A version of this article was first written for Tourisme Montréal
Spring is around the corner and that means maple season is upon us! 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. Here are some of my favourites and I added one in the country at the endow the article for good measure.
Un chef à l’érable with Hakim Chajar (March 15 to April 14)
Chef Hakim Chajar is coming back for the 8th edition of Un Chef à l’érable. The chef and owner of popular Miel restaurant will take on the Old Montreal urban sugar shack at the Scena. You’ll be spoiled with a generous meal centered around Québec’s maple syrup tradition but with the chef’s special touch. The menu includes dishes such as pork ribs with soy and foie gras sauce, pike quenelles with lobster bisque and decadent desserts like maple profiteroles and white chocolate and frozen apple log. The price is $69 for adults and $25 for children (plus taxes).
FloFest (March 22 & 23)
Fleury west in Ahuntsic is putting together a celebration of maple season at Parc Tolhurst. An orchestra will be on site on Friday night followed by a comedy show by Julien Tremblay.
Promenade Wellington’s Cabane Panache et Bois Rond (March 21 to 24)
Maple sugar tarts with bacon confit, General Tao poutine, codfish croquettes with maple sauce, maple dulce de leche churros and pouding chômeur are just a few of the delectable items from local restaurants you’ll be able to enjoy during the 9th edition of Wellington Street’s urban sugar shack celebration. Listen to live music, play games, sample some Canadian whiskeys, 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.
Festival Gueule d’Érable (April 26 – 28)
Music and maple take center stage at Festival Gueule d’érable, a 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 13th, 12pm to 4pm)
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 4 pm. Not to be missed is a friendly competition amongst the chefs from the Hochelaga neighbourhood 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
Caribou Gourmand (March 16, 17, 23 and 24 and April 6, 7, 13 and 14)
The Caribou Gourmand weekend maple brunches are back once again this year. The menu consists of traditional sugar shack items with a $45 all-you-can-eat option. Keep an eye on the website, where the menu details will be posted soon!
Le Richmond (weekends March 9-31)
Once again, Le Richmond is bringing its highly anticipated weekend maple brunches during the month 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 delights like mulled wine, cotton candy, farm animals, ice shooters and maple taffy. Reservations are suggested.
Marché Artisans (every Saturday, March 16 to April 20)
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth’s Marché Artisans has become a destination for food lovers looking for a wide variety of high quality food to delight in. Its maple brunch is one more reason why you should visit this delicious market. Two thematic menus prepared by chef Jean-Philippe Desjardins await you and include items such as buckwheat crepes with blueberries, baked beans with duck confit, eggs Benedict with maple Béarnaise sauce and a few maple desserts. Brunch is served with a selection of hot drinks, breads, pastries and jams.
Comptoir Sainte Cécile (March 30 & 31)
This is my corner restaurant and their brunches and lunches are delicious under any circumstance. The maple season brunch they had created last year was delicious so I can’t wait to taste the over-the-top dishes chef Ségué Lepage and Adèle Prud’homme will be creating for this year’s cabane à sucre brunch! Check out the menu here.
Perles et Paddock (until the end of April)
The Instagram-perfect Griffintown restaurant is serving a weekend brunch menu rooted in sugar shack tradition. You’ll find items such as split pea soup and pudding chômeur on the menu as well as more sophisticated dishes such as a pork, beef, veal and foie gras tourtière and blood sausage with maple and apple chutney.
If you’d like to get out of the city for a sugar shack experience, then head to Érablière Shefford. This is where I would go if I was inkling for some fresh country air this coming spring. Chef Guillaume Asselin and his Les Affamés team take over this sugar shack and transform it into a gastronomic experience that you won’t soon forget. The menu is rooted in maple tradition but plated with panache and fun. The entire ambiance is lively and entertaining. Take the whole family and the entire herd of friends and enjoy!
For more sweet treats, check out my Guide to Montreal’s best bakeries and pastry shops.