The folks at Square Deal Farm shared samples of their organic maple products, which are made on their home turf in Vermont. The package included a vegan assurance statement from the sugarmaker himself (Ray Lewis), something I don’t think I’ve ever seen done before. Kudos for that.
Organic Maple Sugar: Prepared by reducing maple syrup to its non-liquid form, the extremely aromatic sugar is so fine it’s almost powder-like. To say that I have repeatedly opened the bag and taken numerous whiffs wouldn’t be a lie.
I’ve used it stirred in bowls of hot cereal, as well as lightly sprinkled over a slice of toasted and (vegan) buttered whole grain bread. This combination tastes uncannily like (how I remember) honey.
The sugar’s super fineness makes it ideal for quick melting, and its flavor is incomparable. I personally think it’s best used in non-baking applications due to the cost, and keeping in mind that a little goes a long way, it makes for a nice occasional treat and would be perfect as a gift during the holidays.
Organic Maple Syrup: The pretty bottle I received was filled with dark amber grade A maple syrup. It boasts a beautiful caramel color, and after pouring some on a deserving stack of pancakes, I found that it offers just a bit of a smoky, woodsy flavor on top of the coveted sweetness.
Quite liquid at room temperature, maybe slightly more so than other syrups I’ve had before, it gets a bit thicker as these things do once stored in the fridge, with the added advantage of spoiling less easily. I got freaked out a long time ago when reading about someone who found mold in their expensive bottle of syrup because they kept it on the counter in what were apparently unfriendly conditions. Horror.
If you compare the price of a quart of this syrup with what you pay at the store, the same size (also organic) hovers around $17 at Trader Joe’s. This one is $19, so the difference isn’t major. Of course you have to factor in the cost of shipping too, which is usually where it starts to hurt with something heavy like this.
I did a finger taste-test comparison between the two because I’m one classy broad, and I can say that the Square Deal syrup wins by a mile. It has a far more rounded and solid flavor than the other syrup that tastes almost overly sweet in comparison. I still think the store-bought syrup is just dandy, but if we must really compare then there you have it.
And hey, look. A honey dipper. In liquid sweetener. It has been forever…
Would I buy these products? I really enjoyed the maple sugar in particular and will order more from time to time, making a point of having some to share with my parents when I see them next. They’re going to love this stuff too.