We asked Douglas Whynott to stay a few extra minutes for a sticky challenge: a blind maple syrup taste-test. The aim was to test his ability to distinguish between the various grades of maple syrup. We sat down with five cups paper cups - three were filled with varieties of grade “A” amber – light, medium, and dark. There was also a cup with grade “B” syrup, which has a stronger maple flavor and has traditionally been used for cooking, and of course the ringer – a brand-name artificial syrup. And because you can tell a lot by the color of syrup, both Douglas and I donned blindfolds for the occasion – well, not blindfolds exactly. Our producers tied one of my scarves around Doug’s head, and I wore my winter hat over my eyes, to prevent any accidental or intentional cheating. For good measure, we videotaped the taste test, so you can see for yourselves, there was NO cheating.
Maple Weekend begins Saturday in New Hampshire, and that means Sugar Houses in the state are open to the public with boiling sap and sweet syrup to sample. And syrup producers around the state say they are hoping for a strong season this year.
Paul Weeks would rather be in his sugar orchard checking sap lines for leaks or adjusting the boil on his evaporator. But today’s bitter chill has given him an unwanted break.