It is my duty to adore maple syrup. I say this as both a Canadian and a pancake enthusiast.
So when I visited La Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud, Québec, last year, I was smitten.
This rustic sugar shack (cabane a sucre) is legendary for the following reasons:
1. Old-time ambiance
2. Hearty traditional food
3. Flirty lumberjacks
4. The spoons / dancing
5. Wood fires
5. FANTASTIC syrup
Pierre Faucher here is the maple guru. To call him a “character’ is an understatement. I think the retro-lumberjack garb says it all.
When I met him, he took a swig of maple syrup from a bottle, then invited me to taste it. From his lips.
This is Pierre’s son, Stéfan, who was far more of a gentleman than his cheeky (yet loveable) dad. It’s a full-on family business, with Stéfan’s wife also contributing in the kitchen.
The Sucrerie de la Montange is a French-Canadian pioneer village populated by 200-year-old wooden barns and cabins that Pierre imported from nearby sites.
Although the site is open year-round, sugaring off season (when they make maple syrup) happens in MARCH and APRIL. They have 1,500 tapped sugar maples spread over 48 hectares.
GEEKY FACTOID: IT TAKES 40 LITRES OF MAPLE WATER TO MAKE 1 LITRE OF MAPLE SYRUP
One of the coolest things about The Sucrerie is that you can say overnight! You have your pick of four charming cabins, furnished with antiques like rocking chairs, snowshoes and working oil lamps.
No TV, Internet or phone service is available, so guests must think up more old-fashioned activities (starting a 12-child family would be rather authentic).
In the olden days, the sugaring-off period marked the end of one heck of a bleak season.
“You know the expression ‘cabin fever.’ These people were inside their houses all winter,” says Pierre.
Once they got out into the forest, working as a team to collect maple water and boil syrup, things livened up. They would feast, dance and celebrate. You’ll get a taste of that, too, at the Sucrerie.
Speaking of taste, you’re in for a treat. The lumberjack’s meal* consists of:
- pea soup
- meat pie
- baked beans
- egg soufflé
- bacon, ham, sausage
- pickles, beets, fruit ketchup
- sugar pie
* don’t forget, it’s all doused in a waterfall of gold syrup.
This leads me to conclude that the food must be amazing in hell.
La Sucrerie de la Montagne is located in Rigaud, Quebec, about 60 km from Montreal and 125 km from Ottawa.
Have you been to a sugar shack? If not, does this look appealing to you?