I LOVE maple syrup. It probably is one of my favourite flavour in the entire world – to say the least. Growing up, once a year our school would take us to La cabane à sucre (sugar shack) where we would be able to play in the snow around the shack, ask all the questions we had to the owners of the place, enjoy fresh toffee on the snow and (my favourite part) dip and taste the syrup directly in a big pot of syrup outside the shack. I keep such a great memory of those days.
When I moved to Ontario, going to La cabane à sucre slowly became something that “I used to do as a kid”- some sort of a nostalgic memory. Until about 4 years ago when I first went to Le Domaine de l’Ange-Gardien in Québec with some friends from University. What a magical place!
Even if I liked the place, it took me 4 winters to actually make plans with friends to go again for brunch. But last weekend, this is what we did: we all woke up early and headed out to Le Domaine to enjoy an insane quantity of sugar, food, and plenty of fresh air.
As you know, Jacob is anglophone so La cabane à sucre is not something that is familiar to him. I could tell he was intrigued, but I could also tell he didn’t know what to expect. Should he wear boots or is it too casual? A big coat? Is that a shack in the wood? So many questions.
We found Le Domaine very easily. From outside, it looks like a really big rustic cottage (that can accommodate I am sure at least 200 people). However, even if it’s huge, you have to make reservations for brunch – this is how popular the place is.
Everything is very unformal: you sit a long tables and everyone share big bowls of food that keep coming to your table from friendly staff. You get an all-you-can-eat type of brunch that starts with a traditional pea soup, followed by an avalanche of pancakes, sausages, beans, potatoes, ham, eggs… the menu is pretty large and everything has a little taste of maple in it – even the coffee! To make it super friendly, you also enjoy a musician playing some traditional songs so you can sign along or clap your hands while having breakfast. It’s awesome. Kids are dancing around, parents are laughing, friends are indulging in delicious food.
There is also a tubing area where you can spend the day sliding down the hill on big tubes, or you can enjoy a slay ride pulled by horses. It is the perfect getaway from the city. The air smells good and sweet and everyone is having a good time.
When we left early afternoon, Jacob told me in the car that he very much enjoyed his time at La cabane à sucre. So I added that we should make it a tradition to come every year, to which he smiled and agreed.
We came back home happy and full, and already thinking of how great next year would be.