Tonewood Maple Crafts Creative Maple Syrups

Maple syrup gets extra-fancy

Maple syrup is serious business in Vermont. Sugar-making families have honed their craft over generations, perfecting the simple product.

A Canadian transplant to Vermont, Dori Ross started Tonewood Maple to elevate the state's already excellent harvest to new heights. With a background in marketing, her ideas for transforming maple syrup are whimsical but maintain the integrity of the ingredient.

Using 100 percent pure maple sap from Vermont's best tree tappers, Ross dries the sticky substance into crunchy flakes ($13 for 4 ounces). Swirled into yogurt, the flakes double as sweetener and textural enhancer. Their rich, caramely flavor works just as well in savory dishes: sprinkle them over roast chicken, or add crunch to a warm noodle salad.

Ross also cooks down the syrup, then whips it into a thick, buttery curd for her excellent maple cream ($17 for 9 ounces). Slathered over toast, it knocks jam out of the running for best breakfast spread.

But our favorite is the solid 2-inch maple cube ($17 for 7 ounces). Use a Microplane to grate a delicate, powdered maple shower over ice cream, fruit and cocktails.