Food and Drinks in North America
When day temperatures start to rise above the freezing point, it means spring for most people. But for many in Eastern Canada and Northeastern US, it also means sugar time. In an old tradition inherited from the Amerindians, some of the sweet maple tree sap that climbs up from the roots to feed the burgeons is intercepted midcourse and collected by maple syrup producers. This maple water is then boiled and reduced to syrup in a ratio of roughly 40:1. The province of Québec accounts for around 70% of the world's production and it is therefore here that you'll get the best chances to see the action, should you be in the area during this short period of time. Many "sugar houses" open to the public for 3 to 4 months (longer than the actual harvesting period) and serve traditional meals of eggs, ham, lard, beans, and pancakes, all drowned under rivers of syrup. Some commercial sugar houses can be quite big, overcrowded and tacky, so if you don't fancy being squeezed and rushed, ask the locals for their favourite smaller, more traditional, spots. Better yet: if you have the fortune of befriending someone who knows someone who knows someone's uncle who owns a private sugar house, you're in for a real treat!