April is an exciting month. Compared to the bleakness of February and the dreariness of March, where slush and mud intermingle endlessly, April is a breath of fresh air for most Montrealers. In short, it’s time to shake off the winter blues and embrace sunshine and blue skies.

But before we strap on our sandals and head to the park, we have to reward ourselves for having endured yet another Montreal winter. As such, why not head out to the maple sugar shacks, quintessential emblems of Quebecois history, food, and culture. 

As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of the tastiest, most original, and delectable sugar shacks that combine taste and comfort. Spread the word and join friends and family at the table. Bon appétit!

10-Cabane à sucre Labranche. This cozy, family-run business has it all, offering visitors traditional, homemade offerings, not to mention sleigh rides and a petting zoo. Ideal for families, this sugar shack brings out the inner child in everyone! Situated at 565, rang Saint-Simon in Saint-Isidore-de-Laprairie, Cabane à sucre Labranche is not your simple tried and true version of sugar shacks, but also serves vegan and halal menus for those who shy away from pork products and fried foods. A number of alcoholic beverages are popular, including maple wine and fortified maple drinks. Check it out at www.labranche.ca.

9-Sucrerie de la Montagne. Truly authentic, rustic log cabins come at your beck and call! At Sucrerie de la Montagne, you can’t go wrong with the oven-baked pork and lamb or the maple-glazed chicken dishes. Of course, you have to try the maple-smoked ham, the farm-style omelette soufflé, the meat pie from the Beauce region, and pancakes drizzled with maple sugar. Hungry yet? Come to 300, chemin St-Georges, Rigaud, Quebec to satisfy your hunger. Check out sucreriedelamontagne.com for more information.

8-Érablière Charbonneau. At this establishment, history is given its proper due. Come over to revisit old times and to dine like the Quebecois used to. Sample pea soup, homemade ketchup, and maple-flavoured sausages. At 45, chemin du Sous-Bois in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, this maple sugar shack is a must for a simple but truly satisfying experience. Go to erablierecharbonneau.qc.ca for more details.

7-Cabane à sucre Erabilis. Mingle gastronomical satisfaction with taffy on snow! At Cabane à sucre Erabilis in Sherbrooke, the owners know how what they are talking about, having worked in the industry for 14 years. Only a few steps away from the Université de Sherbrooke, this maple sugar shack is ideal for students looking for a quick get-away. Come at 4666, chemin de North Hatley in Sherbrooke to enjoy wheat orzo with maple dressing, maple-flavoured sausages and eggs, and wash it down with fruit punch. Go to www.erabilis.com for more information.

6-Cabane du Pic Bois. Workers at this establishment are true maple-lovers. Situated in the beautiful village of Brigham, the maple sugar shack offers a traditional buffet-style meal including beets and pickles, maple sausages, ham, fried potatoes, and pancakes. Just be sure to bring your own wine and head to the boutique to buy gifts for family and friends. Check out cabanedupicbois.com and go to 1468, chemin Gaspé in Brigham.

5-Haut Bois Normand. 160 forested acres of land, rustic inn rooms, and lounge with a wood-burning stove. What else could you ask for? Haut Bois Normand is a great place for a weekend away with cozy, country-style furniture and a bar in a sugar factory. For children, there are zip-line courses! On weekends, lively music makes the meals all the more fun! Haut Bois Normand is situated at 426, chemin George-Bonnallie in Eastman. Check out hautboisnormand.ca for more information. 

4-Erablière au Sous Bois. This roomy yet classic sugar shack opens its doors for food enthusiasts who need to try smoked ham and sausages. Start the day off with a hearty meal and then hit the trails on the mountain or enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Come to 150, chemin du Sous-Bois in Mont-Saint-Grégoire for a great day.  (Nota bene: the donuts are really tasty!) Their website is cabaneasucre.com.

3-Cabane à sucre Au Pied De Cochon. Chef Martin Picard’s recipes are not only unique but also offer a new twist on original dishes we might easily get tired of. For instance, Picard often marries traditional Quebecois dishes with Moroccan or Japanese ones, finding interesting and unconventional parallels between various cuisines. For a more original and contemporary take on maple sugar shacks, go to 11382, Rang de la Fresnière in Mirabel. Check out https://aupieddecochon.ca/qc/info/experience-pdc for more information.

2-Le Chalet des Érables. Lumberjack grub, anyone? Hands up if you’re game! Take the kids on antique car rides, visit the farm, and go on horse-drawn sleighs. At 384, Monté Gagnon in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaintes, this establishment is famous for its hash browns, sugar pie, crispy pork rinds and sugar fudge pudding cake. Visit the website http://chaletdeserables.com/en/cabane-a-sucre/meal/ for additional details.

1-La Cabane à sucre Constantin. Come for a tasty meal, line-dancing and kids’ activities. There are more than 132 homemade products to choose from. Founded in 1941, this family-run business has attracted many visitors over the years, even hosting a couple weddings. There is a dance hall, a small farm, a puppet theatre, inflatable games, walking trails, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Come to 1054, boulevard Arthur-Sauvé in Saint-Eustache. Come visit the website https://constantin.ca/cabane-a-sucre/notre-cabane/ for more details.