A specialty of the Speckled Hen Inn Bed and Breakfast is our Multi-Course Farm to Table Breakfast Adventure! We always provide our guests with fresh eggs from our wonderful hens, seasonal fruits or vegetables from the property, fresh baked goods, and homemade entrée creations that are unique and distinctly “Speckled Hen Inn” style. Many locals will travel around the state to find excellent maple syrup but we are fortunate to have acreage populated with Silver Maple trees growing along the creek, the required equipment and the personal motivation spurred by a passion for quality. Yes, indeed, it’s the season of maple syrup making in these parts.
Given the name, maple syrup, it is usually assumed that the product can only be made from sap of sugar maple trees but syrup can be made from other trees, including nut trees and other varieties of maples. Different trees provide diverse sap compositions resulting in wide ranging flavors. The Silver maple trees that we use create a distinctive creamy butterscotch flavor rather than the typical maple taste most are accustomed to.
Tree sap only flows while the daytime temperatures are above freezing and nighttime temperatures are below. Anticipating a warm week (thank you local weatherman) we tapped the trees early this year and are collecting sap as long as the conditions are right. Because of the quick onset of Spring-like temperatures, the season may be shorter that usual. However, I don’t think we’ll hear any complaints about the move away from freezing temperatures, day or night.
Then begins the heat and steam of processing the sap. Because the sap is 99% water, you first have to boil off the excess water thus creating a thick, caramel colored syrup. As you can imagine, boiling off all of this water creates an abundance of steam not welcomed in most homes, including ours. Therefore, we do this on an antique wood and gas fired stove in the BBQ kitchen of our home. Once the syrup has been processed, we bottle it and store it for breakfast use at the inn. And now that we’re a vendor in the Dane County Farmer’s Market beginning in April, 2020, we’ll be selling it there too!
This time of the year is precious. In addition to collecting and processing the syrup, the trees have begun budding, the birds are tweeting and making their nests, and the rest of nature is waking from the deep winter slumber. Whether you stay at the Speckled Hen Inn for business or relaxation, we invite you to venture around the property to witness the splendor it has to offer. When you rise, we’ll have some luscious maple syrup to savor along with the rest of your homemade breakfast.