dimanche 27 mars 2011

Sugarshack party

Every year we go to the sugar shack.  That is a firmly entrenched Québec tradition.  It goes back to the very beginning of the province when, in New France, the Fisrt Nations people taught the colonists about the virtues of maple trees.  Family and friends gather for a hearthy meal (well maybe not so good for the hearth because of the fat and much sugar, but once a year, so what?).  Some bring beer and wine, we do not nowadays because of the kids and tough new laws about drinking and driving.

You have here a good idea of the fare.

This is la Cabane de la Famille Éthier, we have been coming here every March since 1982.
The entrance to the maple bush whence the sap used for the syrup and other produce comes from, 39 litres of sap for one litre of syrup. Now tubes are inserted in the trees and gravity takes the sap to the boilers from about mid-March to the end of April depending on cold nights and warm days.

Ariane meets horsies under dad's wathchful eyes.

Sap is boiled in the vats behind the collectors and then the syrup is canned.  Four cans to a gallon 
(3.89 litres).

Mme Éthier cooks a mean omelette and it does not sag when cut.

No sugar party is complete without syrup on the snow and, below, grandma shows how it's eaten.  A bit sticky and very tricky with dental plates but we did not lose any.

We all hope to meet here again next year.  Until then watch the fat and sugar.