Sampling Very Dark & Strong Maple Syrup
We like to offer samples of many different syrups and ask folks which they prefer. Only about 10% of people pick the Very Dark & Strong maple syrup as their favorite. But I take this with a grain of salt.
It's true that the darker maple syrups don't rank as well when sipped side-by-side with the lighter syrups. The Very Dark & Strong is exactly that - strong. People may not want that poured over their vanilla ice cream; however, if I were serving samples of pie, the ones flavored with Very Dark would most likely be the favorites.
Natural Maple Flavor vs. Real Maple Flavor
I saw this advertisement recently: "Not getting the flavor you want by using maple syrup in your baking? Add strong maple taste instantly with just a few drops of this true maple flavor." As a Maple Farmer, I take issue with the suggested use of "natural maple flavor" in addition to maple syrup.
This sort of "maple flavor" is generally derived from Fenugreek seeds. While the seeds may taste similar to maple syrup, they certainly aren't grown in Vermont or derived from maple trees. I'll admit that I haven't tried the stuff myself. Maybe some day.
Rather than using the natural maple flavor, I have a better option: use Very Dark & Strong maple syrup! Why start with a light syrup and add "flavorings" when you could just start with the stronger flavored maple syrup?!
Sipping a flight of maple syrup samples doesn't do the Very Dark & Strong syrup any favors. But when used as a baking ingredient, the stronger maple flavors are often preferred. The overlooked Very Dark & Strong maple syrup certainly has its place in every kitchen. Try some the next time you are baking. You might be surprised!