Jakeman’s Maple Syrup

Jakeman’s Maple Syrup

Jakeman's maple syrup

If there is one way in which living in Montreal has changed me, it’s through the development of an undying love for maple syrup. I’ve always liked the stuff, but now it’s pushing the boundaries of an obsession. I put maple syrup on everything. It’s my coffee-sweetener of choice, I use it to flavour oats, and most recently, I discovered that it blends superbly with tomatoes, peaches, and duck confit.

It’s no surprise that when I was offered a sample of Jakeman’s maple syrup, I jumped pounced on it.

Jakeman's maple syrup 2

Before using it in any specific application, a taste test was in order. A spoonful of maple syrup helps the medicine go down as they say, right? Voted Canada’s best tasting maple syrup, Jakeman’s tastes like what you’d expect maple syrup to taste like. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it tastes like pure maple. There are no notes of burned sugar, or caramelization, rather it’s light, and sweet, with just the right balance of mapleness (making up words here, I’m sorry). It makes Jakeman’s especially versatile because you don’t have to worry about the maple syrup over-powering other ingredients in whatever recipe you are making. Or, you can just pour it onto fresh, piping hot pancakes, crepes, or waffles and call it a day.

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I opted for a somewhat eclectic Saturday brunch comprised of a Dutch baby pancake, topped with Quebec heirloom tomatoes, Ontario peaches, duck confit, and of course, Jakeman’s maple syrup. I didn’t think I was going to want the additional sweetness on top of the already candy-like tomatoes and peaches, but it brought everything together with salty, savoury duck confit. Sometimes weird can be good.

dutch baby with Jakeman's maple syrup

So whether you are looking for an everyday sweetener that’s a bit more decadent than sugar, or you want to experiment with maple syrup in your sweet and savoury recipes, try Jakeman’s the next time you want to celebrate some pure Canadiana.

**The maple syrup reviewed in this post was suppled by Canada the Store, however the opinions expressed here are my own.

Little things

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This has nothing to do with food, and everything to do with food. Food is the common ground. Food is for sharing. Food brings us together.

A Saturday morning walk to the boulangerie? Always better travelled hand in hand.

Bourbon on the rocks after a stressful day? Something is missing without another glass to clink.

A warm mug (or two) of chai when you just can’t seem to shake a chill? It’s that much worse when you know there’s a pair of arms that would willingly wrap you up, but they can’t because they’re on the other side of the world.

No one said long-distance relationships were easy. On the contrary they are pretty damn hard. Texting, phone calls, FaceTime – they all help. But there’s no substitute for the little things you miss out on every day. A hand caressing your hip. A good morning kiss. A shared meal of crusty baguette and blue cheese. Silence. Except perhaps for the crackling of crust. You can talk from afar but you can’t just be. Sometimes there aren’t words and you don’t want there to be. I want nothing more than to not talk.

No one said long-distance relationships were easy. What in life that is worth it ever is? They are devoid of instant gratification and tangible affirmations. Misconstrued words can deliver unintended messages with regretful consequences. It works though. You make it work because you know you wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. Otherwise meaning you’ve found someone who makes 16000 some odd kilometers apart seem easy and you won’t go down without a fight.

We fight because we love.

No one said long-distance relationships were easy. Life is not easy. Find the right person and loving can be, no matter what the distance in between.

January Happenings

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I haven’t blogged since 2014, crazy. Well not really that crazy. Life happens, other things take priority and next thing you know I’ve forgotten about this tiny space of the internet I happen to be responsible for.

I may not be overly present here, but I’ve been busy with lots of other food-related projects.

My latest Eat North food/psychology piece involves marketing, specifically the factors behind buying local and organic. I also did a similar one on food marketing and children.

I also have 3 articles in the current January/February issue of Culinaire Magazine. The New Year is the perfect time to address everything that is wrong with dieting and resolutions, so I tackle that issue here. I also have my usual Chefs’ Tips and Tricks column, subject “Healthy Takes on Comfort Classics.” Last but not least, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Kicking Horse and the Post Hotel back in December to eat and eat and eat, so you can read about that starting on page 28.

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season that left you refreshed and rejuvenated to start 2015 off with a bang! I was fortunate enough to spend a couple weeks on the island of Curacao vegging out and trying not to get too sun burned. The food was nothing to write home about, but I may actually be a fan of doing nothing every once in awhile. Now it’s back to the grind. One more semester of my undergraduate degree to go! See you in another couple of months 😉

I’m Alive!

I don’t think I need to say that this post has been a long time coming. For any of you who visit this site on a semi-regular basis, you have probably noticed my obvious absence from it. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for it, nor will I promise to get my butt back in gear and start posting 5 times a week. I’m going to be a realist and tell it to you like it is.

I love my blog, don’t get me wrong – I’m unlikely to get rid of it anytime in the near future. However, when it’s not your full-time job and you don’t really make any money off if it, you start to prioritize other things. Finishing my last year of my undergrad is one of those priorities, as well as working on my thesis and applying to grad school. Career-wise, that’s where I am headed at this point so looking long-term, it’s probably a good idea to concentrate my efforts there. No kidding right?

Culinaire Magazine September Cover
Photo courtesy of Culinaire Magazine

Perhaps even more exciting are the new opportunities that have started to open up for me in the world of food writing. I recently started a new chapter as the digital media editor for Culinaire magazine in Calgary, a publication I have been contributing to for awhile now. I’ve said it before but when it comes to this whole world of food blogging, it’s the writing that I enjoy the most, and on my personal site, it’s hard to make that a priority and still attract people that only want to get recipes and look at pretty pictures. Sitting down to read a 800-1000 word essay? Not so much. Writing is also cool in the sense that you develop more tangible connections with actual, real-life people. As much as I have developed tons of internet relations via blogging, it’s nice to go to events where you meet people face to face instead.

Looking at the whole scenario, I really have to thank this blog for all that it has done for me. Without it, I likely never would have met the people I needed to in order to branch out into the writing side of things (something I never would have envisioned when I started this thing in my culinary school dorm 3 years ago now). And I guess to address the biggest question; what does the future hold for Because I Like Chocolate? Frankly, I don’t really know. I aim to update it on a weekly basis, whether that be with a recipe or simply providing a link to something I have written or done elsewhere, but I’m not promising anything. I’ll probably get busy and forget about it for awhile and then come back to it and go gung-ho before dropping off the face of the planet again. I would like to be more consistent than that but you know how it goes.

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone who reads this site and has supported me along the way over the past 3 years. I’m no Joy the Baker but things have sure grown from the 3 people who started reading this things all of those months ago. You can’t blog in isolation and it’s nice to get affirmation from people that actually benefit from what you are doing. I guess my one hope is that I can keep contributing to your life in a somewhat meaningful way, whether it be providing a cooking tip or merely adding a laugh to your day. Yup that definitely sounded way too “kumbaya.”

Roasted Cauliflower

Today I thought I would end things with a link to one of my recent Culinaire articles. Every month I write a column called “Chefs’ Tips and Tricks” and September’s theme was vegetables! Given that it’s almost fall, it’s the perfect time to make the most of the harvest and these tips will help you do just that!

Philadelphia Cheesecake of the Year Contest

Cheesecake is one of those desserts that you either love or hate. I spent the good part of my childhood thinking that I hated it, but once I started making it myself, I knew just how far that was from the truth. I am a self-proclaimed lover of all of the richest desserts you can possibly shove into your mouth and cheesecake fits the bill perfectly. My most recent eureka moment was combining two of my favourite desserts, Nanaimo bars and cheesecake to create none other than a Nanaimo bar cheesecake. Hello! It has the perfect balance of chocolate and cream cheese to make your taste buds content for days. Well maybe not days – maybe only hours before you need another slice.

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Have you come up with a cheesecake recipe like my Nanaimo car cheesecake that you think could win the cheesecake of the year? If so, you most definitely have to head on over and enter The Philadelphia Cheesecake of the Year contest. Prizes include:

  • a FREE brick of Philadelphia Cream Cheese for the first 250 eligible entrants, so you can keep making and devouring even more cheesecake.
  • Round-trip flights to Toronto for the top 5 finalists to compete in the Cheesecake of the Year bake off at the Kraft Kitchens.
  • $5000 awarded to 1 grand prize winner who will also be crowned the title of 2014 Cheesecake of the Year and featured in a national print campaign. Talk about bragging rights!

To enter, all you have to do is submit your original cheesecake recipe made with Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, along with a photo of your finished cheesecake masterpiece. All entries will be judged by a panel of Kraft judges based on select criteria. If you still have questions, full contest details, rules and terms/conditions are available online.

Whether you have made Nanaimo bar cheesecake, classic chocolate cheesecake, coconut lime white chocolate cheesecake, or anything in between, submit your recipe today for a chance to win great prizes and the ultimate title of The Philadelphia Cheesecake of the Year!

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Kraft Canada via sheblogs. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kraft Canada.

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake