Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Maple Syrups Face The Taste Test & A Giveaway!

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Maple syrup is one of my favourite baking ingredients, I love the sweet slightly smoky flavour as it goes so well in both sweet and savoury dishes. I've used it in some of my favourite posts and have been experimenting with new combinations too. Recently I've been using maple syrup and balsamic vinegar together with extra virgin olive oil as a salad dressing. It's actually quite light and refreshing and not as sweet as it may sound as long as the balance is right. This is where tasting is key, my favourite part of playing around in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago I won a selection of maple syrups from Clarks Maple, as luck would have it, I found out I won the prize from Lancashire Food blog on the same day that I was arranging a review post with Clarks. So as they were going to be sending me the syrups anyway I agreed to do a review, in case you're wondering I only received one set of syrups.

Left to right: Vanilla flavour, medium, amber, original.

As there are 4 different varieties of maple syrup on offer I decided to do a taste test.

Vanilla 
This syrup is a blend of pure maple syrup and carob fruit syrup flavoured with vanilla. It is by far the sweetest of the syrups and I think this one is probably best used in baking. The vanilla flavour is good and doesn't taste artificial so it would be a great way to add something a little different to your cakes. I baked some cookies at the weekend using this syrup which I will be posting soon. 

Original
The Clarks original syrup is also made from a blend of pure maple syrup and carob syrup. Now whilst the purists amongst you may be surprised by this, it's an affordable way of making maple syrup available to a wider audience. Unlike maple flavoured products which quite frankly are horrid and usually based on high fructose corn syrup or similar, this syrup contains 35% pure maple syrup. This means that you get all of the benefits associated with maple syrup such as the zinc and manganese, both good sources of antioxidants, along with the lower calories provided by the carob syrup. And it is cheaper to buy than pure maple syrup, this means you can have the maple taste without having to spend a lot of money. Now this is all well and good but of course you want to know what it tastes like. As with the vanilla syrup, I did find this one a bit too sweet to want to drizzle on my pancakes but it will definitely be used in baking as it means I can use less additional sugar. Although the syrup is blended it  does still have quite a strong maple flavour.

For more info about Clarks original maple syrup see the video below.

 

Medium
The medium grade syrup is harvested from the maple trees during the beginning of the second half of the season and it has a dark colour. So far this syrup has been my favourite, it has a well defined maple flavour and this is the syrup that I have been using in my salad dressings this summer. I think it would also work well with pancakes or drizzled over ice cream. Definitely a versatile syrup to have on hand. 

Amber
This is the darkest of all the maple syrups as it is harvested during the latter part of the season. The age of this syrup gives it a rich deep flavour which would work well in recipes where black treacle or dark brown sugar are used to add an extra layer of deep sweetness. I've tried this syrup in coffee and I think it works really well. I don't drink masses of coffee but when I do have it I enjoy my coffee black with no milk or sugar unless it's a strong coffee or I need an extra boost then I usually add sugar. Using maple syrup instead adds an extra richness to the coffee and of course maple syrup is healthier than sugar which makes my caffeine boosts even better.

Which would be your favourite?

Disclaimer: As always all views and opinions are my own.

Giveaway rules:


  1. Entry via blog comment is mandatory if you don't comment then you haven't entered. If you previously commented on this post when it was first published then please click the green rafflecopter button if you wish to enter the giveaway. 
  2. All other entry methods are optional but they will increase your chances of winning. 
  3. All entries will be verified so please do not click to say you have tweeted etc if you haven't as your entry will not count
  4. There is one prize available which is a set of 4 maple syrups from Clarks Maple
  5. The giveaway is open to UK residents only
  6. The closing date is Wednesday 14th August 2013
  7. The winner will be contacted via email by Blue Kitchen Bakes and the prize will be sent to you from Clarks Maple. 
  8. The winner will be chosen using the rafflecopter random number generator
  9. If you haven't used rafflecopter before then please watch this short video 




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96 comments:

  1. Hmm, I was sent some of the original (i.e. one of the blended syrups) and wasn't that impressed that it was blended but perhaps I should use it in baking as I sometimes find that pure maple syrup isn't that sweet (I must have a very sweet tooth!). Good review.

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    1. To be honest I was surprised to see that it was a blend when I read the label, but due to the extra sweetness of this syrup, I used less sugar in the cookies I baked(posting soon) than I normally would.

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  2. As a Canadian I am a purist at heart when it comes to maple syrup. It means I can't afford to buy it very often, but when I do treat the family it has to be 100% pure Canadian syrup. Have to say I'm tempted to try some of these now based on your review. :)

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    1. I'd be surprised if you weren't! I think you'd probably find the blended syrups fine for baking. I don't often buy maple syrup as it is expensive, though worth every penny, so it is nice to know that there is a cheaper alternative that is almost as good as the real thing.

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  3. Whenever I go to buy maple syrup I always find myself staring at the shelf for a good 5 minutes or more, torn between choosing the pure for the taste, or a blended syrup for the fact money doesn't actually grow on trees... Do you think the maple flavour is diluted or would it still come through just as strongly in say a pecan pie or something like that?

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    1. I know the feeling, as much as I love maple syrup I only buy it occasionally. I think the original syrup still has quite a strong maple flavour so would probably be fine.

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  4. I would never have thought to add maple syrup to a salad dressing or to coffee. What fab ideas!

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  5. I tried Iced coffee with Milk and Vanilla Maple Syrup! Tastes great...

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  6. I love maple syrup with french toast, or a dash in my Oats in the morning, classic but good!

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  7. My favourite way to eat maple syrup is either in porridge, or poured liberally over pancakes with a side of bacon. *drools*

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  8. I love maple syrup :)

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  9. Fat American Pancakes smothered in it.

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  10. Drizzled on porridge, definitely the best way to have it!

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  11. Ooh definitely with Pancakes, YUM!

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  12. Lynsey Buchanan24 July 2013 at 15:46

    on pancakes

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  13. ooh its either french toast or waffles

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  14. I would love to try vanilla. Sounds delicious. Would be lovely with some home made waffles or in a maple-brownie sundae.

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  15. I love maple syrup, I would never have thought to put it in a salad dressing, so thank you! I also have avoided the blended ones but this review has been very enlightening.

    My favourite way to eat maple syrup is with bananas, and either pancakes/waffles/yoghurt/ice cream/toast

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  16. Christina Jarrett25 July 2013 at 09:21

    With pancakes and crispy bacon! :D I love it in black coffee too! :D

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  17. I love maple syrup on pancakes, or drizzled all over my porrige

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  18. I love to make cakes and cookies with maple syrup.

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  19. Add it to multigrain, wholemeal homemade bread, lovely (Original).

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  20. mmm, maple syrup is fab on crunchy granola, im drooling at the thought now havnt had it for ages :-)

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    1. Helen wigglesworth
      Helen.wigglesworth@hotmail.com

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  21. with hot pancakes yum

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  22. It's great over ice cream or in low fat greek yoghurt with a few chopped walnuts.

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  23. on warm fruit with blueberries, strawberries raspberries and blackcurrant, place on top of crumpets, pancakes or waffles and then add a spoonful of crème fresh. gorgeous and healthy.

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  24. On waffles with ice cream :) Yum! Vanilla sounds perfect for this x

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  25. When it drizzles out i can feel my mouth drooling in the same way .I could sit and watch it drizzle all day .Best thing when making pancakes

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  26. With pancakes and crispy bacon, with a sugary tea. Yummy!

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  27. Maple syrup, Bacon and Pancakes for me

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  28. maple syrup with waffles and ice cream Yum!!!

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  29. Lindsay Murphy25 July 2013 at 09:58

    Either over a stack of warm straight off the griddle pancakes, or over pure vanilla ice cream, mmmmmm delish!

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  30. my favorite is maple syrup with american sausages, bacon, and french toast. heaven!

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  31. Really informative post :) keep them coming

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  32. Not a very original answer, I know, but you simply can't beat maple syrup on American-style pancakes.

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  33. in my fruit herbal teas mmmmmmmmm it is yummy

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  34. I love maple syrup in my porridge, bought it once but unfortunately someone left it sitting on it's lid and it leaked all over the table :(

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  35. Over pancakes with bacon! (original, i know!)

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  36. In maple-flavoured flapjacks, mmm...

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  37. would be perfect for baking, especially cupcakes or cookies

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  38. this are awesome - I wonder what vanilla would be like in pecan pie!

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  39. This maple syrup tops them all! It tastes so good! Completely recommended:)

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  40. On porridge.

    Hazel Rea - @beachrambler

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  41. I guess my favourite way would have to be drizzled on pancakes, but I love drizzling it on anything to be honest :D

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  42. I love Maple Syrup on its own or with Ovaltine drink when I have a sore throat. It really helps

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  43. I love syrup drizzled over bacon when wrapped over grilled bananas

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  44. I like maple syrup with french toast,

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  45. Wow, I enjoy my maple syrup any way I can. Added in to raw treats such as almond marzipan balls for added sweetness.

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  46. on pancakes yummmm! simple

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  47. debbie godbolt26 July 2013 at 19:55

    i love pancaes maple syrup and vanilla ice cream :)
    also it is great for using when cooking gammon i squeeze some over before putting in the oven for the last 30 mins :)

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  48. JUDITH LUSCOMBE26 July 2013 at 22:20

    Spread on hot crumpets

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  49. I would never have thought to use as a salad dressing, I will be trying that out soon. Really like the idea of the Vanilla one. I haven't found that in any of the shops in my area. I have a Clarks recipe book that I'm working my way through :)

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  50. I use it as one of my main sweeteners, in baking, ice creams, etc. And of course, drizzled over pancakes...

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  51. I LOVE putting maple syrup on vanilla ice cream! N

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  52. The best way is PANCAKES! :-)

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  53. On big fluffy American style pancakes. :)

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  54. Mmmmm.... Maple syrup. Pancakes definitely!

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  55. @BeckyShorting30 July 2013 at 10:15

    in porridge! yum!

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  56. brown bread toast with butter and maple syrup

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  57. with sugar and lemon pancakes. dizzle maple syrup - heaven

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  58. I love them on homemade crepes :)

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  59. On ice cream, but to be honest I use it on a lot of things

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  60. Comment: What is your favourite way to eat maple syrup? Any way!! - But it tastes amazing on pancakes, and if you chop up some bananas, put them in plain yogurt and drizzle it with maple syrup :)

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  61. It's got to be at it's best drizzled over pancakes, though I've used it in lots of ways. It makes nice coconut macaroons.

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  62. Warm maple syrup on Yorkshire puddings with icecream

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  63. Maple syrup on bacon and pancakes just reminds me of me time in America working on a summer camp. Ah fond memories!

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  64. I have only ever had it on pancakes.

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  65. I enjoy maple syrup on pancakes, I also enjoy it with bananas and ice-cream, simple but tasty

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  66. The best way has to be drizzled on pancakes.

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  67. I've only tried the original one, but I bet the amber would be amazing in flapjacks!

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  68. I love it with Greek yoghurt for a luxurious breakfast

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  69. In ice-cream, sadly I have to wait for my friend to come over from Canada to get the real stuff.

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  70. Over pancakes or waffles.

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  71. mmmmmm, maple glazed gammon, chicken, salmon, ribs, carrots, or puddings, so many choices

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  72. I love anything Maple. Would love to try these as they sound interesting

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  73. THANK YOU!!!! Can't wait to try them all.

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Thank you for reading, please feel free to comment on any of my posts. I love to hear what you think! :)