The first thing to do is to turn the house into a real sugar shack. Incorporate wooden accessories like coasters, centrepieces or even birch candle holders for a forest atmosphere. Add red plaid fabrics like throws, pillows or even curtains for a nod to the lumberjack style. Finally, wrap your chairs in burlap for a truly rustic look and warm up your floor with cozy fur rugs.
If you have an indoor portable fireplace, now is the time to light it. If you don’t have a fireplace, add a touch of warmth by placing white tea lights throughout your home. Scatter maple syrup treats in beautiful glass dishes throughout the house and you’re ready to start the festivities.
The sugar shack is all about carriage rides, walks in the woods and maple taffy by the fire. We wouldn’t suggest renting a horse, but you can certainly organize a tasting of maple taffy on snow from your deck or balcony one afternoon. (Ricardo explains how to proceed right here.) You could also take advantage of the weekend to rediscover your family’s traditional recipes for pouding chômeur and sugar squares during an afternoon of cooking.
With the kids, consider setting up craft activities that showcase the sugaring season. Break out the hot glue and wax crayons and have fun creating sculptures out of twigs, pinecones and leaves collected outdoors. The classic maple syrup tin can is another item to recycle in your crafts; a proud representative of our Quebec tradition, it can be converted into a pencil holder, a candle holder, or a plant container.
Lastly, there’s nothing more appropriate than a classic sugar shack meal to celebrate the maple season. Invite the whole family and friends—it’s time to get sweet! Required dress code: flannel shirts, thick wool socks, sheepskin toque and jeans that are on the looser side (let’s give ourselves a chance).
On the menu, all pork variations come together. Sliced ham, cretons, baked beans and more are paired with soft scrambled eggs topped with maple syrup. The feast can be paired with a delicious bottle of Beaujolais or Riesling. A light beer such as a lager or pilsner will also complement the meal nicely.
For the little ones and those who would rather not drink alcohol, we suggest you try carbonated maple water. You can find some ready-to-serve versions at your local grocery store, or you can buy maple water and carbonate it at home with your SodaStream machine. Many teas and herbal teas are also available on the market, so any excuse is good to enjoy maple products!
Happy sugaring season!
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