Exhausted Execs Are Revived With Quebec Sugar Shacks

sugar shacks, MontrealMontreal’s maple syrup supply overflows with ooey gooey wonder, so much so that the need to “off sugar” carved out a seasonal culinary sensation across the city.

There are around 200 sugar shacks scattered across the province of Quebec, offering everything from a five-course maple-centric menu to grab and go maple bites, including the piece de resistance, warm maple taffy on snow. Groups will have numerous ways to taste the goodness, including participating in the maple festival Cabane Panache et Bois Rond, a.k.a. an urban lumberjack party (some 80,000 lumberjacks in all) to celebrate sugar time in the city. Square dancing, woodcutting, axe throwing, and mastering the ancestral logging technique of pitsawing get the ball rolling. And, of course, groups will also want to sample goodies like salted maple caramel churros, a maple beverage (lumberjack-style), and maple sugar and almond tarts. In Old Port of Montreal, pop-up sugar shacks are sprouting up with live entertainment, music, and maple taffy on snow.

During a stay or meeting at the Auberge Handfield Country Inn in the Monteregie region’s Richelieu valley about a 40-minute drive from Montreal, 2,000 maple trees across 42 acres are tapped and turned into sugar tarts, sugar pancakes and maple taffy. Groups from 25 to 300 can participate in tastings and watch the maple sap as it is transformed into syrup using the same know-how of yesteryears. On-site meeting space can accommodate up to 450 attendees, offering a view for just about everyone—meadows, horses, gardens and rivers—and 25 guest rooms.