Traditional cabanes à sucre (sugar shacks) are found in the country, amidst the forests of maple trees, although recently pop-up urban cabanes have been providing maple-filled meals to city dwellers who don’t want to leave their home turf. Come spring, syrup seekers congregate in country cabins, sit at long communal tables and eat simple sugar shack food that help wile the winter blues away and welcome spring. If you are looking for such a spot in and around Montreal, below are a few of our favourite sugar shacks.
La Tablée des Pionniers: For the first time, celebrity chef Louis-François Marcotte has teamed up with La Tablée des Pionniers to bring you his take on traditional Quebec cabane à sucre dishes, some recipes coming straight from his mom! The menu, made of locally sourced ingredients, sees dishes such as braised bacon, bread pudding, pea soup, as well as white wine infused with maple syrup made by Rivière du Chêne Winery. This Cabane located in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré near Mont-Tremblant will surely please your taste buds, as well as offer some outdoor activities such as horse carriage rides, walks in the forest and a minifarm for the kids to enjoy. Dates: March 1 until end of April, Tuesday-Sunday, 9am–9pm
Cuisiniers sans frontières: Once again, Cuisiniers sans frontiers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring culinary education to people in areas of poverty, is joining Montreal’s prestigious school of hotel and tourism, the ITHQ, to bring you a cabane à sucre experience. A decadent meal of maple cabbage salad, omelets soufflé, maple ham and eggs in maple syrup will be served, all for a wonderful cause. Dates: March 30, 11am-12:30pm and 12:45pm–2:00pm
Scena with Laurent Godbout: Chef Laurent Godbout has made quite a name for himself with three restaurants. He is the winner of the prestigious 2013 Bocus D’Or culinary Canadian competition, and will be representing Canada in 2015 at the world Bocus d’Or. Godbout is bringing an urban cabane à sucre experience to Montrealers this year in the Scena building Montreal’s Old Port. For $60 per person, a fantastic four-course meal will be served. How does Chef Godbout’s gourmet tourtière, or his squash, potatoes and cheddar cheese tartiflette sound? Let’s not forget the maple and bacon s’mores! This is one sitting you won’t want to miss. Dates: March 14 to mid April, Friday-Sunday
L’Attelier Archibal – Laurent Godbout: If you want something outside of the city, but still want to savour Chef Godbout’s creations, visit his restaurant in Granby. He is presenting a traditional cabane à sucre feast and adding his own little twist to the service. Dates: March 16 until Easter weekend, Sundays
La Cabane, Éclusiers par Apollo: Celebrating its fifth season, five alumnus chefs will join Montreal celebrity chefs Giovanni Apollo and Daren Bergeron in creating a maple sensation in the form of a five-course meal. La Cabane is another urban sugar shack located in The Old Port of Montreal. Dates: March 6 to April 20
Cabane à Sucre – Pied de Cochon: What is there to say when it comes to these guys? Chef Martin Picard and his kitchen crew are in a class all their own and rightly so. Their season extends from February 14 to May 10. As of December 2013 however, reservations were booked solid! People sign up quick and fast to be able to sample dishes, such as their popular tourtière, the maple syrup smoked pork, and the lobster omelet, and let’s not forget foie-gras surprises in almost every dish. If you’re lucky enough to get a spot, it’s an experience not to be missed. Go hungry and bring Tupperware; you’ll have enough food for a week!
Botanical Gardens: If you want to learn about maple and the wonderful trees that give us this sweet treat, the Botanical Gardens provide information sessions for those who want to learn more about Quebec’s biggest export. Not to worry, you will get the chance to sample maple taffy on snow! Dates: March 1 to April 6
Promenade Wellington’s Panache et bois rond: For the 4th year in a row, Wellington Street transforms into an urban sugar shack with fifteen favourite restaurants and food trucks participating in the festivities. Tripes & Caviar, Blackstrap BBQ, Turkish restaurant Su, Lefebvre et filles, Lucky’s truck and a few others will each be contributing one or two dishes to the sweet menu. Mark your calendars! Dates: March 29-30, 11am-5pm
Photo credit: Audric Gagnon (La Cabane, Éclusiers par Apollo)
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