Maple syrup is possibly Québec’s greatest treasure and renowned exportation (or is it tied with Céline Dion?!)
Each Maple sugar season will last somewhere between 6 to 8 weeks depending on the weather and location. Sourthern areas have a shorter 4 to 6 weeks season. On warmer years, the maple trees start “bleeding” as early as mid February and produce regular sap somewhere around the beginning of April. Hundreds of thousands of liters are transformed each year to become the sweet flavourful nectar we know as maple syrup.
The Province of Québec is the main producer worldwide with a vast majority of the overall production (between 70%-74% ). Over the years, the Quebecers have developed recipes to highlight this God worthy delicacy (alright, you’ve got me, I just loooove maple syrup). You may already know our poor man’s pudding or our sweet version of bake beans. No, we do not add maple syrup to everything, this is just an urban legend! But we do, however, like to make it part of our traditional meals
Some sugar houses/shacks are destined only for production. Others will welcome visitors and have “sugar parties” : which is a festive event where we gather to eat, dance and then eat some more. We celebrate our roots and traditions that are no longer part of our daily lives. In some of the best Sugar Shacks visitors will find a fiddler and an accordion player playing traditional tunes that entice us all to dance and perhaps join in by playing spoons. Each sugar shack has its own traditions: horse carriage ride through the forest, visiting the evaporation tanks etc. One activity remains the same though: maple taffy on snow. Trust me, it is not for sugar free diets! We boil the maple syrup a bit more so as to make it thicker and then lay thin layers of it on snow/ice. We then pick it up and roll it on a wooden stick and eat it while it’s warm. Disclaimer: your kids may ACTUALLY be able to fly after one or two of those!
The Manoir d’Auteuil is very lucky to have Johanie in its team as her parents own the L’Érable à son Meilleur maple factory. She was kind enough to introduce us to their “maple wines”. They also produce the traditional syrup, butter and candies. Their 5 varieties of maple alcohol include a white and a rosé as well as an aperitif (close to a port ). You can taste them at our bar and discover another side to our favourite sweet liquid. The tastes developing on your palate after a sip will definitely surprise you.
You can find a few sugar shacks less than 40 minutes away from our hotel. They will be happy to welcome you and have you experience your first Sugar party, bringing back memories from your childhood! Grab a wood stick and off you go to a sweet sugar rush!