BY MEGAN HONAN | MARCH 2022
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Waterloo Region and no––it’s not Christmas. Maple season has arrived and with it, plenty of family-fun activities to keep you busy as the snow melts and spring buds appear.
Many Waterloo Wellington Maple Syrup Producers offer sugar bush tours for an opportunity to see how maple syrup is produced, particularly during Maple Weekend during the first weekend in April.
For even more maple syrup fun, the Taste the Countryside Maple Trail will be available from March 24th – April 3rd, 2022 across the Waterloo Region. This 10-day dining event highlights some of the region’s best locally-sourced ingredients and of course––maple syrup! Choose from two maple-inspired prix fixe menus, priced at either $20 or $45 for every budget. Enjoy multiple memorable dining experiences, ranging from restaurants, craft breweries and cafes.
If you’re short on time to experience any of the organized maple fest activities, here’s an unofficial maple trail to help you enjoy a little taste of that liquid gold:
Stop #1: Winding Road Maple Products
To kick off the trail, start in Elmira at tucked away Winding Road Maple Products. Here, you’ll find a family-run maple farm, with two generations working hand in hand to produce some of the best local products. Inside their cozy wood store, spot the wood fired evaporator and watch as the raw product turns to the maple syrup product we love. Before you leave, be sure to pop into the store and shop maple butter, sugar candies and syrup to bring home and enjoy! Winding Road will also be open during Maple Weekend for tours and an opportunity to sample maple syrup and pancakes!
Stop #2: Kitchen Kuttings
For some of the most delicious homemade sweets, treats and savoury goodness, stop by Kitchen Kuttings in Downtown Elmira. Home to a large collection of local maple products, you can grab all your favourites in one place. From their famous Summer Sausage, smoked with maple and hickory wood, to hard maple syrup candy, to fresh Maple Dale Colby cheese, to old fashioned maple fudge––you truly can’t go wrong with anything at this local hotspot.
Stop #3: Rural Roots Brewing Company
Next stop in Elmira, head onto Rural Roots Brewing Company for a craft beer or two. Staying true to their local roots, grab a brew titled the Schticky Ale, which combines local maple syrup with the taste of ale––a match made in heaven. A sip or two and you’ll be reminded of a sugar shack in springtime, a perfect blend of smokey and sweet, and made for easy sipping. For those who are feeling a little peckish, the brewery also offers a fixed Taste the Countryside Maple Trail menu (including their famed soft pretzel and melted cheese platter!).
New this year: Rural Roots Brewing presents Sapfest 2022 – a one-day celebration happening on April 2nd from 9AM to 10PM. Sapfest features live music, maple syrup and food vendors, and plenty of Rural Root’s Schticky Ale!
Stop #4: Jacob’s Grill
From here, depart Elmira and continue the sugary goodness in St. Jacobs. Situated right in the heart of the picturesque town, Jacob’s Grill offers a chef driven menu that pairs perfectly with local wines and craft beers. In order to enjoy some outdoor fun all-year-round, you can also dine in the “Big Tent,” which features live music and events every Saturday. Also participating in the Taste the Countryside Maple Trail, grab the three-course menu to sample a mouthwatering cheddar and ale soup, paired with maple glaze pork chop, and for dessert––a maple pecan sundae.
Stop #5: Maple Tap Farm
The last and final stop on the liquid gold tour, Maple Tap Farm! Located just outside of New Dundee, this third-generation syrup farm currently runs over 3,600 taps across their property. On March 19th and 20th, stop by for an open house tour to experience the maple syrup making process from start to finish. Before you leave, be sure to grab a jug of pure maple syrup so you can continue to enjoy the liquid gold for weeks and months to come––long after the maple syrup season has come to a close.
Looking for even more maple happening in Waterloo Region? Check out the link below!
Megan Honan is a seasoned travel, food and lifestyle writer based in Waterloo Region. Megan currently holds bylines for Suitcase Magazine, NUVO, S/Magazine, Canadian Traveller, Days to Come, Swanky Retreats and more. She’s worked with some of the top travel companies across the globe to create content and help with overall brand strategy, including G Adventures and Cosmopolitan Hotels. To connect, please visit https://meganhonan.com.