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Maple Syrup in Europe?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Gary and I were given a gift basket that included something called "Stroopwafels," apparently a VERY popular Dutch treat. These were with a twist - instead of being soaked in? filled with caramel, they are filled with maple syrup. They are SOOOOOOOO delicious!

But it got me to thinking... a good friend had in-laws in Czechoslovakia (when it was still Czechoslovakia). She brought goodies with her on a visit. One of the items was maple syrup. They asked her "What is this strange oil?"

So seeing the stroopwafel is traditionally made with caramel, and remembering my friend's in-laws reaction to it, it got me to wondering - is maple syrup produced in Europe? Are you familiar with it, and is it commonly used?

I spent some time in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, France and Turkey - and though (especially in the Netherlands) I definitely remember eating what I call pancakes and waffles - I definitely do not remember maple syrup being part of what was served with them.

??????????? Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks!
post #2 of 23
I don't know, but dammit I'm craving waffles now!
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Review of Shady Maple Farms Maple Stroopwafel:

I can imagine these things fresh! I wonder if I should try putting one in the microwave for like 10 seconds....
post #4 of 23
Originally Posted by pushylady View Post
I don't know, but dammit I'm craving waffles now!
Me too-
I can say though that there's certainly maple TREES in Europe
Honestly though, I've never had maple syrup in Bulgaria- but that could be because neither one of my parents liked it so they never fed it to me
Pancakes were eaten with some kind of fruit jam...Yummmm I want some. And in 4 days I can have some of my grandma's home made ones I can't wait..
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Mariya, that is NOT fair! I saw you posted and thought - oh good, an answer!

I know they have Maple trees - that's what seems so odd! Maybe just not sugar maples? Why wouldn't my friends in-laws have known what maple syrup is? I mean - it's one thing not to like it - but to never have HEARD of it?
post #6 of 23
Are those Dutch cookies the kind you put on top of your coffee/tea and the filling softens and warms? Dutch sweets are SO good!

I don't believe there is a lot of maple syrup in Europe. Our Irish relatives LOVE it but it's a treat for them. It's possible the Dutch cookies have maple flavoring, or real maple syrup that has been incorporated into the traditional old recipes... kind of like the dinner my husband had in Munich a week ago: beef vindaloo.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
"Beef vindaloo" That's great!

The description on the box reads:

"The original 'stroopwafel,' or syrup waffle, dates back to 18th century Holland, where people in the Gouda region just couldn't get enough of the crunchy, caramel-filled waffle biscuits.

Today, this legendary Dutch treat, with its sensual creamy center, is more popular than ever... and not just in Holland. The stroopwaffel is the single best selling food item at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, as tourists grab for one more last great taste before they leave or to take a supply home with them.

Fortunately stroopwafel lovers no longer have to fly to Holland for the real thing. Thanks to Shady Mapel Farms, you can now enjoy a genuine Dutch stroopwaffel in Canada or the USA, and one with a very tasty twist indeed. Instead of conventional caramel, Shady Maple Farms stroopwafels have a filling made with pure organic maple sugar, giving you the best of both worlds... an Old World recipe filled with a New World taste sensation!"

They really are wonderful! I can't eat a whole one - they are REALLY sweet. But the idea of putting them on coffee or tea is fabulous!

Cat, you hit the nail on the head. Maple syrup incorporated into traditional recipe.

But that means... maple syrup isn't traditional? Or there isn't maple syrup for it to BE traditional?
post #8 of 23
We can get maple syrup in Germany. but I only know of one store (a gourmet grocery) in the city where I work, which has lots of Americans and Canadians, that carries it. The store has little bottles imported from Canada that are extremely expensive. IME, a lot of people have heard of it, but never tried it. Some stores carry "golden syrup", a sugary syrup from Britain, that can't compare. Germans eat pancakes or waffles for dinner, rather than breakfast, and top them with jam or fruit and whipped cream.
post #9 of 23
Yummm I am totally salivating after reading that description of the stroopwafel...
And I'm also thinking about a waffle with fig jam and little sprinkles of feta cheese...I know, I'm weird but I like to put cheese on everything
Laurie you really made me curious so I read a little bit about maple syrup and how Native Americans were the first to use the sap from maple trees to sweeten that led me to believe that it's an American thing.
But then again, so are tomatoes and corn, so my conclusion fails
post #10 of 23
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
But that means... maple syrup isn't traditional? Or there isn't maple syrup for it to BE traditional?
The Dutch probably never used maple syrup in their sweets, just because they didn't have it available. It makes sense that the Canadians and Americans would use maple syrup in recipes, though, since it's easy to find (and relatively inexpensive) in Canada and most of the U.S.

You can spend a lot of money on maple syrup, but the stuff we buy for every day cooking and for pancakes, french toast, and waffles cost about $20 for a liter jug.

I'm glad you and Gary are enjoying a nice gift basket!

p.s. I love acorn squash, baked, then stuffed with roasted apple and butter and maple syrup. Yum!
post #11 of 23
No, it is not a normal product here in Europe, though yes, it is available in a very few specialist (and expensive) shops in areas where there are a lot of Canadians or Americans. I could get it in Bosnia, funnily enough, but only because of the huge military presence of the US. I can't get it anywhere near me here in France. In London you can buy it at Harrods. I think the maple trees here are different - I have never seen any sticky residue on them like you get sometimes on the other side of the pond. But I have seen maple candy and maple flavour extract - that is all probably made with imported syrup.
post #12 of 23
I lived in Germany for 5 years and I don't remember seeing it in any of the German shops. I was in the military and it was available at the commissary but it was brought in from the United States.
post #13 of 23
We can get it here in England to it tends to be when either aldi or lidl have specials on from different countries but I'm sure I've seen it in some other shops, we get it because Blaine likes it on his pancakes
post #14 of 23
I know it's not in Denmark. I had friends out there and they had never heard of maple syrup. I sent them some in the mail, and they loved it!
post #15 of 23
Its too warm in most of Europe for the trees to make the sap. I'll have to ask some friends later if it's produced further north at all.
post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post

p.s. I love acorn squash, baked, then stuffed with roasted apple and butter and maple syrup. Yum!
That reminds me that I have some squash. That will be good on a cold snowy day like today.
post #17 of 23
I couldn't imagine living without pancakes and waffles covered with maple syrup!
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
p.s. I love acorn squash, baked, then stuffed with roasted apple and butter and maple syrup. Yum!
We just do the squash with butter and maple syrup because Gary doesn't like baked apples - but yes, YUM!

Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Its too warm in most of Europe for the trees to make the sap. I'll have to ask some friends later if it's produced further north at all.
And Mariya and Strange Wings are right! Instead of searching for "history of maple syrup," I looked for "maple syrup in Europe" and found this:

The word "maple" comes to us from the Old English mapel. Acer saccarum, known as the sugar maple, hard maple or rock maple, and Acer nigrum or black maple are the two varieties with the sweetest sap.

Although maple trees grow in Europe, Europeans were unaware of the potential uses of the sweet sap until colonists learned how to tap the trees from Native Americans who had long been using maple sap as a sugar source.

The Native Americans later traded what they called sweetwater with the colonists. After the passage of the 1764 Sugar Act imposing high tariffs on imported sugar, maple sweeteners became even more popular.

After the colonists learned how to tap maple trees, they soon realized the practice of slashing the trees to retrieve the sap was not the ideal method. It not only resulted in a lot of waste, but it also damaged the trees. The use of taps, troughs and buckets ensued.

Nowadays, sugarmakers recommend no more than three taps per tree to avoid damage, and the sap is still collected via spouts with hanging galvanized metal buckets.

Maple syrup is only produced in North America, since Europe does not have the proper weather conditions conducive to producing meaningful amounts of sap.
post #19 of 23
My uncle tapped a large number of maple trees and growing up gave all his siblings a gallon for Christmas. At local farmers markets is where I usually buy it or in spring at roadside stands. There is an area vendor that sells maple cream which I suppose is maple syrup cooked down even further. Its awesome.

Conditions do have to be just right to tap the sugar maple trees for syrup though most any maple trees (even box elder which is in the maple family) can be tapped.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
We need Stefanz and NorthernGlow to help us out here!
post #21 of 23
Well that was helpful... One of the three was around to weigh in and he doesn't know. But thinks most of it is imported. Which doesn't really answer my question as to whether there were any farms at all. I doubt the other two will know anything, either, since I don't think they've been outside of cities (except for the one's service time).
post #22 of 23
Very interesting - though I would have conditions in Northern Europe would be cold enough if the desire and knowledge were there. But meanwhile I will just have to buy it when I see it as an import, and pay through the nose for it! By the way, we do eat both pancakes and waffles here - in fact they are a speciality in many places in Europe, but with other things - lemon, butter, jam or fruit are favourites, or you can get savoury ones.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
I know - and they're especially good (LOVE apple pancakes and they just don't make them right here!). I just didn't ever remember having any with maple syrup anywhere in Europe I've been. Now I know why.
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