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America loves maple syrup. You can find it anywhere in the country from supermarket shelves to fast food restaurants. What America doesn t seem to know is that maple syrup has a cousin. That is better looking, richer, and better tasting. It s called cane syrup. Here in Acadiana, we know about cane syrup because we grow the sugarcane that makes it. We often use the name "Steen s" as a synonym for cane syrup, but if you start delving into cane syrup you find that there is an alternative to Steen s that is noticeably different. Poiriers Cane Syrup is made by Charles Poirier from a recipe that was created by his great great grandfather. Charles calls it "syrup with soul." He only makes as much each season as he can manufacture himself, by hand, from his own crop of sugarcane. When a batch sells out, it sells out. And it s doing that quicker and quicker each year as Poiriers is being discovered by chefs, and written about by magazines like Garden and Gun, and food bloggers. If you ve driven down Johnston Street in Lafayette over the last 8 years you will have noticed that what started out as a quirky pink sign that said "Sophi P Cakes" is today a landmark bakery. Sophi P Cakes makes cupcakes. The bakery is the creation of husband and wife team Jennifer and Dustin Melancon, neither of whom are Sophi or P. Sophi is short for sophisticated and "P" stands for punk. The spirit of the name was meant to embrace the concept of cupcakes for all tastes. And it worked. Sophi P Cakes makes up to one thousand cupcakes a day. They sell cupcakes out of the storefront bakery, and wholesale to office complexes, hospitals, and companies. Photos over lunch at Cafe Vermilionville by Lucius Fontenot.

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