Every year, spring brings with it an overwhelming excitement when the first buds make an appearance in Quebec. It’s not just because we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the deep freeze tunnel that is our long winter, but also because spring means maple season! It’s the season when the sap runs freely from the province’s majestic maple trees and is turned into the world’s best sticky, sweet maple syrup. It’s also the season for cabanes à sucre or sugar shacks, a yearly meal laden with sugar, fat, good times and tradition.
Some people have favourite sugar shacks that they go back to year after year. Some people–like yours truly–are always a bit last minute and scramble to find a spot that’s not too far from the city (or even better, in the city!), where the food is great and the venue not too large. Maple season is only a few weeks long and most well known establishments fill up quickly. Here are a few that I like and would recommend that you book at very soon. Happy sugaring off!
Un chef à l’érable with chef Laurent Godbout
One of my favourite shacks year after year, the Chef à l’érable shack in Old Montreal never disappoints. Chef Laurent Godbout always surpasses himself in creating a refined menu rooted in tradition in an “urban chic” ambiance. Eleven of the most scrumptious dishes will be served for $63 per person. If last year is any indication, this is one meal you won’t want to miss!
Fridays and Saturdays 7pm, Sundays 1pm, March 11th to April 17th.
Montreal’s favourite food truck Landry et filles is serving a cabane à sucre inspired brunch every Sunday during the month of March. I’ve had their maple brunches for the past two years and all I can say is reserve and go, it will be delicious!
Sundays from March 6th to March 27th.
Get your nature fix without straying too far from the city with the third editon of La Cabane chez Jean. A stone-throw away from downtown Montreal at the Beach Chalet of Parc Jean-Drapeau on Ile Notre Dame, Chez Jean will serve a menu of traditional dishes such as baked beans, omelette and maple sugar pie for $30 a person ($20 for children) in a “cozy cabin decor”.
Fridays to Sundays, March 5th to April 3rd.
For the 6th year in a row, Wellington Street transforms into an urban lumberjack camp that includes a sugar shack. Some of Verdun’s favourite restaurants and bars will be part of the camp and will offer food and libations. This unique “lumberjack event” will kick off Friday night with a square dancing party. Expect a festive atmosphere with a small farmhouse, log throwing, wood sculpture, skiing race, juggling with axes and much more!
March 18th, 5pm to March 20th, 5pm
If you want to get out of the city, I suggest you head to Érablière Shefford. I had visited the gorgeous shack a couple of years ago when Laurent Godbout was in charge of the menu. This year, the team from the Montreal-based restaurant Les Affamés is taking over with their creative menu. This is not a traditional menu but it looks delicious and generous with its 16 dishes for $39 per person. If you want to read more about it, head over to my friend Eve’s blog Tellement Swell.
February 26th to May 1st.