Reproducing the atmosphere of the sugar shack at the cabin or at home

In collaboration with Samuel Joubert

Hurray, the days are getting longer, and the temperature is starting to rise! In the Joubert family, as in many households, the season of budding leaves means that it’s maple sugar time. A blissful moment for the young ... and the young at heart!

Here are some tips and basic elements to easily reproduce the atmosphere of the sugar shack wherever you happen to be.

Warning to foodies: loosen up your snow pants right away...

Samuel Joubert | © Sépaq


The essentials

Whether you want to indulge your sweet tooth at the cabin or at home, start by getting in the mood with a few accessories. Here, checkered tablecloths and plaid shirts are the order of the day, as is the campfire and those corny songs that go with it. Do you have fur hats hidden away in the clothes bin? It's time to take them out!


Crispy pork rinds

I LOVE to cook a great sugar shack meal at home with my kids. It's much simpler than you think! In my opinion, it all starts with crispy pork rinds, those proverbial French-Canadian oreilles de Christ (Christ’s ears). Today, they’re easily found at the grocery store. Just warm them for a few minutes in the oven or over the campfire… and Eureka! You’re all set to devour a lumber camp classic!

Maple ham

Another must-have: maple ham. You can buy a store-bought pre-smoked mechoui or wow the gallery with my simple recipe found in French right here.

Maple syrup beans

Am I forgetting something? Of course, the pork and beans! I have to admit, my French-language receipe is pretty wacky indeed. Easy to concoct with a slow cooker, my savory beans will fill your home with that legendary aroma. No slow cooker? No problem! The same recipe can be prepared in the oven: just preheat it to 350 °F and cook for about three hours.

But now you're going to ask me, "My goodness, Samuel, if you want to be really funky and eat outside, how do you keep the grub warm?" That's when I'll say, "What the hell, my friends: use your barbecue!" Well yes, I'm that crazy...


Another essential dish is pancakes. Ahhhhh, those famous pancakes... I love them so much, even for supper! For a finger lickin’ good batch that’s as easy as pie to produce, try my pancake batter right here in basic French.

The little extras

Feel like a change from the classic hot chocolate to warm up the kids after a great day of playing outside? Choose to bake these apple and maple bacon muffins and do yourself proud!

Fellow parents: I haven't forgotten you. You’ll be captivated by my pouding chômeur (unemployed person’s pudding) laced with Sortilège, that delicious Quebec liqueur combining whisky and maple syrup.

Directions: To be enjoyed by the fireplace once the children are in bed. Believe me, you won't be able to hold yourselves back...

Parc national du Bic
Parc national du Bic Mathieu Lachapelle | © Sépaq
Samuel Joubert | © Sépaq
Samuel Joubert | © Sépaq
Samuel Joubert | © Sépaq
Samuel Joubert | © Sépaq

The sweet superstar

The killer question: Is it easy to make maple taffy at home? Absolutely! Here's how to do it: pour one to two cans of maple syrup into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook in a froth for about 10 minutes or until the temperature reaches 115 °C (238 °F).

WARNING: The syrup will boil and swell up to great heights, which is why I recommend that you use a large saucepan.

The remove from heat and stir for a few minutes until the bubbles peter out.

For a better result, I strongly advise you use a candy thermometer because it’s quite painful — and not at all recommended — to check the temperature with your fingers. This instrument is sold in most big-box grocery stores for about $15.

Then, in a large Tupperware dish, drop a solid quantity of CLEAN SNOW, then squash it down it and even out the surface. With a metal spoon, pour a little bit taffy on the snow and distribute wooden sticks to the kids. Believe me, there's magic in the air! On the other hand, the magic dissipates a little when it comes time to clean up faces, coats, hair, and all the rest of the mess.

As you can see, making your own sugar shack meal is not rocket science. And it’s super sweet fun!

Enjoy your meal!


Quick tip! If you feel like taking a little time off from the kitchen, you can also encourage a nearby sugar shack and order a ready-made meal, made with love, here.

Samuel Joubert

About Samuel Joubert

With his heartfelt enthusiasm for food combined with an equally powerful passion for photography, Samuel's experience has been finely sculpted by several years of doing what he loves best. His wild and woolly, all over the map, urban style creates a festive and lively vibe , which he shares on his wacky website Le Coup de grâce. When he's not cooking, taking pictures, or feeding his newborn, Samuel travels the world to learn about new cultures and to document his findings through the lens of his camera. After visiting Cuba, Catalonia, Hawaii, and Iceland (twice), he’s now planning a trip to Sicily to discover the wonders of the epicurean centre of the world. His favourite color is blue; he hates spiders; and he really believes that Bill Murray should be cast in the next Ghostbusters movie.

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