Hi y’all! Happy Thursday!
So today I’m talking about one of my favourite things about Quebec: SUGAR SHACKS! This isn’t a Montreal specific thing, but I thought it was worth a mention as they are easily accessible from Montreal!
In a nutshell
Sugar shacks (or ‘cabane a sucre’ in French) are exactly what you would think they are – they are shacks or cabins (or also nowadays estates) where the sugar (sap) from the maple trees is collected to make the maple syrup we all love so much! In Quebec, a lot of the sugar shacks are family run and so when you go it really has a feel of going back in time. Sugar Shack season is usually between February and April (March possibly being the best month!).
Most sugar shacks offer brunches so you can come taste the deliciousness that is their maple syrup. I don’t know if I have said it before, but you can have maple syrup with everything. Yes EVERYTHING! And the brunches are true to that! It usually includes pancakes, omelettes, sausages, ham, pork rinds and baked beans. And all that covered in maple syrup!
Because sugar shacks are such a family/community affair, the tables in the cabins are usually communal, to include as many people as possible. Then the food is usually served in a very informal manner, or ‘a la bonne franquette’ as we say in French. The waiters, sometimes dressed in era costumes, bring bowls and plates full of food for the table and you serve yourself and pass the plates around. It really has a feeling of sharing and community throughout the whole thing.
Sugar shacks do bring you back in time also with the help of the activities they offer. They usually have a nice little farm house in which kids can go feed animals. They all usually offer rides on sleigh to tour the grounds. Some places might offer to show you the sap retrieval process. Most big sugar shacks are now a bit more ‘commercialised’ and so they will offer activities like dancing, etc. as well.
This is my absolute favourite thing about sugar shacks (except from the whole stuffing my face in maple syrup covered food). The maple toffee is created by pouring the sap over the snow. It is usually done in front of the guests. The sap then starts solidifying and you roll it around a stick. I really can’t properly explain it, but it’s heaven on a stick!
Ever been to a sugar shack? Ever tasted REAL maple syrup before?xx