Some foodists* like a bottle of wine as a gift. But they might like a bottle of fine olive oil even more. Or a bottle of the best maple syrup or barbecue sauce.

We have favorites for the latter two, just in time for Father’s Day gifting.

The Maple Guild of Vermont has created a new way to make maple syrup.

The key difference is what happens to the sap when it leaves the tree.

  • Typically, to make maple syrup the sap is boiled close to the flame, at high heat. The result is a burnt caramel flavor.
  • The Maple Guild uses a unique Steam-crafting™ process that converts the sap to syrup at a lower temperature, and does so more quickly. The company says that this preserves more of the maple flavor. We see it as a more elegant maple flavor.
  • The syrup is then aged in charred oak Kentucky bourbon barrels, which gives it a subtle note of walnuts (there are no nuts involved) and a hint of smoke.
    By elegant, we mean not sugary-sweet, but a light touch of sweetness that is welcome in cocktails or on pancakes. It’s maple syrup for picky palates.

    The syrup is sustainably produced, certified organic and non-GMO. In terms of traceability: They can even tell you what tree your syrup came from.

    There are four flavors of this premium maple delight: original and three infused syrups.

  • Organic Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup
  • Organic Cinnamon Stick Infused Maple Syrup
  • Organic Salted Caramel Syrup
  • Organic Vanilla Infused Syrup
    A 12.7 fl.oz. bottle is $ 15.99, a 750 mL bottle is $ 26.99.

    The company makes other maple-based products: maple cream, infused tree water, maple-sweetened iced tea, maple water and maple vinegar.

    Get yours at


    Maple Guild Maple Syrup
    [1] Two of the four varieties of The Maple Guild’s syrups: Original and Vanilla Infused (photo courtesy The Maple Guild).

    Horseshoe Brand Barbecue Sauce
    [2] Barbecue sauce with a mission to be the best (photo courtesy Horseshoe Brand).

    Based in the Hudson Valley of New York, a bucolic food mecca, Horseshoe Brand is a young company that makes exceptional hot sauces in different flavors (our review).

    This year, they introduced barbecue sauce in two varieties: Original and Hot.

    We appreciate the quality of the ingredients, and the balance of flavors. This is not a typical sweet barbecue sauce, but one of the more rare recipes, with layers of flavor. You can taste how they meld: brown sugar, cayenne, garlic, molasses, onion, tomato, ginger and other spices.

    The Hot version substitutes chipotle, ghost pepper and smoked habanero for the cayenne; and adds pineapple.

    All of the brand’s heat comes from fresh chile mash: no extracts. You can taste the difference.

    The two sauces are real treats for fans of barbecue sauce, and for those who like something more tangy on their burgers, eggs and fries.

    A 16-ounce bottle is $ 6.99. Head to


    *Factions in the fine food fold distinguish between “foodie” and “foodist.” Some think that “foodie” refers to people who view new foods and restaurants as a checklist, to say “I was there.” Foodists, on the other hand, are those who deepen their knowledge of foods and cuisine through reading, seminars, etc.; and have the ability to discuss the nuances with like-minded people.


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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