Maple Season in Japan - A popular annual happening

    MONTREAL, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - In Tokyo this year maple products once
again captured the spotlight, thanks in large part to renowned Québec chefs
Jérôme Ferrer (Europea) and Yvan Lebrun (L'Initiale), with French pastry-chef
Roland Delmonte, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), who together spent several
weeks creating maple dishes. Events included a talk and press reception on the
health benefits of maple syrup, the launch of the 2008 Maple Festival at
Yebisu Garden Place and Sapporo Factory, meals with a maple touch served in
numerous restaurants, a seminar on recent discoveries in food and health...
You could say that Japan has gone maple!
    For the third straight year, the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du
Québec (FPAQ) presented the Japanese with a festive program starring maple
products. Carried out on behalf of Canada's maple industry, with financial
support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Financière agricole du
Québec, the activities were designed for journalists, consumers and Japan's
commercial pipeline for maple products.
    Some sixty restaurants at Yebisu Garden Place offered maple menus. Along
with the Maple Festival, a rally was held to help consumers learn more about
maple products. Tastings of syrup and alcohol-free liqueur were offered, and
at Tokyo's famous Mitsukoshi store a chef was on hand to give culinary tips.
Tokyo enjoys an excellent gastronomic reputation internationally: the Michelin
Guide lists more three-star restaurants for Tokyo than for Paris. A booklet of
recipes by culinary star and maple spokesperson Yoko Arimoto will help her
fellow Japanese incorporate maple products into daily cuisine. And now there
is an all-Japanese website,, which for several months now
has been helping to inform Japanese consumers.

    A major investment in promotion

    At nearly $1.3 million in 2007-2008, this is the biggest investment the
Federation has ever made in a foreign country. According to Geneviève Béland,
director of promotion and market development, "the Japanese are keenly
interested in maple syrup. They like the naturalness of it, and are always
eager for more information."
    So it was that on March 7, in the presence of around one hundred
journalists, FPAQ launched the "Maple Life" festival, which ran through the
month of March in Yebisu Garden Place in Tokyo and at the Sapporo Factory
complex in Sapporo. Along with attending a seminar led by Dr Tsugane on recent
discoveries about food and cancer, the press learned about the latest results
of research on maple syrup. Afterwards, guests enjoyed original dishes
representing a fusion of maple products and Japanese cuisine, prepared by Yvan
Lebrun, owner-chef of L'Initiale restaurant in Québec and Nicolas Chevrollier,
chef at Victor's in the Westin Tokyo Hotel.
    The gastronomic festival starred chefs who had earned their laurels in
another highly-rated establishment, Tokyo's Okura Hotel. Delighting Japanese
food-lovers, Jérôme Ferrer, chef and co-owner of Europea restaurant, and
Roland Del Monte, M.O.F. and owner-chef of Pâtisserie Del Monte in
Bormes-les-Mimosas, France, spent an entire week showing off maple cuisine at
its finest.
    In the words of Serge Beaulieu, FPAQ President, "although 96% of Japanese
say they know about maple syrup, most of them serve it with pancakes. But
maple syrup makes a wonderful match with Japanese cooking. Since the Japanese
have a special interest in foods that are healthy and practical, they want
suggestions about how to use it more in everyday cooking. So it's important
that we invest in activities and tools of a gastronomic and culinary nature".

    About the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec

    Founded in 1966, the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec was
created to develop the economic, social and moral interests of the 7300 maple
businesses that form its membership. It represents men and women who have
chosen to work together by opting for the collective marketing of their
product. Thanks to the quality of their work, today Québec boasts 80% of the
world's maple syrup production.

For further information:

For further information: Johannie Coiteux, (450) 679-0540, extension

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