What’s This… A Syrup Sommelier?

Making maple candy

Oh those Quebecers!

The Loews Hotel Vogue in Montreal has just introduced the world’s first Syrup Sommelier.

Although New England is generally thought of as the land of all things maple, the Loews Hotel Vogue is helping Canada take back its claim as the maple capital of North America.

Maple syrup and all its nuances are serious biz in Canada (note that even the maple leaf takes center stage on the country’s national flag).

In 2004, the Maple Flavor Wheel was developed by the government to describe and label the range of flavors to be found in various maple syrups. The wheel comprises 13 flavor families, which are subdivided into 39 subfamilies, which are in turn subdivided into 91 attributes.

The flavors range from brown sugar and banana to sawdust and hay.

The Maple Flavor Wheel is merely the visual representation of a reference vocabulary, and like wine tasters, maple enthusiasts can use the wheel to develop their palettes and sensory appreciation of this complicated taste.

To assist sugar-seekers in getting a true “taste,” the Loews Hotel Vogue is introducing its first Sugar Season Package. The one night package includes accommodations in a premium guest room; private limousine transportation to and from one of Quebec’s traditional “sugar shacks” for both an educational and tasty tour; and a maple-infused breakfast created by the hotel’s Syrup Sommelier, Executive Chef Omar Fathallah.

Chef Omar will also put together an excursion for guests to Montreal’s famed Canadian Maple Delights, Quebec’s largest cooperative of maple producers.

The hotel also offers an All Day/All Maple room service menu, which features such items as Crepes Stuffed with Apples and Maple Syrup, Maple Sweet Bread and Maple-Infused Cafe Latte.

The package is $595 CDN and is available through April 30, 2007. Travelers can book the package at www.loweshotels.com or by calling 800.465.6654.

My husband and I went to a sugar shack in Quebec several winters ago. Chemin du Roy is pictured above, where we dined on traditional Quebec food, danced to live music and made our very own sugar candy in the snow. It was a fun and memorable evening! Photo by Sue Frause.

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