Cabane À Sucre Au Pied de Cochon – Sugar Season 2014

27 Mar

Spring is trying very hard to enter the fray here in Montreal but Winter isn’t giving up without a fight. The only real positive at this time of the year is the arrival of Sugar Shack season – that most wonderful period where fresh maple syrup is flowing and sugar shacks open up with their ham, quiche, omelettes, baked beans, sausage, bacon, etc… The most decadent of these experiences is the one catered by Chef Martin Picard and the rest of his team at La Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon up in St-Benoît de Mirabel. The popularity of this sugar shack continues to grow and it is harder and harder to actually get a reservation. I found myself at midnight on December 1st on my laptop submitting my reservation and hoping for the best. Thankfully, I am now 3 for 3 in reservations and I found myself on March 1st with a group of my friends ready to indulge in the gluttony that is Cabane PDC.

Once again this year, there was a variety of speciality cocktails available to start with. We had the maple Mojito made with an in-house soda and their maple Manhattan. Both were excellent although I preferred the Manhattan.

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Then the food started. The first dish was a terrine-like dish of salmon and avocado with what I believe to have been beets. A very unique preparation for a sugar shack and by far the lightest dish we have all night. I enjoyed the mix of the creamy avocado and the fresh salmon.

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The next dish was their maple syrup foie gras inside a hollowed loaf of bread and topped with pork rinds. The maple foie gras was simply delightful – simple in execution but huge flavour.

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There was also a omelette soufflé with some chorizo at the bottom and some deep fried potatoes on top. I am not a big omelette guy so this was probably the least successful dish for me however the components of the plate were well done. I was a particularly big fan of the deep fried goodness that was those little potatoes – I definitely could have had more of those! (Correction 1 of 3: Thanks to Foodie Date Night for noting that it was actually beef tripe at the bottom and croutons on the top – Guess I need a audio recorder to keep up with all the details when the plates come fast and furious!)

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Next up, a Sturgeon Quenelle with a mussel cream sauce. Now, I had never had a Quenelle – which, following a quick google search, is a mixture of creamed fish with a light egg binding – but this was a great first experience. It was awesome to see the use of seafood and fish on the menu which lord knows can be a bit meat heavy in a sugar shack context.

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The final first course dish (Yeah… this was only the first course so far!) was a ham smoked with hay served with duck fat fried corn cakes and maple syrup. Au Pied de Cochon continues to make pretty much the best ham I have ever had. Such nice smoky flavour without a hint of being dry – their success here makes me want to give a smoker and also completely re-think the way we cook ham in my family. There was also a side of sweet potatoes with maple marshmallow. A very American South inspired dish that worked beautifully well with the ham. The sweetness here was a nice contrast to the fatty ham.

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A quick break and then we were on to the second course. First up, squid ink pasta with blood pudding (Correction #2: also pig blood in the pasta itself). A dish which may push people away due to the whole blood thing but believe me, they were completely worth it. Great texture to the pasta and very eye catching due to the black color. Tossed together with the blood sausage and a sort of bolognese sauce, this made for a great meaty pasta dish.

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The other dish of this service was duck breast stuffed with its own innards and some swiss chard I believe (Correction #3: actually a mushroom duxelle with the innards). Flambéed at our table prior to serving, there was an added element of theatre here to go with the fact that this was a kick-ass bird. Great crispy skin and a perfect rare cooking temperature, this sugar shack knows how to cook a duck!

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Finally, after all that, came the desserts and there was quite the ensemble. A moka and maple mousse layer cake, maple frozen yogourt, some maple taffy and a banana cream pie with maple meringue. I hate coffee so the moka cake wasn’t a favorite but the maple sweetness cut the coffee taste down. The homemade yogourt had a great thick texture – nice and creamy. The maple taffy was perfect as one would expect from a sugar shack. The star here was the banana cream pie – wonderful rich but not nearly as sweet as you have dreaded. Thick cut bananas, creamy pudding and flaky pastry topped with a gluey maple meringue. Just exquisite and a dessert that I will definitely try to make now that I have the recipe from their TV show “Un Chef a la Cabane”.

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Once again, Cabane PDC hit it out of the park. Another evening visit to Saint-Benoit-de-Mirabel and another return ride to Montreal where I could have rolled home! To anyone who has never had the chance to visit, I urge you to find a way to get a reservation. I know that the thought of sitting by one’s computer around midnight to make a reservation isn’t very appealing but believe me, it is completely worth it.

Cheers!

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied du Cochon
11382 rang de la Fresnière
St-Benoit, Qc

Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

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One Response to “Cabane À Sucre Au Pied de Cochon – Sugar Season 2014”

  1. Linda April 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Wow!!! Looks divine!

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