When I was a kid, visiting a sugar shack was a total ooey-gooey thrill. The maple syrup on snow and country setting were definitely the major draws but the bacon piled high, pea soup with giant chunks of ham and lots of other non-vegetarian friendly foods were not my fondest memories. A few years ago I learned about Cabane à Sucre Handfield, one of the few sugar shacks close to Montreal that offers both vegetarian and vegan menus. And now it has become one of our family’s annual spring traditions.
We visited this past weekend, just in time as the Cabane à Sucre officially closes for the season on April 29, 2018. About 50 minutes away from Montreal, this is the quintessential sugar shack experience (plaid shirts optional). Upon parking in the adjacent lot, you will be greeted by a big red tractor waiting to bring you down the wooded path to the Cabane. Once you’ve arrived the sweet smell of maple syrup will overwhelm your senses. While there aren’t tons of structured activities, the kids will love just being outside in nature; cozying up by the fire pit, taking a horse and buggy ride or running around the huge yard.
When the time comes for your meal, be sure to strip off a layer as the Cabane can get pretty hot with so many people, hot piping dishes and wood burning ovens. The accordion player clad in leather shorts can attest to that! The meal is served family style with everyone piling on to benches. Tables are set with homemade pickles, coleslaw, beets, cretons, pork rinds and fresh country bread. And no need to bring a high chair, the sugar shack has plenty that clip right on to the table so even the littlest guests will feel part of the festivities.
The main meal includes: pea soup, baked beans (both vegetarian), an omelet, boiled potatoes, smoked ham, sausages and meatballs with gravy. The vegetarian/vegan add-ons, all quite delicious, include lentil cretons, maple lacquered salmon and a tofu stew. It’s a ton of food, all served on giant platters to share but be sure to save room for dessert! We actually ask for the pancakes ahead of time so the kids can eat them as part of their meal. Other dessert items include mini sugar pies, pound cake drizzled with caramel sauce and donuts. And then there’s the highly-anticipated maple syrup on snow…
It’s a totally delicious, family-friendly way to celebrate spring’s arrival!
Cabane à Sucre Handfield
555, rue Richelieu
Weekend pricing: Adults, $29.50 Kids (4-12), $16, Kids (0-3), Free