NOTE JANUARY 2015: a small glitch on the forum has made international characters a mess of question-marks, at least in this album--so at the moment, Erabliere, Montreal, Quebec, Therese, and who knows what else look very junky, since I typed all of them in here over the last month or so with accents above the appropriate letters, which looked fine at the time.
I hope this will be resolved quickly... if not I'll have to edit, slowly... but it's already taken me so long to edit the text and get this album ready to go public that I don't want to wait any more! I hope you'll forgive this little bit of mess as you read--and thanks, guys!!
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Fran Aucoin and his brother Bernard moved from Montrï¿½al, Quï¿½bec to Thorny Rock, Maine over 25 years ago on a whim, and found that they loved the warmth and connection to the past that this tiny town holds.
They decided to learn the ancient art of maple-sugaring, and bring Quï¿½bec techniques and recipes to the residents and tourists of coastal New England through their authentic sugar shack. Fran and Bernard opened the shop in 2005 when the brothers realized their business, now so busy during the late spring sugaring season, was ready to expand, and Bernard's wife, Thï¿½rese, has taken on the job of being the public face of ï¿½rabliï¿½re Aucoin. Their sugar shack, or cabane ï¿½ sucre, located just a block from the main street of Thorny Rock, brings a sweet scent to the town for months in the spring, and a special flavor to those who visit, all year round.
Inside the sugar shack, the brothers boil down sap into maple syrup the old-fashioned way, with a two pan, wood-fired evaporator. The high, vented roof aids in the process of creating delicious syrup from the snow-covered maples off in the woods.
In the shop, Thï¿½rese sells various grades of syrup in beautiful gift bottles and practical pottery jugs; homemade maple fudge, candies by the piece or in gift bags and boxes, cookies, and other edible goodies; and of course, maple-themed tuques (a traditional Quï¿½bec winter cap) to keep visitors warm, and decorative items as well.
But the best part, say the locals, is what happens outside, in the snow! Thï¿½rese boils down syrup in a huge pot until it's at a soft candy stage. Then she (or lucky visitors) pours the hot liquid maple into a snow-filled trough outside the shop, and almost instantly, it cools into a fun treat known as maple taffy! The kids love to pull it and stretch it before popping it into their mouths... what a sticky delight, to play with your food at the Aucoin's picnic tables, before patting the golden retriever, Bonnie, on the head one last time to say goodbye.
(To visit more of the tiny town of Thorny Rock, see my 2011 Creatin' Contest gallery: http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/index.php?app=gallery&album=5511 )