Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sugar Shack! (aka super boring post ahead)

Today, I'll be having a Cabane à Sucre (sugar shack feast) for lunch. Traditionally, this feast is partaken in on a maple sugar farm outside the city. I've been to several which range from simple intimate affairs to all out Disney style parties with horse rides, shows, dancing and entertainment. Today's, however, is sponsored by one of the companies where I give English classes. I'll get to the foodstuffs in a moment.

The sugar shack is a feast celebrating the harvesting of sugar from the sugar maple, a tree that thrives in this region. In fact, Québec is by far the world's leading producer of maple syrup. (What's that about Vermont? Please, don't make me laugh.) This can only be done during specific climatic conditions that occur, give or take, about 3 weeks per year. (It must be below freezing at night, and above freezing during the day for the sap to run.) The longer these climatic conditions persist, the better the harvest will be for the year. Thousands of Québec families are able to make a living from maple syrup and the Cabane à Sucre feast offered on most maple farms.

Because the feast is traditional, you are likely to have the same meal no matter where you go. You'll have pea soup to start, then you'll have a plain omelet, beans, and ham. You will pour maple syrup on these things. You will eat pickled onions, cornichons and Christ's ears (fried pork rinds). For dessert, you'll have sugar pie and Nun's farts (kind of like a doughnut). As an aside, I'd like to report that I am not making up the name of the doughnut thing. And nobody finds the name funny here, as I do.

You'll be stuffed beyond belief because it is "all you can eat". Finally, when you get up to walk around ouside, you'll remember the traditional "Tire" where hot maple syrup is poured over the snow, and you twirl a popsicle stick in it to make your own maple syrup lollipop. You'll have thought you couldn't eat anymore, but you'll eat the lollipop anyway.

And by the way, maple syrup tastes good on nearly everything.

25 comments:

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Can I come, you're making me hungry for nun's farts!!!

I'm off to lunch soon to eat as much as I can but the sugary syrup feast sounds lush!

Snooze said...

I only went to one in Ontario on a school trip (and it didn't have the whole meal - just the tire), and remember if fondly. Bon appetit!

toobusyliving said...

Don't forget to bring some Insulin to take after the Sugar Pie...and unless I'm mistaken, the tradition also is supposed in involve sleeping with a coeur du bois.

Anonymous said...

Nun's farts have long been a non-laughable part of my family's dialogue, too. So it's not just a Quebec thing.

Enjoy the sugar shack. I'm jealous you get to have such a fine day eating all those sweets!

Jane

Rye said...

I'm heading off to a sugar shack this weekend - do you have any suggestions?

St. Dickeybird said...

Like Snooze, I did the school thing.
I guess Ontario schools were too cheap to give us anything but snow and popsicle sticks.

Jason said...

You were dead-on with all of that. I grew up in Montreal and have visited many of these Cabane a Sucre. You don't get more French Canadian than that. Real neat, and love the food.

_Psycho said...

You forgot to mention that you are SURE to feel bad for the rest of the day because you are too full, too overlaoded with sugar ;)

nongirlfriend said...

I love cornichons! But I don't think I'd like syrup poured on them.

Now CHEESE, well that's different.

toobusyliving said...

Maple Syrup does indeed taste good on everything, especially, I imagine, French Canadians!

t said...

The feast sounds unusual, but something I'd like to try.

Making maple syrup was fun and it sure tastes good! We used to do it as a kid. With the price of natural gas now, though, it would cost so much to boil down a zillion gallons of tree sap to make a quart of syrup that it takes all the fun out now.

Knottyboy said...

Guuuuuurrl I feel bloated just reading that post. Do I look bloated? Oh that's just my fat ass. My week long gym vay-kay-shun has taken its toll.
kb
Peas, beans and ham...holy merde!

Kevin said...

There was a Sugar Shack in a town not too far from where I grew up. Except this one had strippers, not maple syrup.

jjd said...

ahh, reminds me of upstate ny, where in the tiny town of marathon, ny we'd have the annual "maple festival" which was never complete without some good old fashioned maple syrup cotton candy.

GayProf said...

Sounds like fun! How does one, though, avoid sugar coma afterward?

Jenny said...

Nun's farts?? You'll have to post a pic of those.

Rebekah said...

I could deal with the syrup on everything but the omlette. ew.

Sounds like fun though.

Chunks said...

The French Immersion school here does a Cabane a Sucre here too every year. I have never been.

I believe that thousands of Quebec families can make a living from maple syrup, have you seen the price of it per bottle?! It's outrageously expensive out here! (So delicious though!!)

toobusyliving said...

Did you survive all that sugar?

Steven said...

The sacrilege and the sacrilegious.

Apparently, you can't have one without the other.

Can somebody pass me some Nun's farts, please?

anabel said...

I always wanted to try that maple syrup snow thing. Haven't yet.

Perplexio said...

Heck, even NY state produces more Maple Syrup than Vermont. But heck, Maple Syrup is all Vermont has... oh that and pretty scenery, quaintness and mountains... We've got to give the poor state a bone so to speak.

CoffeeDog said...

There's a reason why Canada has a Maple Leaf on their flag eh?

farmboyz said...

All the years we spent in Montreal were marked by our annual Easter Sunday visit to a Cabane-a-sucre out of the city, and yes, we ate it all, right down to that final twirl of the stick in the snow. You forgot to mention one thing: the Cabanes provide live music, usually in the form of a local amateur wedding band. Some of them were frighteningly bad but we loved them all. The USA has absolutely nothing like this.

Perplexio said...

famboyz: The USA has absolutely nothing like this.

Much to our detriment, and with my sincerest regrets, you are correct. The USA has nothing like that. :-(