One thing that I love about Quebec is the maple season. It’s around March when temperatures start to become positive and the sap starts to flow! There’s a huge harvesting of maple syrup during that time and along with that comes the opening of sugar shacks!
Sugar shacks (cabane à sucre) are usually opened up as part of a maple farm. A cabin-like facility hosts visitors coming in for a hearty meal. The portions are generous, and you can bet the food is heavy.
I think what I like most about sugar shacks are the dishes served! There’s usually the famed maple taffy, in which boiling hot maple syrup is poured over fresh snow. The main things you can expect to eat includes ham, sausages, eggs, baked beans, and pancakes. All a little sweet from having a bit of fresh maple syrup incorporated into it! You’ll probably get super full from the main meal, but outside of the maple taffy, you often will also get pouding chômeur (vanilla cake cooked in creamy maple sauce) or sugar pie!
It’s all very brunch-like foods—which is perfect because brunch is my favourite meal. The only issue is that all the sugar shacks are super far away from Montreal island 😦
The nice thing about visiting actual sugar shacks is that you share in this communal family feast-style of eating in a cabin with many others. There are also usually activities on site such as petting zoos, sleigh rides, or tours of how they tap the maple trees.
This year, Ubisoft offered a cooking class as a weekend activity! It was $69 for 2 people and they shipped all the ingredients to our apartment two days prior to the online cooking class. It was taught by Ateliers et Saveurs—a pretty fancy establishment that offers cooking lessons.
The food was AMAZING oh my gosh. They gave us these cheese sausages to cook with rosemary and syrup, and we also had ham baked in some maple syrup. I actually usually don’t love pouding chômeur because it’s way too sweet, but this one was kind of addictive.
For this weekend, since it’s the Easter long weekend (also, Quebec’s first public holiday after Jan 1st is Easter. What’s up with that??), the boyfriend and I found out about the Ma Cabane à la Maison initiative. Different sugar shacks across Quebec partnered together with support from local grocery stores and the government to offer people the opportunity to have sugar shack staples delivered to a local drop off point!
For $57, the boyfriend and I got all these goodies delivered from Sucrerie Bonaventure.
We picked it up at our local Metro grocery store and they had it ready for us at our scheduled time window. There were no additional costs for this delivery, so it was super simple. I did prefer the food we made at home from the week prior, but I think at the end of the day you can’t really go wrong with eggs, sausages, and ham. There were also lots of little side dishes with the Sucrerie Bonaventure box including homemade sweet pickles, beets, fruit ketchup, and crispy pork rinds.
I assume every sugar shack is different, but for our box most of the foods were already made. It was a matter of reheating stuff in the oven before you ate it—save for the eggs and the pancakes which you had to actually make.
If you’re in Montreal, I highly suggest you check out the Ma Cabane à la Maison site. Or if you’re visiting Quebec during the March-ish period, go out and visit a sugar shack!