Cabane au Sucre – A Slow Food Gastronomic Field Trip

The best class I have taken at my culinary school has been the Slow Food class. Our teacher is one of the leaders of the Toronto Slow Food convivium and has led us through some amazing taste workshops and has brought in many great chefs, farmers and business people.

So, what is slow food?

Slow Food is an organization that began in Piemonte, Italy by a man named Carlo Petrini. The basis of the slow food movement is that…Food must be GOOD (healthy and delicious)….Food must be CLEAN (produced sustainably)….and Food must be FAIR(produced and distributed in ways that respect social justice). These are the guiding principles. Very basic, but also very complex.

One of our field trips was to a farm outside of Guelph, Ontario owned by Jo Marie Powers. Her and her husband produce a small amount of maple syrup each year and she had us come up to help her make a batch. We gathered wood, emptied buckets and kept the fire burning under the molten hot syrup as it reduced down and down and down. We arrived and were greeted with an amazing breakfast of cakes and breads, coffee, tea and hot cider. It was amazing after a long bus-ride from the city. Getting away from the city, being outdoors and enjoying a new experience was just what we needed to break up the winter blahs.

After lunch, and before we got back on the bus, we were taught how to make tire d’érable, which is essentially maple candy poured on snow and eaten with a stick. A pure maple sugar lollipop. After the syrup is poured onto the snow, you take a stick and roll up the (now) hardened syrup onto your stick and lick lick lick away. Head-buzz to follow. It’s so addictive you must have two, or three. A guaranteed sugar high all the way back to Toronto. Yeehaw.

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