The one I went to had a barn with horses, pigs, chickens, peacocks and other animals that we were brought to see before entering the actual sugar shack. Naturally, it was a huge hit with all the kiddies. And though I couldn't speak any French, some of the locals who were on the tour were nice enough to help me with my photos (e.g. the lady kept coochy-ing the horse's nose in order for me to take a shot ;p).
From the barn, we rode on a horse-driven carriage to the sugar shack. Mind you, it was FREEEEZING outside. ><
This was the start of a SERIOUS calorie-rich meal. I think the whole point of the traditional sugar shack meal is really to put enough food into you to induce a food-coma. This is how the Canadians must survive their winter. Food-coma hibernation.
Amazingly enough, I met two Canadians (mother and son pair) who invited me to have lunch with them. They were incredibly friendly and probably typify the Quebecois warmth and friendliness that the locals talk about. :D All I did was turn to a guy (the son, though I didn't know at the time) next to me during the tour of the Maple Syrup shack which was, unfortunately, entirely in French, and ask him if he could explain a little of it to me in English. He and his mother very enthusiastically offered to explain everything to me over lunch and that was how I sat next to them. They were such a cute pair, really. The mother said she'd been to many many sugar shacks over the years but this one was the best she's been to! (Potential visitors, take note ;D) Reason being, it was small, cozy, traditional and the served good quality food, unlike some of the larger sugar shacks that served non-traditional cheap fare just to earn more money. I was glad to hear that!
And how cool is this? :P Soft-boiled egg eaten with maple syrup. In SG, we tend to eat it with soya sauce but look here. It's the exact opposite!! But then again, after hearing from the locals that there's no such thing as "too sweet" in the Canadians' vocabulary, this isn't that surprising.
Left: One of THREE Maple Syrup desserts that we were served. And that was after XXX number of courses already.
Right: The traditional way of toasting bread! :p And boy, do they like their bread charred. One guy left his bread on until both sides were almost black.
Maple Syrup pie. Seriously, I wanted to die from sugar overload. It was plain awesome.
The maple syrup taffy dessert that they're known for! :) It's poured out onto a bed of ice and very quickly/expertly rolled onto an ice cream stick on which it's cooled and becomes a taffy dessert. A few licks was enough for me.
This is how they collect the maple sap from the maple trees. They then pour all the sap into a huge vat in the sugar house where it's evaporated to form the concentrated maple syrup that we get commercially.
On the way back to the station by bus, I fell into a deep deep coma. I hate that feeling when you're absolutely hammered and know that it's inexorable and there's nothing you can do to fight off that feeling of utter sleepiness. And then I had to wake up to walk to the train. =.= UGh.