Sugar Shacks: Paradise for Sugar Bugs!
Let’s face it: we’re proud of our maple syrup! And with good reason![i] Going on a sugar shack tour during spring thaw to sample the year’s yield is an authentic Quebec tradition. You were planning on giving up this tradition to avoid excesses? DON’T, quite the opposite. This year, let’s take a look at how to approach this annual must-attend rendezvous.
Taffy on Snow
I like the idea of enjoying a stick of maple taffy first thing when you get there. This small-sized treat will calm your sweet tooth right away. I also like that it’s almost frozen, which forces you to slow down and savour it.
Appreciate the vast array of subtle flavours hidden in maple syrup, such as hints of caramel, brown sugar, honeycomb toffee, butter, or even French toast. Several factors will affect the taste, including the maturity of the maple tree, amount of sunshine, weather conditions over the winter, and the type of tap holes used.[ii] Maple producers could go on and on telling you about the different aspects of their passion!
Buffet-type meals are actually a good option, as you have control over what you put in your plate, but beware of the pernicious effect of variety! When faced with so many options to choose from, we tend to want a piece of everything. All I can say is, why not? A little bit of everything is also not too much of anything, as long as you adjust servings accordingly. Eat slowly, and just stop eating before you feel stuffed. Follow the guidelines in this chart:
Maple syrup all year long!
If you can, buy a bunch of maple syrup cans to build your own personal stack for the year. This way, you’ll have some handy for any occasion at home, and you’ll get to eat some of it whenever you feel like it, as no food is prohibited. This is the best long-term approach to eating healthy. Chances are that next year, you won’t feel anxious when sugar shack season comes around!
No need to Google the number of calories in a typical sugar shack meal. The only calorie indicator you should follow is your body’s feedback mechanism, i.e., hunger and satiety signals; it will tell you exactly when to stop eating. Food is not only about nutritional value.
Enjoy your sugar shack season!
By Dominique Longpré, Dt.P.