A homemade version of a feast celebrating sugaring season (i.e. when maple sap is transformed into maple syrup).
Our “À Table“ series focuses on food, music and traditions from various places in the Francophone world, which is a fun way to connect with friends and practice our spoken French. “À Table” is the mealtime call to come to the dining table. We have been hosting friends for these meals around our own table, since 2018, and we share them here so that you can do the same. Bon Appétit!
Cabane à Sucre
When speaking to our friends about favorite food traditions back home in Montreal, cabane à sucre came up. It was nearing the end of winter, which was also an appropriate time to host such a meal, so we got to work making a plan.
They explained that cabane à sucre is a very typical springtime family outing in Quebec. The menu is typically more or less the same (egg, bacon, crepes, pancake, baked beans pudding and taffy) but the key is that everything is drowned in maple syrup. They joked, “It is always lot of food (usually in an all-you-can-eat style) and probably not very healthy, but it is very good and very fun!!”
We have captured all the essential elements for you here so that you can host your own cabane à sucre feast anytime. Thanks to Ricardo for so many clear and delicious recipes!
Our friends helped us compile this Spotify playlist of some classic songs they’d be hearing for a Cabane à Sucre meal in Quebec.
As the night went on, we also added some of their favorite fun songs/artists like some comical ones from Les Trois Accords. There is also the personal favorite of the night, “Aujourd’hui Ma Vie C’est d’la Marde,” which is a fun toe-tapping, folksy song sung with an exaggerated accent, and immediately calls to mind a rowdy bunch singing in unison at the end of a fun night. Our friends helped us decode the lyrics which are not only in French but also include a lot of Acadian/Québec French slang. It’s about a girl who’s boyfriend left her and she feels like crap (aka marde, which is a version of merde), as a result.
Menu for Cabane à Sucre at Home
Below is the menu we used for our Cabane à Sucre homemade feast. All unbolded items are homemade, and the recipes we used are provided by link except maple taffy (which is provided below)! For the rest, our friends brought treats back from their favorite cabane à sucre spot. This is their favorite place to celebrate cabane à sucre in Montreal, and they have a great shop chock full not only of syrup and syrup products, but a whole freezer of prepared foods prefect for cabane à sucre at home.
- Pain blanc ménage* – homemade white bread
- Cretons maison allégé – Quebecois pork paté
- Soupe aux pois – pea soup
- Fèves au lard au sirop d’érable
- Œufs brouillés – scrambled eggs
- Saucisse d’érables – maple breakfast sausages
- Pommes de terre bouillies – boiled red potatoes (cut into quarters)
- Tourtière avec ketchup de fruits – meat pie with sweet ketchup
- Pancakes Dodue – fluffy pancakes
- Pouding chômeur au sirop d’érable – maple pudding
- Tire d’érable – maple taffy
- Cornets d’érables – maple syrup cones
Everything was delicious, but we especially enjoyed the cretons, the tortière with ketchup de fruits, and the pouding chômeur. I’m hungry just typing those three names!
Homemade Maple Taffy
This dessert is equal parts fun and delicious. Condensed maple syrup carefully drizzled on snow and allowed to set just enough to wrap up onto a stick. We did not have snow, but ice crushed up well in a food processor was a fine stand in.
Below are the steps we followed, but the video is worth a million words, so just watch that instead!
They. had brought a container of the ready-made maple taffy, but you could also try this recipe from Ricardo, the same renowned chef that we used for the other cabane à sucre dishes above.
Bonus: Live Portraits
You are reading our version of a portrait; our multi-media depiction “painted” using a combination of food, music and narrative. They themselves pieces of art, and they often inspire additional pieces, like poems about cinnamon rolls, visuals for long-standing family jokes performed at an event, a collage self-portrait, and many more.
We now have one more to add to the list. Our friend, and frequent À Table series participant Sarah Mostow sketched and painted us that evening. We felt like royalty, and what special souvenirs came out! See more of Sarah’s paintings, drawings and books here, and read about her teaching here.