First thing first, I must tell you that I’m really excited right now cause I just looked through Google to find the english translation of “Cabane à sucre” and I was amazed to realize the answer was “Sugar shack”. Sugar shack, isn’t that the cutest expression! I feel like I just want to repeat it again and again! But, well, I guess it’s the literature gal inside of me that is speaking right now… Let get back to why you’re here : food.
Now that I’m a Vegan, it got practically impossible for me to go in a regular sugar shack (sugar shack!!!). I guess I would only eat beets, potatoes, pickles and maple syrup (hum, maybe I could do that…) Plus, throughout the years, I had to make a reality check. When I was a kid, I enjoyed really much going to the sugar shack with my dear friend Vanessa and our parents. We were dancing like crazy on some pop and country music, eating loads of sugar and seing some horses. Could a kid ask for more? But the years went by and I finally discovered something tragic : sugar shack food isn’t good. Like no good at all. I’ve tried a lot of places and it was always the same : some not so savoury, over salty and over sugary meat products. My childhood memories lured me back years after years but I was always disappointed. Going Vegan, I thought I would never step foot in a sugar shack again and even if I knew the food isn’t good — those damn memories are strong — it still made me feel a little bit sad.
Well I wasn’t going to be sad a really long time cause I heard about a vegetarian (and mostly vegan) sugar shack in the Eastern Townships called La Pause Sylvestre. When I tried to make a reservation in March, the place was already booked for all 2014 sugar season. I learned that we had to call on Febuary first to make a reservation otherwise it was always full (write that in your calendar!) I put my name on the calling list but really thought I would have to wait for next year. Surprise! On April 21 (Easter monday) I got a call from Carole, the sugar shack owner, who told me they had four spots left for the very same evening! We took them right away, even thought the place is a two and a half hour drive from Montreal!
We didn’t regret it a bit! La Pause Sylvestre is by far the best sugar shack where I’ve been!
For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of a sugar shack, it is a cabin in the woods surrounded by maples where you traditionally eat meat pie, ham, baked beans, traditional omelette, pickled vegetables, bacon rinds and pancakes, all of them covered with maple syrup(!) Everything sits in the middle of the table and you can eat as much as you can. At La Pause Sylvestre, they replaced all the meaty stuff by some lovely vegan pies : one with millet that stands as the meat pie, one with silken tofu that reminds the taste of omelette and one with azuki beans and beets that is an all new delight! This Sugar Shack is really small and everything is made by the couple of owners (Carole and Mario) who really know how to set a welcoming atmosphere. The choucroute, pickles and beets even come from their own garden! The maple syrup, which they make the traditional way, from the heath of wood fire, is simple exquisite! Tradition wants that the sugar shack meal ends with taffy on snow and this one was the best I ever had. Even though we were all full, I could not stop eating those!
One thing that was really nice with La Pause Sylvestre is that even if we ate a (whole) lot, we didn’t feel as heavy as we did when we were going to traditional shacks, were everything is really fat and salty.
Now, let’s see a few pictures we took!
To make a reservation as La Pause Sylvestre, call 1-819-828-0049
Azuki beans and beet pie
Now, I promised you a simple Buckwheat pancake recipe to go with the sugar shack theme of the day. I don’t have any picture right now but I promise it will come soon. This is my go to recipe when I want to make buckwheat pancakes. It so easy it’s almost unbelievable. When we have almost no food left at home, we make some Buckwheat Pancakes and fill them with anything we can find! I took the original recipe on Association Manger Santé Website and realized right now (like, literally right now) that it was written by Dominique Dupuis, of whom I’ve already talked in a previous post.
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt (omit if you want to eat a sugary pancake)
Use a non stick pan (I repeat : use a non stick pan). Heat the pan to medium-high while your mixing the pancakes ingredients together. You can put them in a blender or put the dry ingredients in the bottom of a bowl, then put the water and mix them carefully with a spoon.
Drop some pancake mix on the pan (no oil needed) and leave it there until the sides are starting to lift by themselves. Turn the pancake with a spatula and leave it there for another 30 seconds before removing it from heath.
You can keep your pancakes on a plate in the oven (to the lowest temperature) until they are all ready.
Fill with whatever you want or simply top with some maple syrup and enjoy!