ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (AP) — In the leading maple syrup producing state in the country, Vermont residents take their pancake topping seriously, and so do the judges at the annual maple contest at the Vermont Farm Show.

On Monday, a panel of three judges sampled dozens of syrups from producers around the state.

And judging is far more than a sugar buzz.

First, a judge tested the syrup for density — its sugar content. Then, the panel judged the syrup for its color, based on what type of syrup it is: golden, amber, dark or very dark. And finally, they tasted them for flavor.

This year’s best in show went to Howard Beaupre, Sr., of Milton, Vermont, for his amber syrup.