Like the rest of the CL staff, I live in Toronto, but I always spend the holidays in my hometown of Halifax. Most of that time is taken up with family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins), but I always make sure to meet up with old friends, too. One of my favourite holiday traditions involves driving to the town of Truro (an hour outside of Halifax) to meet up with two old college buddies. We always rendezvous at the base of the big Glooskap statue (Glooskap, for all you non-Martimers, is a mythical figure out of local First Nations lore), then we drive to a nearby restaurant or coffee shop to catch up. This year we altered the formula a bit and, after meeting at Glooskap, drove an extra half hour down tiny back roads to a place called Sugar Moon Farm. I'd heard about the place for years, but never got around to visiting it until now. Run by Scott Whitelaw and Quita Gray, it's a working maple farm, woodlot and log-cabin restaurant, and if you like that sort of thing it is a little slice o' heaven. Seriously, it was almost ridiculously picturesque and adorable. You get to it by driving down a short dirt road surrounded by snow-covered white spruce and balsam fir. After cresting a hill you come to a clearing, and there it is: a rambling, totally unprepossessing log cabin with a sizeable parking area in front. (On the day we went, there were probably two dozen cars there; it was busy and lively, but not so busy that we couldn't get a spot at one of the communal tables right away.) On the right side of the cabin is the actual sugar shack, where raw maple syrup is reduced over a wood-fired evaporator. And on the left side is the lovely, simple restaurant, which is cold enough that you might want to keep your jacket on, but made cozy via a huge fireplace. Every meal and drink is subtly flavoured with tasty, tasty maple. In some dishes they'll use syrup from the early harvest, which is light amber in colour and mild in its sweetness; in other dishes they'll use late-harvest syrup, which is dark and almost molasses-like. The syrup is so good that Whitelaw and Gray could easily get away with serving sub-par food, but the small menu is executed with real care and attention to detail. I had hot apple cider and shirred eggs sprinkled with maple pepper, while my friends had organic Red Fife buttermilk pancakes and a hot cereal made with brown rice and quinoa and topped with maple whipped cream. Everything was fantastic. It's pretty much impossible to leave without buying your own jug of syrup, and they have four varieties: early harvest, late-early harvest, early-late harvest, and late harvest. I bought the late harvest (and had to avoid the temptation to drink it all on the drive back). When the lady at the till asked me where I was from and what I did, I told her I was a copy editor for Canadian Living, and she immediately reached under the counter and brought out a dog-eared issue from 2006 (which predates my time). Inside was an article about maple syrup built around an interview with Whitelaw and Gray. Sadly, the article included very little information about Sugar Moon Farm, so consider this blog post my attempt to rectify the error. Sugar Moon is a friggin' delight, and if you find yourself visiting Halifax or the surrounding area in the near future, plan for a visit. Memories of it will occupy workday-afternoon flights of fancy for months after.