Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

10 Bottles of Maple Syrup, 32 Tasters and Lots of Pancakes

Last Sunday, Northern Ohio's Slow Foodies celebrated maple syrup season with a side-by-side tasting of ten, mostly local, maple syrups at Fire Food and Drink in Cleveland.

The results were somewhat surprising and entertaining. While no one syrup emerged as a clear winner, there were several that scored high and stood out as favorites among many of the tasters including #1, 4, 6, 7, 8.

More than a few tasters chose the elusive, thick, and rich, #10 as their favorite describing it as "fascinating and complex" and "more butterscotch than maple". To their surprise, #10 was revealed as none other than Mrs. Butterworth's!

People also enjoyed the other interloper from Vermont for its deep, dark maple flavor. This was a bit unfair as it was the only grade B in the lineup. We could not locate any local Grade B to compare but we'll keep searching. The grade B sap may still be running.

Here's the line up, selected comments, and where to purchase each syrup in the tasting.

1 MILLER FARM, Kinsman, OH (Trumbull County)
Light Amber
Comments: dark, strong, vanilla, metalic, pine, thick texture, robust flavor
Available at the farm, t: 330.876.5655 e:

2 MILLER FARM, Kinsman, OH (Trumbull County)
Medium Amber
Comments: strong maple flavor, candy, nice body

3 GOODELL FARM, Mantua, OH (Portage County)
Light Amber
Comments: delicate yet bold flavor, fruity, first buttery then roasty
Available at the farm or at North Union Farmers' Market, t: 330.274.3366 e:

4 GOODELL FARM, Mantua, OH (Portage County
Dark Amber
Comments: front of palate, yummy, coffee

5 SNAKE HILL FARM, Chagrin Falls, OH (Geauga County)
Light Amber
Comments: sweet, caramel, light, delicate,
Available at North Union Farmers' Market, t: 216.295.1105

6 SNAKE HILL FARM, Chagrin Falls, OH (Geauga County)
Medium Amber
Comments: light, maple, nice drip,

7 SNAKE HILL FARM, Chagrin Falls, OH (Geauga County)
Dark Amber
Comments: caramel, thick, strong maple flavor, buttery

Dark Amber, Grade B
Comments: dark but light, undescribable, intense, murky

9 HOLDEN ARBORETUM, Kirtland, OH (Geauga County)
Medium Amber
Comments: thin, clear, soft, dry, buttery, citrus, maple, sweet, floral, vanilla

10 MRS. BUTTERWORTH'S, Allentown, PA
I guess we call this medium.
Comments: fascinating, complex, more butterscotch than maple, vanilla, buttery
Available at supermarkets everywhere.

Douglas Katz, chef/owner of Fire, prepared a delicious spring brunch of Clay Oven Bread with Cinnamon Sugar, Lemon Souffle Pancakes (served with syrup #5 from Snake Hill Farm) and Blueberry Compote, Neuskie's Applewood Smoked Bacon, and House Made Breakfast Sausage.

Local farmer and maple syrup producer, Savory Rorimer, answered questions and spoke on the process of maple sugaring and nuances of the 2008 crop.

You can read more about the event and see fabulous photos taken by member/bloggers Nancy Heller and Edsel Little at Fun Playing With Food and Edsel's Flickr page.

Thank you to all who participated: local syrup producers, our speaker Savory Rorimer of Snake Hill Farm, Douglas Katz, Amber, Emily and the rest of the staff at Fire.

There's talk of combining Slow Food's 2006 bacon tasting with a maple syrup tasting for a Slow Food brunch extravaganza. We like this idea a lot. Stay tuned.

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