Plant-based and eco-friendly: a 100% natural maple celebration

We can hear you thinking: maple syrup is vegan, so why is it spread on kilos of ham, bacon, sausages, and other assorted pork products? You’re in luck: the only living thing that will suffer (a little) from your undying love for sugar shacks is a tree! Located in Mont-Tremblant, La Cabane à Tuque invites you to celebrate the sweet nectar of the maple tree while remaining respectful of nature. 

The menu includes vegan cretons, millet tourtière, tempeh in the style of a veggie omelette, lard-free beans, and homemade ketchup (yes, a few tomatoes had a rough go of it in the process, for which we do apologize). What’s absolutely certain is that everything on your plate has been lovingly sourced, since the majority of the food served is grown on site by the owners. In keeping with their concern for the environment, they also invite you to enjoy this unique gastronomic experience in their eco-friendly house, constructed with hemp concrete insulation, heated earthen floors, and walls made from recycled bottles. 

Educational and contemplative: a visit to the heart of a sugar bush

If the word “sugar shack” conjures up traumatic images of hundreds of people lined up on long benches in a gloomy barn, shouting and laughing over the violin and accordion (and DJ?!), foreheads a-sweating, children sick from eating too much … read on—we might have something you’ll like.

In the town of Warwick, Frédéric Vincent and Marie-Ève Goyer offer a completely different kind of sugar shack experience. At the érablière Aux Petits Plaisirs, you’ll be treated to a series of sweet microadventures in a calm, attentive atmosphere: maple butter workshops, a maple cone workshop, maple taffy and ice cream, and a tour of the sugar shack. The owner, a certified naturopath, even offers a “forest bath,” an extraordinary meditative walk where you can reconnect with yourself in nature. Maple herbal teas and other maple-centred products with healing properties will be offered—all in a setting conducive to contemplation and relaxation.

Ancestral and ethereal: a journey to the origins of maple syrup

Maple syrup is a bit like poutine: somehow every family in Quebec claims to have invented it. Don’t tell Grandma Josephine, but the truth is, it was the Indigenous people who first discovered the unique flavours of maple sap. Legend even has it that it was discovered by an Indigenous tribe when they caught a squirrel in the act of gluttony, flitting about after imbibing some of the divine nectar. So why not return to the true origins of maple syrup?

La Maison autochtone and its sugar bush, located in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, have been designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada as the only maple products national reference site for the origins of maple sugaring. The chef’s pumpkin stew, traditional bannock bread, chicken thighs marinated in maple syrup and wild herbs, Iroquois corn salad, Atikamekw sugar pie, and squirrels flitting about await you. (Rest assured, the squirrels aren’t on the menu.)

To round off this magical journey, the Maison invites you to share tales of native maple traditions around a bonfire as night falls. All that’s left for you to do when it’s time to reveal the origins of maple sugar is to gently plug Grandma Joséphine’s ears.

Urban and festive: a sugar shack with flair

Want to celebrate maple sugar season, but don’t feel like leaving the island? That’s good, because syrup doesn’t just flow through trees … it flows through veins too! For the past 12 years, the neighbourhood of Verdun has played host to a maple party with a twist: the Cabane Panache. On Rue Promenade Wellington, from March 21 to 24, 2024, eighteen local restaurateurs will reinterpret their classic dishes with a maple twist. Tacos, corn dogs, churros, and poutine will meet the magic of maple syrup.

Music for dancing, lumberjack-esque entertainment, plenty of plaid shirts, and hot beverages are also on the program for this supercharged urban event. But one question remains: should you go on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, or 24th? When in doubt, and since access to the outdoor event is free, go all four days!

With these fresh and unique options, there’s no doubt that this year’s maple syrup season promises plenty of culinary twists and turns. And when you feel a tiny pinch of maple nostalgia this summer or fall, give us a call: we’ll be happy to concoct a sugar shack–style menu for you … whatever kind of sugar shack you have in mind (except for the cedar butter and dandelion taffy; we don’t know your secret recipe, sorry!).