Quebecers are all too familiar with the season ahead. Sugar shacks and other maple treats are probably the highlight of the culinary year.
Among those specialty snacks are traditional items such as pork rinds and maple baked beans sweetened with animal fat, which are without a doubt definitely some fan favourites. This year will be quite a bit different though, as the menu at almost a dozen sugar shacks across the province will now be offering vegan and vegetarian meal options for the maple-syrup lovers that aren't too keen on eating meat.
TL;DR Traditional sugar shacks across Quebec have made the switch to a more inclusive meat-free menu. At almost a dozen sugar shacks across the province you can now enjoy common maple syrup-covered meals without the addition of meat. More details below.
This time of year calls for absolute madness at any given sugar shack, with not only Quebecers making the trip for their maple fix, but tourists as well. In one cabane à sucre that has decided to become more inclusive this year with their meat-free options, the numbers have looked pretty promising so far.
Sucrerie du Domaine, located north of Montreal, began their 2019 season with the inclusion of both their regular menu items and the addition of a vegan menu. As of now, the owners say the season is looking very good.
Vegan menu items at Sucrerie du Domaine include the typical meals you can get at a sugar shack, except they're meat free.
For example, herbivores can enjoy maple baked beans minus the lard as well as pork rinds minus the pork, not to mention meatless meat pie (confusing, I know).
Surprisingly, the menu change was the result of meat-eaters who wanted to bring more vegan friends along to the traditional sugar shacks. Ever since the change to a more meatless menu, the owner of Sucrerie du Domaine says adapting to a vegan market was just the next step.
Business is also booming for Handfield sugar shack in the Monteregie region. Since bringing a meatless menu on board, the owner says he's seen up to a 40% increase in customers this season, according to CTV.
The owner even goes as far as to dare anyone to tell the difference in their baked beans, which are lard-free and vegan-friendly. Needless to say, vegan or not, you'll have to make a trip to one of these "vegan sugar shacks" before the season is over.
As vegan meal options become more popular across the country, there's no doubt that in the years to come even more traditional sugar shacks will update their menus to accommodate those on a meat-free diet.