You may not think, driving through towns like Asbestos and Dudswell, that you’re on your way to experience a picturesque French Canadian tradition, but you’d be wrong. Tucked off the country roads in the middle of the woods about an hour and a half from Montreal is La Pause Sylvestre, a vegetarian sugar shack.
The Quebec sugar shack season begins in February when the sap starts to run and ends in April. Traditionally, you head to a cabin for a maple-syrup soaked meal of pig’s ears, beans, and other comfort delicacies. I thought the magic of the shacks was reserved for meat eaters only, but thanks to La Pause Sylvestre, vegetarians (and vegans, too) can enjoy a day of shacking up.
The property is lined with towering maples, each one adorned with a tin pail. Twinkle lights are strung high up in the trees over the log cabin, decorated with snow shoes and warmed by a wood stove to a perfect toasty temperature. Outside the steamy windows, you can hear the wind blowing through the trees and a stream running through the forest. In between courses of black beans, millet pie, fresh bread and butter, beets, pickles, sauerkraut, and potatoes, you can tramp around the woods. Just make sure you’re back in time for dessert: crepes and sunflower-seed maple candy. All of the food is served on pottery that Carole and her partner make on-site.
La Pause Sylvestre begins taking reservations in January. You can reserve the entire shack (22 seats) and request a vegan menu, or go for their vegetarian meal. 1-819-828-0049