THE BEST GOURMET SUGAR SHACKS IN QUEBEC

Text by: Quartz Co.

The sugar shack is a true Quebec tradition. Over time, it has also become an opportunity for the province's best chefs to indulge themselves by developing menus reinventing traditional dishes and exploring the possibilities of maple products in new and inventive ways, to the delight of foodies everywhere. As spring inches closer, here are our top gourmet sugar shack locations for an unforgettable and unmistakably Quebecois culinary experience. 

It’s impossible to write about gourmet sugar shacks without mentioning the famed Au Pied de Cochon. Both an ode to Quebec’s culinary traditions and to a culture of excess, chef Martin Picard’s creation has reinvented the sugar shack for the modern era. From oatmeal soup with glazed bacon, fried tofu, and foie gras, to maple crème caramel flambé, the menu is a bold and gourmet reinvention of maple season classic dishes. This legendary establishment is ever-popular, so remember to make your reservation several months (or even a year) in advance! 

La Cabane d’à Côté is both le Pied de Cochon sugar shack’s sister and neighbor establishment. It seeks to offer a gastronomic take on the sugar shack experience by revisiting classic dishes, using local produce first and foremost. Pea soup, tourtière, meatball and pig's feet stew... they’re all there, even maple taffy on snow served right at the table. Signature dishes are cooked on a wood oven with the finest quality ingredients. You’re guaranteed to leave your table with a full stomach and a smile, delighted by the charms of Quebec's terroir. 

Chef Louis-François Marcotte has teamed up with Verger Lacroix to create a cozy, gourmet sugar shack, where local food and spirits are celebrated. Three menus are available for your party to share. You’ll find the classics in each of them (pea soup, maple beans, puffed omelet), with the option of adding a piece of meat from the smokehouse or a foie gras mousse to your menu for an even more gourmet experience! Accompany your meal with one of the Lacroix family’s many artisanal ciders and spirits. La Tablée des Pionniers offers Quebecois cuisine made with heart, and guarantees a good time spent with family or friends around good food! 

This gastronomic sugar shack is the result of a collaboration between L’Érablière Shefford and Montreal restaurant Les Affamés. Since 2016, they have been joining forces to offer a memorable maple season meal in a friendly atmosphere. Here, they move away from tradition: a crispy taco of smoked salmon rillette with marinated onions and cucumber is on the menu alongside baked beans and pastrami and a fried chicken pancake served with lime and hot peppers. You’ll enjoy your meal knowing the food is mostly sourced locally, and you’ll appreciate the rustic charm of the dining room in which you’ll enjoy this original take on the sugar shack.  

You don't have to go out of town to enjoy a sugar shack meal! Every year for the past 8 years, the La Scena event space has taken on a sugar shack atmosphere and welcomed a renowned chef from Montreal's culinary scene to develop a 4-course menu inspired by the maple season. After Laurent Godbout, Danny St-Pierre and Hakim Chajar, it’s Chef Daren Bergeron’s turn to design the menu for the 2020 edition. Among the dozen dishes on offer are black pudding with Quebec apples, squash and maple soup, and a dessert featuring crushed meringues and taffy. 

These five sugar shacks are proof that traditional Quebec cuisine has never been so exciting, and that it certainly has its place on the Canadian gourmet scene. The Pied de Cochon sugar shack is even on the prestigious “Canada’s 100 Best” list! Take full advantage of this year’s maple season, however short it may be, to visit one of these sugar shacks and experience a gourmet meal you'll remember for a long time. 

Photos by: Au Pied de Cochon, La Cabane d'à Côté, Alison Slaterry