Since the year 2000 Robert, my kids and myself have been working on spreading the word of Maple to the good people of Calgary. If that sounds religious it could be because to us maple syrup is almost biblical.

We’re not just getting people hooked on maple syrup, we are showing people that there is a whole world of syrup out there, one that includes medium grade syrup, but is not exclusive to it.

Considering we talk about this all day long at the markets I thought I would put a refresher course up on the blog.

Did you know that there are different kinds of maple syrup? If you live in Calgary or are from Western Canada you probably didn’t. It seems as though it is only people from provinces or states where cabane a sucre or sugar shacks are, are intimately acquainted with the different types, or grades, of maple syrup.

There are 5 kinds of syrup, but for the sake of this argument let’s talk about 4. At Good Stuff Maple we really specialize in two kinds of maple syrup in Calgary.

Grades of maple syrup are distinguished by their colour, sweetness and level of maple flavour.

Light (no 1A or no1 light)
This kind of syrup is usually the first run of the season. It is very light in colour (almost the colour of corn syrup) and is super sweet – I mean SWEEET! It maple flavour is not very strong, so if you are a person looking for sweet but not are not a huge fan of maple syrup this is what you want to pour all over your pancakes.

Medium (no 1 or no 1 medium) 
Medium grade syrup is what you find when you go to the grocery store and buy maple syrup. When get maple syrup any where in the world it is almost guaranteed that you are getting a medium grade maple syrup. It is pretty sweet and not crazy maple-y. When you think of maple syrup it is the medium grade syrup your tongue is remembering.

Amber (no2) 
Amber is. Well Amber. There’s not a lot I have to say about this syrup. We don’t get a ton of it from Robert’s family farm. It’s flavour profile is between the medium grade and dark grade syrup. If you have bought syrup from us at the farmers’ markets around Calgary it is because we ordered it in from a distributor. Amber syrup runs near the end of the season, usually.

Dark (no 3)
At Good Stuff Maple we specialize in Dark maple syrup. It is traditionally the last run of the season that you get the sap to make dark maple syrup. Dark maple syrup is the favourite grade in my house. My daughter, Kim, won’t even touch medium syrup. Until she tried dark syrup she used to swear she hated it. This syrup is not as a sweet, has a stronger more robust maple flavour and more vitamins and minerals. Some people say that they get a molasses flavour from it others get toffee. It is what I do all my baking and cooking with. All of my recipes on here are made with dark maple syrup, because it tastes better. Especially in savoury dishes, you lost a lot of the sweet but keep the maple flavour. Outside of us and a few health food stores you won’t find the dark grade of maple syrup in Calgary.

Now, the question 85% of people ask after learning about the different kinds of syrup is: “So, is the dark less refined than the others or something?” The answer to that is a pretty simple no. It is not even boiled down more than the others, it is actually dependant on the weather when you tap your tree. The earlier the season the lighter your syrup, that is why dark happens on the last run. There is a reason for this, and it is all about sugars and warmth or something…. Ill have to get Robert to explain it on the blog one day.

Feel super enlightened now? Who knew you were going to get an education today. but it’s the best kind of education, a maple education!

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