Spring in Quebec can only mean one thing-sugar shack season. Traditional “cabane à sucre” are not the most vegan friendly though. Meals are typically heavily meat based, thinnk, meat pie, deep fried pork jowls (woof), cretons (basically a pork spread with spices), etc…
Slim picking for things to eat, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. There have been a few times we’ve gone sugar shacking just to get the “tire sur la neige”, which is essentially boiled maple syrup poured over snow. If you haven’t been to Quebec yet during spring, this is pretty much your one reason to go!
E for effort?
Last year, Christopher and I went to a sugar shack that was offering a vegan menu (in addition to the “tradtitional” menu). I say traditional loosely because I hope that plant based sugar shacks will eventually be new norm 😉
We’d been vegetarian since 2010 and hadn’t really had the chance to fill our bellies at the sugar shack with anything other than…well…sugar…in many years. When you walk in, you see a well decorated barn, with string lights dangling across the ceiling, there was an accordion player, and people were dancing in the centre of the room.
It went downhill pretty quick from there though! I have a horrible memory for things that don’t serve me, all I recall from that experience was that we were served plain soft tofu as our main dish. I’m fairly certain it was just taken out of a tub and plopped on our plates, to be honest. It was underwhelming to say the least, and yet I was excited that at least someone was trying to offer vegan alternatives. They probably just needed to do a little bit more research to actually offer something palatable.
Fast forward to this weekend.
For a few weeks now, we’ve been seeing ads pop up for Vegan Canteen. We’ve been following Vegan Canteen for about two years. We met chef Sophia at a vegan pop up downtown Montreal, and I was immediately impressed by her craft. At the time, she was making some of the most unique fermented vegan cheeses I’d ever tasted. Flavours like smoked ancho cheddar, cedar blueberry chèvre, you get the idea?
The instagram post we kept seeing was advertising a fully vegan cabane a sucre experience. Heck yeah! Sign me right up! We reserved our date and time, and waited for what seemed like for ever for the day to come.
Direction cabane à sucre la Cantine Végane
The morning of, we hopped in our car, and headed up north towards the small town of Val David (it’s about mid way between Mont Saint-Sauveur and Mont-Tremblant). Within just over an hours drive, we landed at the newly established Vegan Canteen venue. (If you have extra time, you can make a whole day out of it, there’s some of the most pristine trails in the region just a few steps away- le petit train du nord).
We chose the later of the two reservations for the day because, we like to sleep in on weekends. I’m reading the book “the 5am club” right now, its a really great read, lots of good messages, all sounds great in theory, and yet all I do is hit snooze on the weekends. If you’ve got any best practices, please share them with me below!
Back to the Vegan Canteen. The room itself can hold approximately 30 people, and it’s by reservation only as of now (no walk ins) so that everyone can get the best experience! It’s a cozy little space, with enough room for chef Sophia to cook everything in house. I didn’t look at the menu before going, because I knew that I knew that if this was anywhere close to how she crafted her cheeses, we’d be in for a real treat. Once I was settled in my seat though, I did take a peep at the extensive menu that was on the table. I did well to wear an oversized shirt and the stretchiest of pants.
Let the feastivities begin!
Plate after plate, everything was delicious. I even overhead two people sitting next to us saying these we’re the best pancakes they’ve ever had! It didn’t hurt that the the service from the waitress (Cloves) was also impeccable.
Vegan or not, I have no doubt you’ll appreciate the craftsmanship behind the food chef Sophia serves. If you want to see what all the hype is about, there are still seatings available until the end of April!
Cabane à sucre Q&A
How far is it from Montreal?
– we live in the west island of Montreal, and for us, it was about an hour and ten minutes. PS: traffic heading back into the city can be heavy, especially Sunday afternoons. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to get back if you do have evening plans.
Is there maple syrup?
- there are bottles of real maple syrup on the tables. Cover whatever food you’d like to in it 😉 There was no tire sur la neige at this venue, but perhaps it’ll be in the plans for next year!
Is it an all you can eat?
– it’s not all you can eat, but trust me when I say it wont matter. There’s so much food!