Sugar shacking is to Montreal culture what sauce is to poutine. Sacred. Every spring, Montrealers go on a pilgrimage to “cabane à sucre” in order to stuff themselves with eggs, pea soup and deep-fried pork crisps. You go with your friends, family, wear a checkered logger shirt, and even go for a horse-drawn ride through the woods if you want to.
In the sugaring off category, Chef Martin Picard is (still) on top of the Montreal food game.
Picard made quite an impeccable reputation for himself thanks to the decadent Quebec dishes he’s been serving at Au Pied de Cochon for seven years.
Last spring, Picard opened Au Pied de Cochon sugar shack, 45 kilometers outside of Montreal. It was an instant hit. According to Picard, maple syrup is the most emblematic product found in Canada, so it’s no surprise that the Food Network’s “Wild Chef” decided to produce its own syrup right on his brand new 52-hectare property.
For your own good, please note that a traditional cabane à sucre feast is about 2,300 calories—that would be your daily intake in one meal…might want to leave the diet at home. Pea soup with foie gras, maple cured salmon, mackerel omelette, tourtière for two, trio of desserts…you’re in for a true culinary treat, Quebec style
(That’s me sugar shaking as a kid & posing next to the maple pot in my Montreal Canadians gear, unfashionable jeans and white socks. I’m sharing valuable family pictures with you guys! Feel special).
An alternative to the Pied de Cochon shack (and this is what I did, mainly because I didn’t have time to leave the city) is to head to urban sugar shack La Cabane that just opened in Old Montreal this year.
I admit heading to Old Montreal is nothing like a trip to the woods, but it might actually be more convenient for you since you won’t have to figure out how you’ll get there. Located right at the Old Port Keys, La Cabane successfully blends tradition and modernity in a family-friendly environment. (A family-friendly environment that gets very animated in the evening).
On the menu, foie gras paté, blood sausage and a delicious pea soup with aged cheddar and ham.
Full? That’s not it. You’ll also be served a huge cassolée (as seen above) made of beans, confit, sausage and porc.
My favourite part: desert. Maple cotton candy, taffy on ice and “grand-pères chauds à l’érable”. I can’t translate that last one, but basically a hot mushy ball of maple yumminess.
It’s a set menu and will cost you 50$. La Cabane is open till April 11, although I’ve heard word (from the owner) that they might stay open a big longer.
@Scena, Jacques-Cartier Pavilion
Old Port Keys
Tuesday, Wednesday – 6h30pm (on reservation)
Thursday, Friday – 6h30pm
Saturday -11h30am, 8pm
Sunday – 11h30
Bar: Tuesday to Saturday – 5pm to midnight
Price per person: $50
Kids (less than 12): $15
Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon
11382 Rang de la Fresnière
St-Benoît de Mirabel, Québec