THE BLOG
03/26/2014 09:59 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Montreal Journal IV: Erabliere

2014-03-26-photo.jpg

In French an erabliere is a maple grove and most maple syrup in Quebec is harvested in the late winter to spring, when there are cold nights and warm days. The Festival Beauceron de l'erable, for example, occurs between March 2-29th this year. Canada produces 7 million gallons of maple syrup making it the largest supplier in the world and most of it comes from Quebec. The Erabliere au sous-bois is one of many "sugar shacks" in the flat farm country outside of Montreal, to which crowds flock to taste the fresh frozen syrup as it hardens in the snow. The tasting a sublime experience in which a stick is used to twirl the toffee. A horse drawn buggy ride through the grove is then followed by a big family style meal composed of down home dishes like yellow pea soup, pork rinds, ham, omelets and beignet (a French fritter that also resembles a donut). The French Canadian version of the hot dog is one of the specialities de la maison, but it might frighten some tourists since this angry red object is literally a hot dog to the extent that it resembles a dog's penis. Though Montreal is renowned for earthy specialties like poutine and smoked meat, it's still militantly French and the traveller can easily find the city to be a gastronomic short cut to France. But the sugar shacks epitomize a "cool" subculture (it's hip and cold all at once) that demonstrates how sui generis Quebec can be and how far its sensibility is from both the other provinces of Canada and France.

photo of Erabliere au sous-bois

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}