Maple syrup is a cultural icon and symbolic food in Québec, enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
Maple syrup production is deeply rooted in Québec tradition, with family practices spanning generations and the rituals of sugaring season celebrated by the entire community. It provides recreation, education, and a shared heritage.
The first sugar shacks came to be as early as 1850, and the first “sugar parties” took place circa 1868. So, it wasn’t just yesterday that families and friends started to head out to the sugar shack for some much-awaited springtime revelry. The tradition has deep roots, and it continues to flourish. Hundreds of sugar shacks throughout the regions welcomingly fling their doors open to serve the customary meal and pour taffy on the snow in what is a quintessential Québec experience.
Maple producers often beget maple producers, passing their knowledge from generation to generation. But innovation and technological advances have taken strictly family-based production into the realms of general economic opportunity and independent career choice. The history and production of maple syrup is now taught in elementary school. Technical schools offer certificate programs in maple production. And chefs at all levels can take courses in cooking with the wide variety of maple products that bring extraordinary results in the kitchen.
Upon celebrating 100 years of maple syrup production in 2020, sugaring season was officially declared part of Québec’s intangible cultural heritage. Maple syrup is inseparable from Québec’s heritage and cultural landscape, not to mention a key component of its regional economy. The industry accounts for 13,300 producers, another 12,500 jobs, and $1.1 billion in gross domestic product for Québec and Canada.
A Flavour Loved Around the World
100% pure maple syrup has not only a rich flavour but a versatility that makes it a fine ingredient in sweet or savoury dishes and many different types of cuisine. It’s also an excellent replacement for other sweeteners.
Chefs around the world are gradually discovering maple and applying it to their own dishes. Traditional at home, it is now finding new homes abroad.
In 2021, Canada exported more than 160 million pounds of maple syrup to 71 countries, amounting to a dollar value of over 590 million CAD.