I'm a huge sucker for pretty much anything involving the word "maple," so on a recent weekend trip to syrup's cultural homeland, Vermont, I was determined to pack as much maple into my system as humanly possible. I'll take my maple flavor baked in or drizzled over a pastry, but in my opinion, nothing tops the pleasure of pure, unadulterated maple syrup, served straight like the liquid gold it is.
The old-school-looking, forward-thinking-cooking Chelsea Royal Diner in West Brattleboro is worth stopping at for a number of reasons, but nothing (not even their staggering homemade pie selection) tops these Corn Fritters with Maple Syrup ($6.95)—a special on the day I stopped in. The fritters use up the tail end of summer's sweet corn supply, with big, juicy whole kernels loosely bound together by a puffy funnel cake-esque batter. The fritters themselves aren't too sugary (most of the sweet flavor comes from the corn), but they don't need to be, because the cup of grade-A amber syrup on the side is obviously the star of the show.
The fritters are a vehicle, really, ergonomically designed with enough nooks and crannies to successfully soak up great depths of syrup in one swipe. Maple and corn flavors have a natural affinity for each other, as do fried foods and diners across the world. And the syrup, it should go without saying, is light and clean enough to drink plain...not that I'd ever be caught sipping that cup once the fritters were gone.
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