The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.29.07


Sugar time and looking for the good stuff

Maple madness is upon us in La Belle Province and I have been surveying our local behemoth store aisles in search of some real taffy or tire, as it is known here. You might question why any knowledgeable person would venture into a corporate chain store in search of this seasonal treat at all.

The sad truth is that I live in suburbia and I can't just wander over to the sugar shack on my snow shoes at will. Nor can I count on a friendly rural neighbor or relative to drop by with gifts of syrup like so many country folk are privileged to.

You don't know how good you have it, you bumpkins…(tee hee). At this time of year I wish I was countrified and I don't mean Billy Ray Cyrus style.

There was a time in my life when pure maple syrup flowed like tap water at my house and I had no idea how lucky I was to have cans of the stuff put away like so much soup in a cupboard. In fact, there was often plenty leftover to swill at will before spring sprung and a new batch came calling gratis. Now I am a disenfranchised soul in search of some good stuff. Take hint dear readers.

What is really disappointing is that while pure syrup may be obtained (last years batch) under suburban bright lights and tacky faux sugar shack store displays just down the road from here, the optics are just plain wrong. Either that or I am just plain jaded.

A recent late night meander revealed maple syrup, tire and maple butter containing additives such as corn syrup and glucose at 2 percent in most cases.

I have to question the rationale of diluting for the Quebec masses when we produce 80 percent of the worlds maple products. Let's put and end to the practice of unreasonable maple accommodation and adopt bylaws to prohibit such things, I say.

Imitation maple syrup in Quebec is often referred to as Sirop de Poteau, implying that it has been made by tapping telephone poles.

Spring for some real wild salmon (not Chilean-farmed -- don't get me started) and smother it with pure locally produced syrup for a healthy maple season dinner. No Substitutes!

Maple Teriyaki Salmon

1/3-cup pure apple juice
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. naturally fermented soy sauce
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1or 2-minced garlic cloves
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Black pepper to taste
4 wild salmon fillets
In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture for basting (cover and refrigerate). Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add salmon, seal bag and turn to coat both sides. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Broil salmon 4 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade and broil 10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting frequently.