Chef Chris Aerni and his wife Graziella searched all of Canada for a place to set up shop. They’ve now been the owners and operators of the hotel, restaurant and bar of the Rossmount Inn, just outside of St. Andrews for 20 years now. 

They’ve developed quite the reputation in that time. 

“It’s the beauty of the land, and the bounty of incredibly high-quality products, which kind of brought us here,” Aerni said. 

With over 30 years in the food and hospitality business, the Swiss-born-and-trained chef has worked on three continents, and chose New Brunswick as his home. 

He knows the pool, the mountain, and the area are big draws for his guests. But he’s pretty sure most people visit because of the warm hospitality and mostly, the great food.  And he has fully embraced regional farm products and tries to reflect them in his menus.

“It’s very important to have a variety of local products,” he said. “So we could identify ourselves with those products.”

And, of course, that includes maple syrup.

Whether the abundance of seafood, foraged mushrooms and sea parsley, or products from small organic farmers, selecting the proper ingredients is clearly a part of the lifestyle that appeals to Aerni.  

For us, Aerni prepared a pork belly dish, paired with barrel-aged maple syrup from Wabanaki. He said he was delighted to discover Wabanaki’s products, and the nuances in maple flavour the barrel-aged process brings out.

Wabanaki Maple
Chris Aerni features Wabanaki’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup in this recipe. (Photo: Adam Hodnett)

RECIPE

This recipe is for maple glazed pork belly, apple cilantro slaw, and sweet potato puree.

The pork belly is prepared in a slow cooking method with a sous vide process and can be stored for several days in a refrigerated area before serving.

The sweet potato puree and apple cilantro slaw are prepared just before serving the dish.

Also, makes a great appetizer.

Ingredients

Pork Belly

  • 450 gram (1 lbs) pork belly uncooked
  • 15 grams freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 piece star anis
  • Salt to season
  • White pepper
  • 1 oz. Wabanaki maple syrup

Sweet Potato Puree

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 oz butter.
  • ½ jalapeno
  • Salt

Apple Cilantro Slaw

  • 1 large honey crisp apple
  • ½ oz apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1oz maple syrup
  • ½ oz soy sauce (mild)

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Preparation

Pork Belly

  1. Season the pork belly with salt and the white pepper ( twice the amount you would use for a steak) 
  2. Crush the star anis and rub onto the pork belly with the fresh thyme and ginger.
  3. Place the pork belly into a food sealer or vacuum pack bag, add the maple syrup and seal the bag.
  4. Cook immersed in water (sous vide) at 72 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. Remove and let cool down without removing it from the bag. (The pork belly can be stored for several days in a refrigerated area).

Sweet Potato Puree

  1. Wash the unpeeled sweet potato, wrap in tin foil and bake in an oven at 375 degrees Celsius until it has a soft squeeze to the touch and/or you can smell caramelization.
  2. Remove foil and skin and smash in a bowl adding the hot melted butter and season with salt and the finely chopped jalapeno.

Apple Cilantro Slaw

  1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and soya sauce in a bowl with a whisk.
  2. Cut the apple into fine stripes (julienne) , chop the cilantro and add to the dressing.

To finish the dish remove the pork belly from the vacuum bag. Clean off all access fats and juices and dry with a kitchen towel. Cut into 6 equal sized pieces.

Sear in a non stick pan on both sides until golden brown. To make sure it is hot to the center, finish in the oven for 5 minutes.

To serve: Place a couple of soup spoons of the sweet potato puree on a plate. Place the pork belly on top of the puree. Garnish with the apple salad. Drizzle some of the dressing across the dish.

Bon Appetit!

Contributor

Chef Chris Aerni, owner of the Rossmount Inn

Chris Aerni is the owner and chef of the Rossmount Inn. A hotel, restaurant and bar just outside of St. Andrews. He brings over three decades of experience to the kitchen, and is passionate about the quality of local ingredients he can use from New Brunswick on his menus.

Dill pickle salads, tik tok crispy wraps, and maple everything is currently trending all over social media. My two favourite flavours are dill and maple, so developing a dressing combining the two was a must for 2021. 

For this recipe I use the dressing as a drizzle on a pan seared crispy chicken wrap. BUT you could also use it on salads, as a chip or veggie dip, on nachos,  the sky is the limit!! The wrap is also interchangeable to your favourite proteins, cheeses, and vegetables. Have fun with this one and remember there is no such thing as too much dressing.


Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 wholegrain wrap
  • Greens of choice ( boston lettuce is featured here)
  • 1 diced dill pickle
  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1Tbsp Butter
  • Protein choice (cooked salmon or crispy chicken is suggested)

* Air fryer panko crusted chicken strips are used in this recipe

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon or Grainy Mustard
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Dried Dill (3+Tbsp if yours fresh dill)
  • 2 Tbsp Dill Pickle Juice
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all toppings in the four quadrants of the wrap. You can mix and match. Using a sharp knife make a small slice from the center of the wrap to the bottom. This will allow you to fold your wrap in four after you drizzle the dressing.
  2. Whisk mayonnaise, maple syrup, mustard, garlic powder, dried dill, dill pickle juice, and salt & pepper in a bowl. Keep remaining dressing refrigerated.
  3. Melt butter in medium heat frying pan until it bubbles. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on all of your toppings. Fold wrap starting with the bottom left section folding up, then fold to the right , then back down again.

You will be left with a deliciously layered triangle shaped wrap. Place wrap in pan and sear both sides until lightly browned and crispy.

Enjoy!

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Briggs Maple in Hillsborough, NB

Contributor

Michelle Stoddart, Port City Delicious

My journey to social media and restaurant and brand photography just happened organically. Ive been behind the scenes of the service industry for so many years it just made sense to turn my love for food, creativity, and the Maritimes into a career. I have a passion for local business, local craftsmanship, and all things locally sourced.

The Acadian Peninsula is among the greatest places in the world to enjoy sea food. So when Sonia Jalbert, owner of Le Nouvo Caveau in Paquetville, set out to make a recipe with local maple syrup, combining it with fish seemed an obvious choice. But she added a twist.

While Grand Anse to Lamèque can boast about an ongoing, vibrant fishery, and long traditions with seafood, it is also home to exciting and innovative aquaculture. In this case — arctic char. Arctic char are the northern-most fresh water fish in the world, and a close relative to salmon and lake trout. They are now also home to Bas-Caraquet, at the Pisciculture Acadienne.

“In my opinion, it’s one of the best fish you can have in production, in our region,” said Jalbert.

Using high-quality, locally produced, completely fresh fish is just part of the reality for a restaurant in Paquetville. It’s something that often surprises the chefs that Jalbert hires from Quebec, who are used to several days between taking the fish out of water, and getting it into their hands, in Montreal or Quebec City.

“In our region, you can fish it and have it on the plate the same day,” Jalbert said.

Combining this treasure from the sea with our provincial treasure from the trees just makes sense. For many years, Le Nouvo Caveau has chosen Sucrerie Chiasson’s amber maple syrup from Paquetville, NB. Its sweetness pairs very well with all kinds of local fish.

“Paquetville is the heart of maple syrup in the Acadian Penninsula,” she said.

Sonia also recommends pairing the meal with another locally produced, maple-inspired, product — the Grand Vicaire Paquet, a maple cream ale from Distillerie Fils du Roy in Petit Paquetville. And for wine drinkers, she recommends any new world chardonnay, aged in American oak barrels, to match the maple notes of the meal with the smoky and toasty flavors of the American oak.

And don’t worry if you can’t find arctic char in your corner of the world, Jalbert says substituting it with Salmon or Trout makes for a delicious meal as well.

Give the recipe a try, and let us know what you think!

For this recipe, Sonia Jalbert recommends syrup from their neighbors, Sucerie Chiasson, also located in Paquetville, NB. (Photo: Adam Hodnett)

RECIPE

Ingredients
(For 2 people)

  • 2 fillets of Arctic Char (or pinkish flesh fish) of about 150g
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
  • 1⁄4 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
  • a small handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

  1. Cook the fish over medium-high heat for 3 minutes in the oil on the skin side.
  2. Turn the fish over for 15 seconds on the flesh and set aside on a plate.
  3. Deglaze the pan with a spoonful of butter to make the sauce.
  4. Add the almonds in the foaming butter and leave to brown for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the lemon juice and the maple.
  6. Stir well adding the fresh parsley and let caramelize 15 seconds.
  7. Serve the fish skin-side down and spread the sauce on the skin.
  8. Can be served with trout, salmon or cod.

For the local touch, we opted for the Arctic char from the PiscicultureAcadienne de Bas-Caraquet.

Wine pairing: New World Chardonnay aged in American oak barrels.


Recipe Contributor

Sonia Jalbert, owner of Le Nouvo Caveau

Sonia Jalbert comes from a family of restaurant owners, with her parents celebrating the 35th anniversary of La Crêpe Bretonne this year. After running Le Nouvo Caveau in Paquetville for 9 years, she has decided to close this chapter and focus on her passion, and training, as a sommelier. Follow her on social media for lots more food and wine content.

I remember class field trips as a child. We’d watch producers tap the trees, and then pour hot maple syrup over the snow. Our excitement was next level. I think that excitement stuck with me. 

Maple Season is here now, and I’m so excited to play with it again this season. It’s not just for pancakes and waffles. 

If you like the traditional whiskey sour — you will love this recipe. It has a maple twist instead of simple syrup, and it’s designed to please your palette.  I used Trites Maples for this recipe.

It’s so easy to make, and a perfect crowd pleaser! Shake a few up and impress your friends with rising egg whites and garnish. 


Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2oz bourbon or Canadian whiskey
  • 1oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1oz local maple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Method

Fill shaker with ice, add all ingredients and shake, shake, shake!!!! Make sure to shake long enough that the egg whites become frothy. Pour over fresh ice in preferred cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon zest.

Notes

If you prefer a more boozy flavour add 1/2oz whiskey. More sour, use 1/2oz maple. More sweet, use 1/2oz lemon juice.

Enjoy!

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Contributor

Michelle Stoddart, Port City Delicious

My journey to social media and restaurant and brand photography just happened organically. Ive been behind the scenes of the service industry for so many years it just made sense to turn my love for food, creativity, and the Maritimes into a career. I have a passion for local business, local craftsmanship, and all things locally sourced.

Maple syrup has commonly been used in exotic cocktails since the birth of the “Tiki” cocktail style, dating back to the early 1930’s.

Donn Beach, aka “Don the Beachcomber,” is regarded as the father of Tiki cocktails and the exotic cocktail culture that followed.

Donn often used maple syrup in his exotic cocktails with a variety of Caribbean rums, spices, lime and pineapple. The Waterville Grog is a nod to Donn and Tiki pop culture that commonly incorporated our nation’s favorite syrup.

Winters can be cold and hard on a Maritimer, and sometimes we just need to get away from it all, so as Don the Beachcomber once said, “if you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you.”

Cheers!

If you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you.

Don the Beachcomber

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple
  • ¼ cup ​melted butter
  • ¼ cup ​NB maple syrup
  • ¼ cup ​brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 oz Canadiana (or rum)

Instructions

Maple Pineapple

Start up your grill, to preheat.

Cut pineapple into vertical slice, after youve removed the skin,
top, bottom and core.

  1. Cut pineapple into vertical slice, after youve removed the skin, top, bottom and core. Don’t cut the slices too thin, or they might fall apart on the grill.
  2. Place ¼ cup of butter in a glass bowl or a glass measuring cup.
    Microwave until it’s liquid.
  3. Add ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup NB maple syrup into butter and stir
    until it has an even consistency.
  4. Place pineapple on the grill and begin to brush the
    butter/sugar/syrup blend onto the pineapple slices.
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon onto the slices.
  6. Grill each side for about 5 minutes, then rotate with tongs, repeat
    brushing and sprinkling of cinnamon.
  7. Once every side has been grilled with visible grill marks, remove pineapple.

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The cocktail:

  1. Juice the grilled pineapple in a juicer or a blender. (Left over pulp from juicing is perfect for an ice-cream or waffle topping.)
  2. Place 2oz of the pineapple juice into a shaker or mason jar.
  3. Add ½oz fresh lime juice.
  4. ½oz NB maple syrup.
  5. 2oz Canadiana.
  6. Add a few ice cubes into the shaker or jar, then cover and shake for
    5 seconds.
  7. Strain liquid into a 12oz glass filled with crushed ice.
  8. Garnish with a few leaves from the head of the pineapple, a slice of
    lime and grilled pineapple.
  9. (Optional, but highly recommended) Add a dash of Angostura bitters
    to the top of the drink for aromatics.
Moonshine Creek's Waterville Grog

Contributor

Jeremiah Clark, Co-owner of Moonshine Creek Distillery

Jeremiah Clark is the co-owner of Moonshine Creek Distillery in Waterville, NB. Along with his brother Joshua Clark, they invented the truly Canadian spirit, “Canadiana,” a rum-like spirit derived from maple sugar. As a true cocktail enthusiast, Jeremiah was happy to create tiki inspired drink, using a classic ingredient that people may not realize was a staple in early tiki cocktail culture — maple syrup. Follow Jeremiah for lots more innovative spirits and cocktails!