The sugar shack experience is a joyous tradition in Quebec, usually involving packing the whole family into the car and heading out of the city to spend the afternoon at one of the many rustic cabanes à sucre found throughout the countryside. The annual “sugaring off” season coincides with the winter thaw, usually starting in late February or March. With a hearty meal, traditional music, sleigh rides, treks through the woods, and plenty of maple syrup, here are some of the best sugar shacks within an hour’s drive of Montreal.
The sugar shack founded by the creators of the infamous Au Pied de Cochon restaurant in Montreal is probably the most in-demand foodie experience in the early spring. Come with a group and share the generous and incredibly rich portions of a series of courses. It’s always jam-packed with boisterous visitors, so be sure to book your spot months in advance. They’re also open during the fall harvest season, with an entirely different menu.
The Constantin sugar shack is another popular choice for families and groups of friends heading out of Montreal, with its delicious and decadent menu of traditional items such as pea soup, house marinades, omelettes, beans, and sausages drenched in syrup. There is also a range of other fun on-site activities, including a petting zoo/mini farm. It’s been operating since 1941 and also offers a variety of traditional maple products for sale.
Sugar shacks are not known for being vegetarian-friendly, usually serving up rich and meaty traditional dishes that don’t appeal to the most health-conscious among us. Cabane à Sucre Handfield happens to serve not only delicious traditional meals and maple syrup with a beautiful backdrop, but also vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. This place is the one to head to if you’ve got special dietary needs to consider among your friends and family.
Located about 35 minutes north of Montreal, Le Chalet des Érables offers a fun and dynamic sugar shack experience. Going beyond the hearty food and delicious taffy, visitors can also enjoy a little train ride, explore an old-fashioned fire truck, bounce on giant inflatable toys, drive miniature cars, take a pony ride, and visit the petting zoo. You can also watch the process of making maple syrup. Be sure to make your reservations in advance.
You’ll come across the Cabane à Sucre Bouvrette around 35 minutes north of Montreal, where it has been producing maple syrup for over 60 years. It’s a popular family destination and often a site for school field trips too. For kids, the main excitement might be the train ride that chugs through the surrounding forest. There’s also a petting zoo and regular live music events.
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