10 minutes with: André Pollender, maple syrup producer

The  Staff Canteen
In the run up to National Maple Syrup Day, December 17, we had the opportunity to speak to multi-award winning Canadian maple syrup producer, André Pollender, whilst he was visiting the UK. When we caught up with André we discussed his life growing up on his family's farm, his sweet and sour maple vinegar and how he likes to use maple syrup on everything, especially in his coffee! Maple Syrup shackAndré comes from four generations of maple syrup producers and has always been in the family business learning to tap trees from a tender age on his family's farm, Cabane du PicBois, located in Quebec, Canada. His 125 acre farm produces around 225 gallons of maple syrup every year and he still uses the traditional method of tapping the 1200 trees with a metal spile to collect the sap in buckets. From a young age, André, worked with his father and grandfather on the family farm which he went on to buy from his brother in the early 90's so he could start up his own production line. He said: "Although I bought the farm from my brother back in the 90’s I learned everything, from collecting the sap to the manufacturing process, from my father and grandfather." In order to produce the syrup, trees are tapped during warmer spring months when the temperature begins to rise and the trees are ready to be harvested. This is an important part of the development process, especially for André, so he can get the right taste and flavour for his own special maple syrup. "For us to get the right taste and flavour for our maple syrup we wait until the temperaturemaple quote becomes more lenient after the harsh winter months," explained André. "We usually start tapping the trees in the middle of March until the middle of April so we get the right consistency. "The cooking is faster in the early season, sugar particles that need less heat give a clear syrup with a finer flavour. The temperature largely contributes to the flavour of maple syrup. Late in the season the cooking takes longer which will then give a more amber syrup with a more pronounced caramel taste. It's important to cook the syrup at the right time so we get a flavour that is distinctively mine." Aside from producing his own branded maple syrup, André also spent over three years developing his own unique sweet and sour infused maple vinegar. The initial concept came after realising numerous families used vinegar to accompany their meals as well as discovering his mother made her own version using maple syrup. After a few setbacks and years experimenting, he finally found a taste that worked and could be marketed. He said: "I started to produce maple vinegar because every family uses different types of vinegar in their food. My father once told me that my mother made some using maple, so I started working on a vinegar using maple like my mother. Maple glazed turkey"It took me three years to create the right flavour I was looking for because it's pretty rare to find a maple vinegar that's both sweet and sour that actually works. "I initially worked in France to create the taste I wanted people to enjoy, but they all found it too sweet and too intricate for their culture." With his own take on a sweet and sour vinegar made from maple syrup that can be used as a marinade for your meat as well as a unique dessert sauce, it should come as no surprise that André is cooking up some other creative concepts with maple syrup at the helm, although he's reluctant to give too much away. He said: "I am working on some ideas but they're top secret so I can't discuss those just yet!" As a maple syrup connoisseur André obviously has a real sweet tooth and recalls first tasting maple syrup drizzled over chocolate cake when he was just a boy. He enjoys the taste so much he even uses it as a sugar substitute for his coffee and wherever else he can. "Most people use maple syrup on their pancakes," he said. "But I like to use it as a sugar for my coffee in the morning, you can even use it in your cake. I use it everywhere. I will always replace sugar with maple syrup whenever possible."maple quote 2 With the forthcoming celebrations not far away André will be celebrating with a traditional stack of pancakes and insists on replacing your honey with the sticky and sugary syrup. "It will be a pancake day for sure. Everyone should replace honey with maple syrup, it gives your plate an immediate upgrade!" For more information visit: welovemaple.co.uk By Michael Parker
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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th December 2015

10 minutes with: André Pollender, maple syrup producer