Across Muskoka, crisp, cool nights are followed by days filled with warm sunshine – it’s the perfect time to get outside after a cold winter. And even better, this beautiful time of year creates the ideal conditions for making maple syrup. The Muskoka Maple Trail is in full swing and it’s time to make plans to windup the season in style. On Saturday, April 21st, head to historic downtown Huntsville for the Muskoka Maple Festival – a free, family friendly event celebrating the culmination of the maple harvest.
The Festival is a full day of fun and activities, vendors and displays, live music, street performers and, most importantly – so much delicious food! Release your inner foodie and eat your way through the festival. With local restaurants, bakeries and cafés serving up unique maple inspired offerings, the biggest challenge will be deciding which tasty treats to try.
What better way to start the day than with a traditional pancake breakfast. Available all day long, grab a plate of steaming pancakes and sausage covered in – you guessed it – locally produced maple syrup. But leave room for more, because your culinary adventure is just getting started! Take some time to do a little shopping, and then make your way to the sugar shack set up directly on main street for some maple taffy. If this doesn’t whet your appetite, consider all of the delicious maple menus waiting for you at the festival.
Esteemed local chef Jeff Suddaby of 3 Guys And A Stove will once again be serving up his sensational Charbroiled Pork Back Ribs with 3 Guys Muskoka Maple Molasses BBQ Sauce. These ribs were a festival hit last year, selling out in record time. Get them while they’re hot, and be sure to head to the restaurant itself to buy this delectable sauce to take home with you.
Algonquin Café & Deli has added some maple flair to their festival fare. Dive into their Maple Infused Smoked Brisket Sandwich on a Slider Bun. Pair it with a side of maple flavoured smoked beans, which are also perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
If you want to indulge your sweet tooth with nature’s maple sweetener, look no further than the maple bounty from Erika’s Bakery. An institution in the community of Dwight, for the Maple Festival Erika’s is pulling out all the stops! Sample the butter tarts with flavours including Maple Bacon, Maple Pecan, and Maple Walnut. Muffin fans can savour Maple Swirl and Maple Cinnamon varieties, or give the Maple Cinnamon Buns or Maple Roll Up a try. There will be Chocolate Maple Cake slices, Maple Cake Pops and Apple Maple Danish as well as a delicious line up of squares, pies, cookies and breads.
Hold on, there are many more treats and sweets to enjoy! Granny Lyn’s Kitchen will be bringing some bespoke maple creations to the proverbial table. Move over cupcakes, Granny Lyn’s ManCakes are Blackout Stout Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Icing and Maple Caramelized Bacon. Indulge in Salted Maple Brownies, Maple & Bacon Brownies or Bourbon Brownies, Pecan Pie Squares or pie in Maple Syrup or Apple Maple varieties. There is a full line up of cookie flavours including Maple Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chips, Whiskey Chocolate Chip, Maple Oatmeal, White Chocolate & Cranberry and Maple Cream and their famous OMG (Outrageous Muskoka Goodie) cookie. Maple, whiskey or traditional butter tarts will be available as well as maple shortbreads and cupcakes. Bet you can’t eat just one!
Farmer’s Daughter uses the finest local ingredients to create their Maple Dijon Dill Salmon served on a bed of Farmer’s Daughter Original Heavy Greens paired with maple glazed root vegetables. Finish this meal off with a delicious maple latte or coffee and cinnamon bun with maple cream cheese icing. Also a staple of Huntsville’s local food scene, the Muskoka North Good Food Co-op will be serving crêpes topped with what else – maple syrup! Feeling a bit chilled? Hidden Valley Resort will warm you up with their maple bourbon pulled pork sliders with apple slaw and aged white cheddar.
Whimsical Bakery on Huntsville’s Main Street will be offering a complete list of maple treats and goodies. Start with their Pumpkin Maple Soup or Maple Bacon & Apple Brie Panini and finish with a Maple Walnut Cream Tart or a Maple Walnut Butter Tart Sundae. Other seasonal sensations include Maple Bacon & Chocolate Chip cookies, Maple Eclairs, Maple & Peach Scones, Maple Sticky Buns and Maple Sugar Sandwich Cookies.
The Strudel Lady uses a homemade and wholesome family recipe in the tradition of European Strudels from Vienna, Prague and Munich. Arriving from Southern Ontario, these strudels come in several flavours including apple, cherry and wild blueberry, all made fresh with Ontario grown fruit. You can also try their highly successful vegan coconut macaroon cookies.
With so many mouth-watering creations to choose from, one might easily overlook the Festival’s star attraction – pure maple syrup! The region is filled with forests of maple trees, whose sap is boiled in sugar shacks until it thickens and becomes the sweet nectar we know as maple syrup. The syrup contains many minerals and antioxidants and is an excellent replacement for refined sugars in almost any recipe. Maple syrup season can be very short, so be sure to pick up a bottle or two of this year’s harvest from one of our many suppliers. At the festival this year: Barmont Maple Syrup, Hubbert’s Maple Products, Lake of Bays Maple Company, Maple Bluff Farm, Mark’s Muskoka Maple, Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm, Sweetwater Maple Syrup and Sweet Muskoka. And don’t forget to visit the Festival’s own sugar shack located directly on Huntsville’s Main Street!
Feeling thirsty after all those maple meals and treats? Head to the Maple Festival’s Beer Garden to experience yet another unique maple-inspired creation. Muskoka’s four craft breweries, Clear Lake Brewing Co., Lake of Bays Brewing Co., Muskoka Brewery and Sawdust City Brewing Co. have collaborated to create a beer to celebrate the season. The result is Pancake Breakfast Specialty Maple Ale, made with fresh maple sap and syrup from Maple Bluff Farm and Sweetwater Maple Syrup Supplies & Sugarbush. This limited batch brew is a toasted golden brown ale that is inspired by a perfectly flipped pancake. With a doughy malt centre, aromas of cinnamon & vanilla lead the way while the maple syrup provides a rich body and lingering sweet finish. Visit one of the participating breweries before April 21st to purchase the beer while supplies last, or enjoy it cold on Festival day – the choice is yours!
Mark Saturday April 21st on your calendar and plan to head to historic downtown Huntsville for the 2018 Muskoka Maple Festival. Bring your appetite and sense of adventure and truly eat your way through the amazing line up. Discover pure maple syrup, maple beer and other bevvies, and unique maple inspired dishes from sweet to savoury and back again. And don’t forget there is a long list of entertainment for the whole family. Enjoy live music, buskers and street entertainers performing throughout the day. New this year, the Kiwanis Club of Huntsville will be hosting the first annual Sap Run for Kids – the perfect way for the kids to burn some energy and bolster their appetite. Come hungry and join this spring’s sweetest party – the Muskoka Maple Festival.