A few years ago I discovered a relatively new maple syrup distillery in New York. It was Oktoberfest weekend, and my soon to be husband was seeking sauerbraten, spaetzle, and beer. Instead we found Madava Farms, home of a maple distillery which happened to be holding a German feast. We spent the afternoon cozied up with our German food, taking in the rows of tapped maple trees and front fields of the farm.
Where we live the street scene doesn’t change all that much on an average day. A few people walk by; the same cars leave and return. Even on a maple farm, the view can become quite static. But when we left the building where they held the main Oktoberfest celebration, we were greeted with a fire pit complete with marshmallows for roasting. I’ve never been a fan of a gooey marshmallow, but the fire added to my experience of the view. The smell of the smoke. The way it made the trees seem to move, even on the still day.
Everything we ate on our trip was infused with maple – from salad to dessert – but it wasn’t overdone. There are so many food festivals, and often the star ingredient overpowers all others until you can’t touch it for a month. After our feast, we even ordered maple coffees for the long car ride home.
When you visit a new place, slow down and allow yourself to take in everything. Enjoy your food and look around at your surroundings. Especially at events that have been planned around a specific focus such as food there are often side elements that contribute to your enjoyment. Wine tastings are the perfect example. Often the visual experience of a vineyard lends to your remembrance of taste. The same wine can seem quite different when you bring a bottle home. If you slow down in the moment of your first experience, the sights and feelings seem to flow back effortlessly.
This morning we made maple pancakes with ingredients from the distillery. They are now staples in our home. As soon as the batter hit the pan, I smelled maple and firewood. I remembered sitting in the car with our coffee, taking in one last view of the trees.