I know it doesn’t feel like it right now but spring is around the corner, friends! And if you’re in Quebec, that means that it’s time to head to a cabane à sucre or sugar shack to enjoy some maple delights. These are traditionally held in the country side where the maple trees grow but you can still partake in some great sweet treats in the city and here are some of my favourites.
Érable en fête – Jean Talon Market (March 24, from 11am to 2pm) / Atwater Market (March 25, from 11am to 2pm)
The popular public farmer’s markets Marché Jean-Talon and Marché Atwater transform into urban sugar shacks where everyone is invited! On the menu : music from the traditional québécois duo La Belle et la Brette, kids’ activities, free maple-flavoured treats (limited quantities), tastings and special offers from all the participating maple producers. At the Jean-Talon Market, sign up for a parent-child workshop where you’ll learn more about the history of maple season and get your hands dirty by making maple candy.
Promenade Wellington’s Cabane Panache et Bois Rond (March 22 to 25)
Maple sugar tarts, codfish croquettes with maple sauce, maple smoked pork with maple mustard and pudding chômeur are just a few of the delectable items from local restaurants you’ll be able to enjoy during the 8th edition of Wellington Street’s urban sugar shack celebration. Listen to live music, play board games, have your curls trimmed by the barbers on site or try your hand at wood sculpting or maybe even axe throwing. There’s something for the whole family.
Le Temps des sucres at the Olympic Park (April 12-15 and April 19-22)
Chefs Martin Juneau, Marie-Fleur St-Pierre, Alexandre Gosselin and Rémy Couture are coming together to create an incredible maple feast at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade this spring. They’ll each be creating a signature dish for the event. The 4-course menu is available for $39 as is, $49 with a beer pairing for 3 of the courses or $69 for a wine pairing for 3 of the courses. Taxes are included in the price. You can save a few dollars by purchasing your tickets in advance.
Un chef à l’érable with Hakim Chajar (March 16 to April 15)
Chef Hakim Chajar joins the 7th edition of Un chef à l’érable. The chef and owner of the popular Miel restaurant is ready to take on this urban sugar shack at the Scena in Old Montreal. You’ll be spoiled with a four-course meal centered around Quebec’s maple syrup tradition with dishes such as veal tongue pie and shish taouk lardon, carmelized onions with maple syrup and cheese curds, as well as the turkey confit dish with tajine spices on saffron cavatelli and an irresistible dessert of banana tatin with maple caramel and chocolate. Price is $65 for adults and $25 for children (plus taxes).
Festival Gueule d’Érable (April 28 & 29)
Music and maple take center stage at this new “modernized” version of a sugar shack on Quai Jacques-Cartier in the heart of the Old Port where food trucks and musical acts will gather to rock your plaid shirt!
Complètement Sucres (April 7th)
Complètement Sucres is back this year at Morgan Park for a day of traditional music and maple taffy. The day starts at noon and runs until 4pm. Not to be missed is a friendly competition amongst participating Hochelaga restaurants and for just $2.50 you can sample their creations. A portion of the money raised will be donated to an organization in the community.
Maple brunches around town
Le Richmond (weekends March 10-31)
Once again, Le Richmond is bringing their highly anticipated maple brunch during the last four weekends of March. The menu consists of cabane à sucre classics as well as more creative dishes laden with maple syrup, of course. Their heated terrace will host various sugar shack activities such as cotton candy, farm animals, shooters on ice and maple taffy. Reservations are suggested.
Caribou Gourmand (March 17 – April 14)
Everything looks so delicious on Caribou Gourmand’s maple brunch menu (I’m looking at you slow-braised crispy pork and lemon, salted butter caramel brioche). You can eat everything for the small price of $45 (and they’ll even include a mimosa) or you can order à la carte.
Rosewood Cabane à Sucre Brunch (March 3rd – April 1st)
Every March Saturday and Sunday, Old Montréal’s Rosewood restaurant will be serving up brunch influenced by Quebec’s maple tradition. Reservations are suggested.
Comptoir Sainte Cécile (March 24 & 25)
This is my corner restaurant and their brunches and lunches are delicious under normal circumstances so I can’t wait to see what over-the-top dishes chef Ségué Lepage and Adèle Prud’homme will be creating for their cabane à sucre brunch. Meet me there?
For more sweet treats, check out my Guide to Montreal’s best bakeries and pastry shops.