Smoked pork leg with sugared vegetables
A smoked pork leg (hoof still intact) perched atop a bed of sugared carrots and parsnips, dusted with chopped parsley and drizzled with maple syrup.
Meal locker pork
All of the Cabane à sucre's pork is sourced from Martin Picard's own pig sty, located just down a dirt road from the dining hall.
Before the meal, I took a quick kitchen tour, which included a good look at their meat locker, stuffed with a night's worth of fresh Cornish game hens.
A fishy start
A shallow stack of nutty buckwheat blinis, chopped herbs, sliced onions, and creme fraiche were heaped alongside sturgeon smoked in maple syrup, spread out like a deck of cards.
Pork rind salad
Pied de Cochon's Cabane à Sucre salad is studded with fatty treasures: cubes of sharp, aged cheddar, salt pork, toasted walnuts, and crunchy, light pork cracklins.
We've only just begun
Our server informed us that the meat pie, salad, and soup were just the "pre-pre appetizers." That was when I knew I was in trouble.
Maple syrup-spiked pork tortière
The tortière arrived on a piece of wax paper atop a log platter. And boy was it heavy, dense, and fragrant with maple syrup.
Cutting the pork tourtiere
The hefty tourtiere, containing both ground pork and braised pulled pork, also had strands of mushroom and shoestring potato woven throughout.
This is so heavy, many novice sugar-shack attendees assume it is the main course. At Martin Picard's sugar shack, they are woefully mistaken. Though a second helping may seem temping, pace yourself!
Soupe aux pois with salt pork and foie gras
A traditional French Canadian yellow pea soup was studded with cubes of salt pork and molten foie gras.
St. Simon oysters with seawater jelly
New Brunswick oysters, nestled in a bed of sea salt, arrived on a thick cross-section of a tree. We went crazy for the smooth-on-smooth texture of chilly oyster and the oceanic gelée.
Sitting on ice
Pied de Cochon's house shucker Curtis allowed me a peek of their jiggly, salty "seawater jelly," which he uses as a tiny topping for each oyster.
A thick, souffled-omelet—studded with lobster claws, scallions, potatoes poached in maple syrup, and globs of cooked pork fat—held a fully-intact lobster head. Though the lobster was sadly overcooked, the rest of this was a succulent, tender delight.
Salmon maki sushi with creton
Even the most healthful of Japanese cuisine (maki sushi) is compromised by Martin Picard, who added a luscious, creamy pork pate, or creton, to this salmon roll.
Trotting it out
A massive pig’s leg—coated with a black slick of fat resembling, perhaps disturbingly, a pool of motor oil—presided over a mound of parsley-dusted, sugared carrots and parsnips.
Rosy pork, half-smoked and half-barbecued into submission, was a perfect match to the smoky feve au lard, topped with cottage cheese and olive oil.
Roasted Cornish game hens
Hidden underneath a pair of perfectly roasted Cornish game hens were two surprises: seared potato gnocchi dusted with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tender pillows of foie gras doused in maple syrup.
Tarte Tatin with maple syrup glaze
An impeccable tarte tatin—sticky with brown sugar and maple syrup—was equal parts feather-light puff pastry and caramelized discs of apple.
Crêpes Grand-Mère with maple syrup glaze
Discs of dough deep-fried in duck fat that have been coated with a thick sheen of maple syrup.
Cotton candy-topped ice cream
Maple syrup invaded every aspect of this dish, from the vanilla ice cream studded with candied maple, to the lighter-than-air cotton candy that was infused with maple syrup.
Tire d'érable, a Quebec taffy made from boiled maple syrup poured on fresh snow, is a classic wintertime treat.