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QUEBEC SUGAR SHACK
CABANE à SUCRE ARTHUR-RAYMOND HAS GREAT FOOD

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Looking for a sugarshack in the Quebec Laurentians with great food and maple syrup? Bring your appetite to Cabane à Sucre Arthur Raymond. The sucrerie restaurant is located in Piedmont, Quebec, about 45 minutes north of Montreal.

Cabane a Sucre Ouvert sign in Piedmont, Quebec
Cabane à Sucre Ouvert sign in Piedmont, Quebec
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Driving directions to Cabane à Sucre Arthur-Raymond

To drive to Piedmont from Montreal, follow Autoroute 15 north and take exit 58. Turn left on to Chemin du Moulin and right on Chemin Avila to the sugar shack at #430.

From Saint-Sauveur and the northern Laurentians, take exit 60 from Autoroute 15 south and turn left at the stop sign and left on Chemin Lac Millette to Route 364 East. Turn right on Chemin des Hirondelles, then turn left on Chemin Avila and follow it to Cabane à Sucre Arthur Raymond at #430.

Restaurant menu

Cabane à Sucre Arthur-Raymond seats 150 people. "Our family has operated the sugarshack since 1955," states Diane Raymond. "Family members maintain the trees, collect the sap and cook recipes with maple syrup and maple sugar for our guests."

"There are 25 employees in the kitchen, at peak times in March and April," she notes. It's not surprising, when you consider the sugar shack menu: pea soup, meatballs, baked beans, omelets, maple-smoked ham, potatoes, marinated vegetables, coleslaw, fresh bread and oreilles de krisse (delicious, curly, bacon-like strips made from pork cheeks).

Diane Raymond displays maple sugar candies
Diane Raymond displays maple sugar candies
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

This stick-to-the-ribs fare is certainly not for the calorie and cholesterol-conscious — especially when maple syrup is traditionally poured over each plate. Dessert, maple sugar pie and pancakes or crêpes, are topped with more maple syrup.

Homemade pickles

"We go through 3,200 kilos of oreilles de krisse a year, thousands of eggs and more than 150 maple sugar pies every week," claims Diane Raymond. "All of the recipes come from my mother — even the pickles.

Every August, we buy cucumbers and pack them with salt into big vats. In the spring, we wash off the salt, rinse them with water and put them in jars with vinegar. There are no additives like alum, which you find in commercial cucumbers."

Guests sit at long wooden tables, surrounded by walls adorned with a crucifix, moose antlers and old sugar molds. The sugar shack is licensed. Lively fiddle and accordion music triggers spontaneous dancing and the room fills with joie de vivre.

Sugar shack hours

Cabane à Sucre Arthur-Raymond is open daily from February 27 to April 24, 2016. Meals are served from 11 am to 8 pm on Monday through Saturday and from 10 am to 8 pm on Sunday.

Cabane a Sucre Arthur Raymond sign
Cabane à Sucre Arthur Raymond sign
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll
Visitors walk to Piedmont sugar shack
Visitors walk to Piedmont sugar shack
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Prices for the maple feast are: adults $18.50, children, ages 6-12 $10 and kids, ages 2-5 $7 on Monday to Thursday and Friday lunch. Meal prices are adults $22.50, children, ages 6-12 $12 and kids, ages 2-5 $7 on Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. All taxes are included.

Sugar bush

After dinner, guests waddle out back into the Laurentians sugar bush to see the evaporator and watch the sugaring off. "To make one liter of pure maple syrup, you need 40 to 60 liters of sap," explains Diane Raymond. "The sap enters the evaporator from the tubing attached to the sugar maple trees. My father was the first maple syrup producer in Quebec to use plastic tubing to collect the sap."

Families eat maple syrup-covered foods at long tables
Families eat maple syrup-covered foods at long tables
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Cabane à Sucre Arthur-Raymond has 7,000 maple trees on its property. (Quebec provides 92 per cent of Canadian maple products.)

"A maple tree has to be 40 years old before you can take sap from it," says Raymond. "Once producing, some trees can be tapped for up to 800 years. We've counted the rings in these trees to determine their age."

Making maple syrup

"My mother always said that I was the baby born in a maple syrup bucket," says Diane Raymond. When Laurette Raymond was expecting her baby, it was the peak of the maple syrup season. She started to have contractions while boiling the maple sap, but stayed until the syrup was finished.

Only after she doing the payroll for the employees, did she tell her husband, Arthur, to get the doctor. But the country roads were bumpy and the weather was bad, so the doctor didn't arrive until 15 minutes after baby Diane was born.

"My father used to be a butcher who went from door-to-door selling meat," explains Diane Raymond. "When I was very young, he bought a farm with lots of maple trees and a real sugarshack on it.

"The sucrerie shack was small — just big enough to boil the maple sap and hold one table for 10 people," she continues. "Cross-country skiers would stop by, and we'd serve them food. Soon, so many people were coming, that we had to enlarge it."

Tasting taffy on snow (tire sur la neige)
Tasting taffy on snow (tire sur la neige)
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll
Quebec maple syrup products
Quebec maple syrup products
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Maple sugar

The Raymonds use half of their maple syrup in the cabane à sucre. Diane and her family make the rest into maple fudge and maple candy. "We boil the syrup even further to make maple sugar," describes Diane. "If you stir it continuously to make it creamy, you get maple butter."

After dinner, guests are encouraged to sample tire sur la neige or taffy on snow. An employee pours amber strips of hot boiled syrup onto a snow-filled trough. You take a Popsicle stick and twirl it, winding up the taffy to make an addictive maple-flavored lollipop.

It's a sweet way to end your visit to a sugar shack in the Quebec Laurentians.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Cabane à Sucre Arthur-Raymond: www.cabanearthurraymond.com

More things to see and do in the Quebec Laurentians:

Tubing at Mont Avila Near Saint-Sauveur

Jean Paul Riopelle and Bistro à Champlain

Château Beauvallon Resort Mont-Tremblant Quebec