It's not for vegetarians or diabetics, but the Cabane à sucre is an annual rite of spring for many Québecois. The sugar shack is where the sap from the maple trees gets boiled into liquid gold: maple syrup. A few weeks ago I used the other side of this panoramic sketchbook page for another epic meal — dim sum with the Montreal USkers — so I thought it would be appropriate to cover the verso with this feast.
Along with my students (and a few French students spending a semester with us) we arrived at Cabane à Sucre Oswald on one of the first sunny days of spring. In fact, the sap in the maple trees has just started flowing so our timing was perfect. In olden days the sap dripped into a bucket from a spigot inserted into the trunk of the tree. Now it's collected via a superhighway of plastic tubes that flows into even bigger plastic tubes that feeds the sap into big vats before it gets boiled. After a walk in the woods, we settled down at long tables and dish after dish of foods that either contain maple syrup or are meant to be doused in syrup began arriving. Ham, sausages, pork rinds, meatballs, baked beans, pea soup and omelettes to start, followed by sugar pie and crepes with syrup. And then if you haven't had enough sugar, hot syrup is poured on fresh snow and into this you insert and twirl a popsicle stick for your very own maple syrup lollipop. After this there's really only one thing left to do on the bus ride home: sleep off that sugar high.