking place in Perth the last Saturday of April for more than 40 years.
On the first weekend in April, participating maple syrup producers open their operations during Maple Weekend to celebrate and share the first maple harvest of the season.
The annual Maple Run Tour is a self-guided driving tour showcasing artisans, heritage buildings and locally made products during the maple season.
Lanark County Harvest Festival
The second Sunday of September, Beckwith Park is a haven for local products during the Lanark County Harvest Festival. Visitors are invited to meet local producers, talk to food experts, learn from cooking demonstrations and educational displays while enjoying live musical entertainment and free children’s activities.
In September, Lanark County is home to the Maberly Fair, McDonald’s Corners Fair, Middleville Fair, Pakenham Fair, and the Perth Fair. Visitors are invited to visit a fall fair and experience the beauty of Lanark County’s forests as Lanark County’s sugar maples turn from green to gold.
For more information about Lanark County’s maple heritage, please visit www.lanarkcountytourism.com. For event updates, join Lanark County Tourism on Facebook. Get travel ideas about Lanark County on Pinterest. Order your free Lanark County Maple Routes map at www.lanarkcountytourism.com/free-brochures.