Spring is coming, and it’s the season for Quebec’s most famous export: MAPLE SYRUP! One of our favourite springtime activities is making sure as LITTLE as possible of the sweet, artfully refined nectar of the maple tree actually makes it out… By eating as much of it as possible!!
Visiting a cabane à sucre (sugar shack) is a yearly tradition for families and friends living in Quebec and in the North East. It’s hard not to love those warm, welcoming log cabin serving potatoes, pancakes, bacon, sausage, beans and other staple foods… All of it, of course, copiously lathered in maple syrup!
And for dessert? Tire sur la neige (maple taffy), a thickened version of maple syrup frozen onto snow and twisted onto a popsicle stick. Yum!
But where to go?
Most cabanes à sucre have similar menus, recipes and traditions, but they’re not made equal! The BEST sugar shacks can be hard to find, and even harder to book! To help you get the best experience, we’ve made a list of some of the best-rated sugar shacks near the Montreal area… We’ve also included a few “hidden gems” for an equally nice experience without the fuss and hubbub.
When a sugar shack makes the top of the list on Tourism Montreal and on reputable food blog Tastet, you know they’re doing something right. Described as a traditional maple shack, it’s located just 60 km away from the West Island, in the charming town of Rigaud.
The no-frills menu includes all the classics: pea soup, tourtière (meat pie), smoked maple ham and farm-style crusty bread.
tl;dr – your safe bet for a traditional experience
This charming sugar shack located in Mirabel has the added benefit of being a “BYOB” establishment! Prices are VERY reasonable – from $16,53 (weekday lunch) to $27.83 (Sunday at 1:30 pm). Prices vary by date and time, so you can plan your reservations intelligently!
The décor is charming – the dining room is spacious and well lit with big windows, and the wooden tables are rustic, and surrounded by simple benches. If you’re a small group, this is perfect to make friends with your table neighbours!
They have specific offerings for groups and school trips.
tl;dr – a great BYOB option for families, groups and tight budgets
This is a tiny little place nestled in a charming forest – you’ll feel wonderfully removed from society. There is also an interesting food twist here: La pause Sylvestre specializes in vegetarian cuisine – perfect for the non-meat-eaters who still want to partake in some “pigging out”… Hold the pork!
58, 11e Rang, Dudswell, QC
tl;dr – cute little vegetarian sugar shack
Montreal’s world-famous Au Pied de Cochon restaurant in the Old Port also has a sugar shack in the Laurentian town of St-Benoît-de-Mirabel. It’s perhaps the province’s most famous, highly-rated sugar shack, and therefore the most difficult at which to secure a reservation. There is a wait list for this season, and if you want a spot for the 2020 season, you’ll have to mark your calendar: reservations open on December 1st, 2019.
La Cabane d'à Côté
Due to the overwhelming success of its first sugar shack, Au Pied de Cochon has now opened a second shack nearby; La Cabane d'à Côté is just a kilometre away as the crow flies. Recently well reviewed in La Presse, this sugar shack is one to watch closely!
tl;dr – quite possibly the #1 sugar shack in terms of gourmet food