More than 80% of maple syrup in the world comes from Canada. Quebec and Montreal have the best sugar shacks, which not only makes the best syrups, but also offers the choice to experience an elaborate meal as a part of the ‘sugaring off’ ritual. It’s rather fun to head to one of the better sugar shacks like Érablière in Quebec to enjoy a day of fun with the family.
If you are planning your first visit, here are the things and activities that you cannot afford to miss.
- Maple-based desserts. From the classic sugar pie to pancakes and donuts, sugar shacks offer a bunch of desserts, which obviously remain the highlight of each meal. Since guests come in every single day, the menus is rotated, but expect to get a big spread and make sure you don’t stuff yourself with main course items.
- The classic Quebec food. The meal at a sugar shack will ideally start with a bowl of pea soup. Traditional food will follow soon, so you have everything from scrambled eggs, meat pies, baked potatoes, fresh bread and baked beans. The meat pie from Quebec is called tourtière, and pork rinds and fried pork are often included in the menu. If you are dining with the locals, don’t be surprised to find that many of them dip their main course in maple syrup!
- Eat as many maple taffies as you can. Maple taffy on the snow – That’s what every meal ends with. Liquid maple syrup is warmed and poured on fresh snow, and as it settles a bit, you can create popsicles with sticks and have immediately. Every sugar shack boasts of this tradition, and it is something that locals save appetite for.
- Go for the activities. Since sugar shacks are located away from the city, hiking and enjoying horse-pulled sledges are incredibly satisfying activities here. Most of the better shacks offer these activities for free, and make sure that you plan a visit to the farm, if there is an option that is.
- Take a tour of shack. You have to see the boiling room, where the golden syrup is made, and shacks usually arrange for a visit for free. For those who are not from Quebec, this can be really learning experience of sorts.
Sugar shacks are often booked for the entire spring, so plan your trip and get the bookings done in winter.