Maple taffy is so uniquely Canadian that it might as well be wearing a mountie uniform and saying "sorry" in line at Tim Hortons! This sweet treat made with pure maple syrup is a great way to enjoy the taste of Canada.
Growing up, we always got maple taffy at Winterlude in Ottawa while skating the Rideau Canal - probably because we then skated the sugar off for the next hour while my parents looked on, exasperated.
Trucks park on the canal in winter when it freezes into the World's longest outdoor skating rink. You'll find stands for Beaver Tails, hot chocolate, skate rentals, savoury food we avoided as kids, and the ultimate stall: the maple taffy stand.
The stands had massive troughs of shaved ice that looked just like fresh snow. As kids, we thought they had an unlimited supply of fresh snow hidden somewhere, but now I realise it was crushed ice they'd broken down in a blender.
Then, right before your eyes, they'd pour out these long caramel-coloured strands of boiled maple syrup. It ran thick, like molasses, as they drizzled it up a popsicle stick.
The maple syrup gets perfectly chewy but doesn't fully freeze. So it really is like taffy - sticking to your teeth and letting the sugar melt so deep into your teeth that your dentist can afford a new vacation home after cleaning them out.
My siblings and I would fight for whichever we thought had the most maple syrup - even though they were all exactly the same.
This special treat is winter-only. You can even get it at Cabane de Sucres (sugar shacks, where they make the maple syrup) across Canada. We used to go for school trips - I know, peak Canadian culture!
The best part of this recipe is that you can make it at home with just a few ingredients and some patience! If you throw a party in winter, this is a great treat to make with kids. Here’s how you can make your own.
Last Updated 5 April 2023