Quebec is known for many good things, and maple syrup certainly deserves a place on top of that list. If you are a local, you already know the sugaring-off tradition, when sap is collected from the maple tree and taken to sugar shacks, where it is boiled to get the maple syrup.
For the longest time, sugar shacks, owned by locals, have opened the doors for outsiders during the spring season. This is the time when families move out in cars, enjoy the drive outside the city limits and spend a day enjoying maple syrup. Sugar shacks like Érablière Richelieu have evolved into incredible destinations of interest for locals and outsiders alike. In this post, let’s understand how sugar shacks have evolved with time.
Extending services beyond spring
Most of the popular sugar shacks are now open all through the year, although spring is when they usually have hundreds of guests each week. Some shacks may take reservations on request for other seasons, so if you want to plan a gala family dinner or a getaway with the family, we recommend that you contact the right places in advance. The maple season is usually between February end to April end, so reservations are required. Shacks also have their websites these days, so you can check the lunch and dinner timings and work accordingly. Most shacks have an entry fee, which is usually lower on the weekdays.
The food is still traditional
Sugar shack menus are always about and surrounding maple syrup. You will find a bottle on the table, and every meal usually starts with a nice bowl of pea soup, followed by eggs, tourtière, cretons, baked beans and potatoes with fresh bread. Pork rinds usually are a part of the main course, and yes, syrup is drizzled on almost everything. Desserts are also about maple, so start with the classic sugar pie and move to donuts, “Grand-père” in maple syrup and pancakes. Maple taffies, which is basically a ritual, always ends the meal. Get your popsicle sticks and make your maple taffies from warm syrup that’s poured on fresh snow.
From a tour of the boiling room and farm to hiking, sledges pulled by horses and regular activities, sugar shacks ensure that people have a good time and enough reasons to spend the entire day. This is an experience you would want to explore twice in Quebec.