*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.
After a long and shivery winter, maple is a sweet reason to get excited about spring. When the days begin to lengthen is when maple syrup rises to top of mind, and we yearn for the steamy sweetness of a sugarshack tucked in the woods, and the sticky world of maple syrup.
Here in Ontario’s Highlands, we love to celebrate Canada’s iconic sweetener, in all its forms. Yes, maple syrup truly belongs on the breakfast table, smothering French toast, waffles, and more, but its usefulness doesn’t end with your steaming stack of pancakes.
We take our maple syrup seriously, and you’ll see it pop up in ways that might surprise you, from an exfoliant and skin care product to liquor, beer, or maple sap. Read on to discover all the fun ways you can experience maple syrup without necessarily adding to your calorie count, and where to find them. Many of these experiences are available for online ordering so they can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Lathered in Sweetness
Maple syrup has so many vitamins and minerals, it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to use it a skin care product. At Fulton’s Maple Shoppe in Pakenham, they produce a full line of organic Maple Luscious skin care products that are so rich and deliciously maple you’ll be tempted to take a nibble. Their Maple Sugar Scrub lightly exfoliates and hydrates, while their Maple Shea Butter is a rich and creamy fix for dry spots.
FYI: The Maple Luscious Line is so good that Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello requested the sugarbush make a just for them to use in their spa! The result is their Maple Body Polish which is used in facials at the Fairmont spa.
Maple + Bacon
Any day you can combine two of Canadian’s favourite things – maple and bacon – is a good day. At the Cardinal Café + Shop in Sharbot Lake, they have created a delicious maple bacon donut that is the ultimate Canadian treat. Other spots with maple bacon donuts on the menu include Blackfly Grub Hub (Perth) and Healthy Food Technologies (HFT) (Almonte). These aren’t available for online ordering, so please check ahead for instructions for curbside pick-up and availability – these donuts are so popular they sell out fast!
FYI: In the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario (Lanark County), their Maple Trail highlights destinations like Blackfly Grub Hub and HFT, along with other fun spots to enjoy maple syrup.
Maple Brews and Spirits
As a sweetener maple syrup is beyond compare, and it’s those very attributes that make it a perfect addition to beer and spirits. These craft beer and spirits producers have embraced the potential for maple with open arms.
- Cartwright Springs Brewery (Pakenham)
Enjoy their Maple Porter, a beer that’s serious about maple. Made using only maple sap and no water, this brew’s sweetness is come by honestly. This beer is only available once the sap starts to flow (any day now!).
- Dairy Distillery (Almonte)
Try something new with a cream liquor that is made with maple. Dairy Distillery’s Friendship Series Gift Pack includes samples of their delicious cream liquor that are flavoured with coffee, chocolate, and maple syrup.
- Perth Brewery (Perth)
When you’re making a beer with maple syrup, it’s a given it’s made in Canada. Made with local maple syrup from Temple’s Sugar Bush, Perth Brewery’s Oh Canada Maple Ale is a keeper, with hints of maple and a malty flavour.
- Top Shelf Distillers (Perth)
Moonshine is all the rage these days, and Top Shelf Distillers in Perth has enhanced the moonshine fever with a maple twist. Their Maple Reunion Moonshine makes yummy spring cocktails where you can savour the flavours of spring with your bevvie.
FYI: Cartwright Springs also bottles and sells carbonated maple sap (in season), which is a cool and refreshing non-alcoholic option with light hints of maple.
Pampering à la Maple
When COVID restrictions permit, a little staycation may be in order. Be pampered at Perth Best Western Plus Parkside Inn & Spa with a full maple manicure experience. Breathe in the maple aroma while you soak your nails in maple-infused water, then exfoliate and hydrate your hands with a maple scrub and lotion (made by Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugarbush) followed by an application of nail polish (sorry, no maple in the polish!).
FYI: Only a short drive from Perth is Wheelers Pancake House, home to the Maple Museum which holds the Guinness World Record for maple artifacts. Tour the museum then dig into a stack of steaming pancakes in their pancake house.
Maple Everything Else
It seems there isn’t much we can’t improve upon with a little rich and golden maple syrup. There are the staple maple products, of course, like maple butter and maple sugar, but have you heard of maple mustard or maple vinegar? And there are even more fun pairings: Try maple granola or maple garlic marinade from Esson Creek, maple preserves from Wintergreen, or maple barbecue sauce from O’Hara Sugar Maples near Madoc. Pick up some of Shamrock Garden’s Maple Moonshine barbecue sauce at at Pêches et Poivre or Dandelion Foods in Almonte, or Valley Roots in Arnprior. There’s no end to the maple magic in Ontario’s Highlands.
FYI: Wintergreen also sells maple wooden turned bowls in their shop – the uses for maple just don’t end!