Indulging your sweet tooth can mean anything from sampling from the office candy bowl to baking a cake, not telling anyone, and eating it all yourself. There are many schools of thought, but one thing’s for sure — nothing equals the experience of tasting your favorite sugary treat straight from the source. (Except maybe sneaking that Twix bar in between meetings.)
With factory tours, farms opening to the public, and vacations catered specifically to the sweet tooths among us, it’s time to take those sugar-loving taste buds on a joyride.
Visit a sugar cane plantation in the tropics, sample from fresh apple cideries in the Northwest, or watch how sap slowly turns to maple syrup in Canada.
Rustic Maple Dreams
Sucrerie de la Montagne: Canada
Spend a weekend at the Sucrerie de la Montagne, a sugar shack with 120 acres of maple trees, about an hour from Montreal. They use the traditional method of making maple syrup, where a metal spout is inserted, or “tapped,” into each tree and connected to a bucket. The sap pours out freely, and is finally placed in a wood-burning evaporator to become what we recognize as maple syrup.
The Sucrerie accommodates sugar-loving guests in rustic cabins outfitted with wood-burning stoves, stone fireplaces, and claw-foot tubs. Step into the kitchen for a behind-the-scenes look at just how their rustic, comforting meals and baked goods are prepared. Their cabin-like dining halls have long, dark wood tables and stone fireplaces, where regional dishes like a traditional meatball stew, the Mountain Dweller’s pea soup, Hunter’s chicken, and, of course, pancakes with maple syrup, are served. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/sarah0s)
A Sweeter History
Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum: Maui, Hawaii
Most of us only know what forms of sugar are our favorites. But a stroll through the six exhibits at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum would make anyone an actual expert. Learn the history of the sugar cane, explore an outdoor exhibition of retired sugar farming equipment, discover how Hawaii’s different regions and weather patterns affect the industry, and find out how it all goes from crop to candy.
Beau Plan Sugar Mill: Mauritius
Head to the 250-year-old Beau Plan Sugar Mill in Mauritius to learn how this saccharine harvest helped create an entire industry. Explore the factory’s once used equipment, and visit the docks that, up until the 1970s, were booming with the sugar trade. Sugar and rum tastings await visitors at the end of the tour. No, you can’t run through the tour.
Sarina Sugar Shed: Australia
The Sarina Sugar Shed is a kid-friendly, pint-sized version of a traditional sugar mill. Sweet-tooths-in-training can watch sugar cane becoming sugar, before getting to taste Sarina’s sweet and savory treats, from sweet chiles with mangos and limes to jams and preserves. The local Sarina distillery brews its own liquors, as well, and offers tastings of its most recent creations.