Don't have time to trek out to the nearest sugar shack? Bring the traditions of the cabane à sucre chez you instead. Maple taffy (a.k.a. tire) can be served right at the dinner table via a few culinary tricks. First, create some "snowballs" on which to set your taffy by shaping shaved ice into circular mounds, then storing them in the freezer until ready to use. Come dessert time, pour 100-per-cent pure maple syrup into a deep pot on medium heat and, using a candy thermometer, heat to 232 F. (Be patient, as it can take time.) Once the syrup has reached the right temperature, remove the snowballs from the freezer, place them in ice cream dishes and pour the syrup in a squiggly fashion over top. Let the taffy set for 30 seconds, using this time to bring the dishes, with spoons, coffee and dessert wine, out to the table. Encourage guests to twirl the taffy onto their spoons, starting at one end of the squiggles. Sweet!
Michael Tong is the owner of Toronto's Sublime Catering.