Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cabane à Sucre vs. the Sugar Shack

A Cabane à Sucre is basically a maple syrup factory. Here in Ontario it's called the Sugar Shack. It's where they take the sap from the trees and process it into maple syrup  It's a huge deal in this part of Canada but in Quebec and Ontario they're two very different animals.

In Quebec, going to the cabane is an event. You took the whole day off work or had a day long field trip from school.  You waited in line a bit for your seating time then were ushered into a huge banquet hall with long tables that often forced you to eat with strangers (who soon become friends) and after stuffing your guts full of food, incredibly, there was a daytime disco. I know how it sounds. There was a little lip service paid to the fact that maple syrup comes from trees by providing a short tour of the taps but really it was all about the feast. You got served by a waitress who took your order and the food was plentiful and delivered on china. Scrambled eggs, baked beans, pork rinds, bacon, ham, sausages and maple sugar pie all covered in syrup. My dad even used to put maple syrup in his milk. MmmmMMM!

In Ontario it's all about the outdoors. You got a tour through the boiling facility reading informational wall plaques then had a seemingly endless tramp through the forest looking at the operating taps... sometimes on a horse-drawn wagon. If you're lucky you'll get a little meal of room temperature pancakes on a plastic plate with half a styrofoam cup of apple cider juice. So different from my Quebec experience. At least you get the tire (maple taffy on snow) in both places. So even though there are several "sugar shacks" nearby, guess which province I will be forcing the family to drive to this Spring Break?


This chewy delight is pure maple sap on snow. Heaven on earth.

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