Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon

Gluttony to the max. That’s what happened at Martin Picard’s (@CabanePDC) sugar shack a couple of months ago and I’m still dreaming and drooling whenever I think about that meal. A few of my friends are gonna be eating there this evening! I hope they're mentally prepared for the feast....they won't be eating breakfast tomorrow. I think you’ll see from the photos in this post that a meal here needs to be on your bucket list.

11382 Rand de la fresnière
Mirabel, QC

Reservations: ONLY on their website (Maple syrup season: Dec 1st, Apple season: Apri 1st)
Transit: 45-min drive from the heart of Montreal
Hours: Thur – Fri (2 services starting at: 5:30-6pm and 8-8:30pm), Sat – Sun (4 services starting at: 11-11:30am, 1:30-2pm, 5:30-6pm and 8-8:30pm)

Sugar shacks are a distinct to eastern Canada, specifically Québec. The magical cabins where maple sap is turned into maple syrup, they’re now synonymous with great communal meals. Classic dishes you can expect: baked beans, ham, sausages, eggs, pancakes, tourtière (meat pie) etc... Go in knowing that you’ll have to roll yourself out. Or better yet, lie down on the bench and take a nap. 

Armed with just my phone, (the DSLR camera stayed back at the apartment; think about it, long communal table seating 10, me trying to snap photos, maple syrup everywhere. Not the best idea.) I was both scared and eager to conquer my first sugar shack feast. The fact that we’re at the infamous one owned by Martin Picard is what raises the stakes. How do you prepare to eat more heavy food than you’ve ever eaten in an entire day in one meal? How do you keep going after hitting the wall? I was about to find out. 

Oh, let's rewind. Before getting to sit down, you gotta snag the reservations first. When the site opens on the first of December for the maple season, the PDC inbox is flooded with hundreds if not thousands of emails within hours. You gotta be poised at your laptop, ready for the stroke of midnight to hit “send”. Or perhaps be super lucky like myself and be invited by a friend who has reservations—it’s because she remembered how googly-eyed I get when it comes to food. 

I had no clue Cabane à sucre did brunch (same menu each season, regardless of seating) but they do and that’s what we were in for! Enough talk, more eating you say?! Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Here’s how the feast went down:
The Aussie who left the summer of Australia to spend it here. What a brave man. Makes the smoked ducks even better. :D

**Wait! One last tidbit of information. It only costs $62pp! ($20 for kids under 12 eat, and for 3 and under, wait for it, free).

Dish #1: Sushi terrine – salmon tartare, avocado, beet purée(?)

Superfluous gold flakes?! Yeah, bad boy Chef Martin Picard went there.

Dish #2: Maple Foie gras bread pie – pork rinds, maple scrambled eggs, maple baked beans
**UPDATE: A friend of mine enlightened me about just how awesome and unique this dish is. It's the first of its kind! Ducks were fed maple syrup before donating their fatty foies for our appreciation and enjoyment. So it's actually "MAPLE foie gras"!

(BONUS! There’s the option of adding the Cabane Tourtière ($70)—a meat pie on steroids because of the foie gras addition and the fact that it’s huge—so of course we went for it) Oh man it's so beautiful! Purposely shaped like an oyster? You know...those cartoon drawings with the scalloped shell.

Dish #3: Omelette soufflé – garlic potatoes, chorizo, tripe

Dish #4: Mussels Sturgeon dumplings

Dish #5: Squid ink pasta – blood sausage

Dish #6: Ham – sweet potato & maple marshmallow, deep fried dumplings
(Not sure why I don't have a photo of the dumplings but they were so good! Soaked in maple syrup, naturally).

Dish #7: Smoked Duck – stuffed with duck innards and flambéed w/ brandy
**UPDATE: video is now embedded. Yay!! :D

Dish #8: Mokabane – mocha maple cream mousse on a cookie crust

Check out them layers!

Dish #9: Maple frozen yogurt – maple candy
Why did they expect us to split this five ways? Sure we're wrapping up a feast but the dessert stomach is real. And it was ready to devour ALL the desserts. :D 

Dish #10: Banana cream pie

Dish #11: Tire d’érable 

While the dishes are grounded in tradition, Chef Picard manages to turn something commonplace like bread into the most food coma-inducing lead in into a meal that you’ll ever had. Who makes a bread pie and stuffs it with plump lobes of foie then drowns it in maple syrup?! So good.  You’re barely a dish into the meal and you already feel happy and satisfied. And though you’re bursting at the seams, you just want more. 
There's a reason why his cookbook, Cabane à Sucre won the Best Cookbook Award in the world in 2012.

I’m not sure why it took better almost halfway through the meal to discover the jugs of maple syrup on our table but had I known about them earlier, I’d become diabetic by the end of the meal because we doused drizzled it on everything! 

Words, well my words at least aren’t eloquent enough to convey to you how mindblowingly good this meal was. Also, Chef / Godfather of Québec cuisine Normand Laprise was there!! In a private room with his family and friends of course, but still. He was there! 

I brought back some amazing olive oil that's specially produced for Au Pied de Cochon and a jar of maple butter which I'm not sure what it'll used for but when in doubt, pancakes, cookies and by the spoonful.

Verdict: Martin Picard is insane. This meal was epic! He has created something unreproducible, and his sugar shack stands alone in all possible senses—from the giant smoker that welcomes you as you pull into the parking lot, to the buzz in the air as everyone speculates about what dishes lie ahead, to, of course, the food itself. It's truly a meal of another level.

5 out of 5 NOMs
Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon


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