The temperature has dipped to a new local record for cold, at least on this particular day. So cold, in fact, the snow hasn't left us though it has been a few days since the last snow fall. The wind is biting, and the condensation is freezing inside on my windows. This is unusual weather for the west coast, but it is not so unusual for the french speaking province of which my relatives live. The weather is actually bring back warm memories of when I was a little girl and went on a cold winter trip to Montreal with my mother.
The snow there is not the same as west coast snow, wet, heavy and compacting. You can make good snowmen out here. Instead, it was wispy, dry, and flew from your hands like sand if you scooped some up. Not a good plan if the wind was blowing towards your unprotected face. I remember walking through a blizzard to get to the grocery store across my Grandmother's apartment, and I certainly and distinctly remember the visit to the Maple Syrup Farm.
We went on a cold windy day, much like the weather we are having here. We rode in a carriage pulled by a horse through a grove of maple trees. We puffed into our hands, while we toured the replicas of historic maple tree farming. And at the end, we ate bowl after bowl of pea soup in a large common room on large tables and benches. We ate next to strangers, and people I couldn't understand.
Good memories both chilly and warm. And though I wish I could re-visit that Montreal maple tree farm, I will cozy up with my memories instead. And the best way to remember that maple tree farm, is to drink a very special black tea called Maple Tea. I drank this many times during the Vancouver Olympics to show and enjoy my Canadian heritage.
The tea has a nice black tea base and is flavoured with, surprise surprise, maple syrup. The actual maple syrup flavouring, to be honest, is a little disappointing. It is not nearly strong enough, though the potential is there. While I find it a little too weak, I am certainly glad it isn't too strong. Too sugary and it wouldn't be a treat at all. So, while the tea has potential, it isn't grand. In fact, I would recommend simply adding some maple syrup instead of sugar to your plain black tea instead of purchasing a Maple Tea.
And that's REAL maple syrup, not the sugar table syrup stuff.
Seriously though, try a little maple syrup in your tea next time. It makes a normal tea into a special one. And it makes you feel really Canadian.