Ever wondered what does it take to get that one bottle of maple syrup? Making maple syrup requires effort and time, and it all starts with tapping the trees, so that the syrup can be extracted. The collected sap must be then boiled to get what we know as the ‘maple syrup’ or sirop d’érable. The whole process of making maple syrup happens at places called the sugar shacks. Since the late 1800s, sugar shacks have welcomed guests, and today, many of these are semi-commercial places, where you can have a gala time with your family and friends.
In case you didn’t know, around 80% of pure maple syrup comes from Canada, of which Quebec makes the most. It’s not surprising that Quebec has some of the best sugar shacks of the world. In the spring, you have the sugaring-off season that only gets better with traditional food and incredible desserts made of maple syrup.
What to expect at a sugar shack?
Most sugar shacks welcome guests only for the spring and few weeks after that, and it depends on the winter to some extent. Some even offer outdoor activities during your stay, while the food is usually homemade, with things like baked beans, baked potatoes, meat pie, fried pork, peas soup, fresh breads on the menu. This is a completely personalized menu in most shacks, and you can expect that to change every single day. You need to pay for the entry, and some shacks have amazing buffets in season.
Experience the maple taffy
Meals at a sugar shack end with what the locals call the ‘maple taffy’. It is more of a ritual, which involves pouring warm maple syrup on fresh snow in thin rows. As the syrup sets a bit, guests can use popsicle sticks to get their own popsicle of maple syrup. In fact, this is one of the ‘must-experience’ things for most visitors.
What else to enjoy?
Every sugar shack is different, so learn in advance as you can expect during your stay. The best ones also offer choices like hiking, visit to local farms, a tour of the boiling room where maple syrup is made, horse-pulled sleigh rides, and special games.
If you want to, you can confirm your stay at one of the shacks for spring well in advance. Some even offer banquet halls and outdoor places for special events. Check online now for more details.