WHEN YOU WERE A KID, it was just something sweet that you poured over pancakes with crazed abandon, as your parents cautioned you to go easy from the other side of the table. Maybe if you grew up in Quebec you also made it to a springtime sugaring off party at some local cabane à sucre, where you ate it like caramel, stiff and cold, freshly plucked from the pristine white snow. Then you grew up and revisited maple syrup and found that you could really cook with the stuff: that it was the ideal glaze for your ham and pork chops and even for brushing on a freshly smoked side of Canadian salmon. And in place of that peculiar standard can—marked Product of Quebec, with that old red barn nestled in bluish white snow amid a forest of bare trees—you started sampling small-producer editions in place of the generic syrup mixed in a vat. Bourbon barrel-aged syrup, organic syrup, small-producer syrup—and each of them had nuances of flavour courtesy of where they were sourced. The maple syrupproducing states and provinces have been wrangling over useless colour grading systems for years, defining grades as dark or amber, A and B—but never acknowledging the importance of region. What we need for our best-known culinary export is an AOC or DOP-type certification system, a stamp guaranteeing both quality and place of origin. How much more would people pay for a bottle labelled by an authority that they could trust—marked, say, “2018, 1st spring tapping, Eastern Townships,” with harvest and packaging dates filled in beneath? More—much more—and it would be worth it.