Once again we find ourselves at the tail end of a long and arduous winter that is still not ready to take its leave. The only light at the end of this icy tunnel comes in the shape – and taste! – of sticky sweet maple treats that we are ready to welcome with open arms.
Traditional cabanes à sucre (sugar shacks) are found in the country, amidst the forests of maple trees, although pop-up urban cabanes have been providing maple-laden meals to city dwellers. Come spring, syrup seekers congregate in country cabins, sit at long communal tables and eat simple sugar shack food that help whisk the winter blues away and welcome spring. If you are looking for such a spot in and around Montréal, below are a few of our favourite sugar shacks.
New to the cabane à sucre scene this year, La Cabane chez Jean is a stone-throw away from downtown Montréal at the Beach Chalet of Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame. In a “cozy cabin décor,” a menu of traditional dishes such as baked beans, omelette and maple sugar pie will be served to everyone’s delight.
Dates: Friday to Sunday, March 20 to April 12
Chef Laurent Godbout has made quite a name for himself in Montréal and on the international culinary scene. He brings his creative spirit to an urban “rustic chic” cabane à sucre at the Scena in Montréal’s Old Port. For $60 per person, a fantastic multi-course meal will be served. The menu includes such dishes as maple flavoured pogos, a cabbage torte with bacon and mushrooms, the traditional tourtière, a giant puff pastry with maple whipped cream, pineapple poutine and of course, the classic maple taffy. This is one meal you won’t want to miss!
Dates: Friday to Sunday, March 6 to April 12
For the fifth year in a row, Wellington Street transforms into an urban sugar shack with 15 of Verdun’s favourite restaurants participating in the festivities by contributing a special dish to the maple-inspired menu. Mark your calendars!
Dates: March 27 to 29
Start every Sunday in March with a great maple-laden brunch from one of Montréal’s favourite food trucks, Landry & Filles. Their brick and mortar digs in the east part of the city will welcome sugar shack seekers with dishes such as devilled eggs and oreilles de crisse, gratin with smoked ham and fried egg, and traditional dumplings in maple syrup.
Dates: Sundays, from March 8 to March 29
About an hour’s drive from Montréal, in the quaint town of Granby, chef Laurent Godbout and Attelier Archibald team up to bring you a traditional yet inventive cabane à sucre. Chef Godbout adds his own creative twist to some sugar shack favourites. The menu reads like a maple-drizzled dream and includes items such as a maple-wood smoked trout, slow braised ham, pork confit tourtière and an apple pouding-chômeur.
Dates: Every Sunday, from March 15 to April 12
For the fifth consecutive year, Cuisiniers sans frontières, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring culinary education to people in areas of poverty, is joining Montreal’s prestigious Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) to bring you their take on the cabane à sucre experience. A decadent meal will be served and all proceeds will go to a wonderful cause.
Dates: March 29, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Sucrerie de la Montagne is celebrating its 33rd anniversary this year! This Québec heritage site is open year round. Horse-drawn sleigh and wagon rides, old-fashioned maple-making facilities, musical entertainment, maple taffy on snow and an all‑you‑can‑eat outstanding menu of traditional cabane à sucre dishes await you. It’s as authentic as they come! If you want to know more about this sugar shack, read our article here.
Dates: February 15 to April 30
Celebrity chef Louis-François Marcotte teams up with La Tablée des Pionniers founders to bring you his take on traditional yet gastronomic Québec cabane à sucre fare. The menu, made of locally sourced ingredients, includes dishes such as braised bacon, bread pudding and traditional split pea soup, as well as housemade sausage and smoked meat. This family-run sugar shack is located in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré near Mont-Tremblant, about an hour and a half north of Montreal.
Dates: Thursday to Sunday, February 27 to May 10
We all know that the best part of any cabane à sucre menu is the tire d’érable or maple taffy. If you fancy a taste of that hot maple syrup swirled in snow, head over to the Jean-Talon Market, Atwater Market or Mont Royal metro station. Maple stands abound at these locations starting in early March and until late April. A maple BBQ is in the works for the two largest public markets: on March 28th at the Jean-Talon Market and on March 29th at the Atwater Market. Bonus points for Montreal’s public markets: you can buy maple syrup and products directly from the producers!