Maple season at Martin Picard’s Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon (PDC) makes the long winters bearable in Montreal. It begins at the perfect time, February, when Montrealers are f***ing fed up of winter. We absolutely love maple season at the PDC sugar shack, and we love introducing people to our favourite wintertime activity! For 63.50$, plus tax and service, the meal is a steal, there is just so much food. Cocktails and beer are extra, but the large shots are more than affordable and we were soon ordering a few rounds. This was our 7th visit at the sugar shack, so you know that we’re in love, you can read about our last maple season visit HERE.
We started our elaborate dinner with the foie gras cake – that’s right folks, we had a whole goddamn foie gras cake. Pistachio, with foie gras mousse, chicken liver mousse, apricot, maple butter, and Bavarian cream created pure decadence in our mouths. It was too sweet to not be considered a dessert but the foie gras mousse and its saltiness made it more of an appetizer. Honestly we have no idea what it was, but it was perfect with the accompanied toast. Diva #1 even brought some home to P’tit Frère, even though we were a table of ten, the cake was just too rich to eat it all.
Diva #1 and Sweet Pea were at the PDC sugar shack with the Vortex Survivors, sometimes those kids who live in Diva #1’s apartment leave her home to dally into the world. And this was one of those outings. It was nice bringing new people to Martin Picard’s cabane à sucre and introducing them to the culinary sensation that is PDC. Even Potato was in town from Alberta, so he came along with his much coveted little brother, Hot Potato. MmMmM!!! We wanted him for dessert *drool* ha!
When the omelette with potatoes arrived at the table, we were surprised because it was your typical sugar shake fare. But fret not, Martin Picard is far from typical, and soon our waiter was bringing over a pot of steaming hot béchamel cheese sauce that he poured over the fluffy omelette with potatoes. It was creamy and delicious, the potatoes were cooked in olive oil and there was a hint of what we believe were cretons. In Quebec cuisine, cretons are a traditional pork and onion spread, with plenty of spices, similar to rillettes.
This sugar shack visit was definitely all about creamy goodness, even the soup tasted like an elaborate béchamel. Over the years we’ve had a lot of soups at the PDC sugar shack but this year’s blue cheese and snail chowder with Paris mushrooms takes the cake (the foie gras cake)! Similar to the cheese sauce draped over the potatoes and omelette, the soup was rich and thick. We couldn’t help but think that the snail chowder was thick enough to be a sauce poured over pasta. It was absolute perfection, and it was served in a puff pastry dome that we cracked into with glee!
This visit to Martin Picard’s Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon was a touch more traditional than what we were used to from the culinary genius. PDC is far from traditional, we’ve had dumplings with sweet n’ sour soup, squid ink cannelloni stuffed with sturgeon, beef carpaccio sushi, and other unusual sugar shack fare. But we loved it all the same! At PDC, the traditional sugar shack pea soup was made thicker into a stew with plenty of thick slabs of smoky bacon dominating the flavour of the dish.
And then heaven on a plate arrived. Duck confit was stuffed with mushrooms and caramelized using maple, the fat was sweet, crispy and perfect. We wish that we weren’t too full to eat more, as it was one seriously delicious dish. We love duck and no one knows quite how to prepare duck like Martin Picard. It was prepared in what can only be called duck à l’orange, but this was no Julia Child recipe, this was 100% Martin Picard. Orange halves were grilled, sweet, and juicy, perfect for topping the duck, we were too full to move but we couldn’t say no. Little pockets of pastry dough were fried and held more duck meat and some innards, they were crispy and delightful. With candied orange slices adding a sweetness to each salty bite.
But then the salmon arrived and Diva #1 said no; sorry, the duck was just too good to stop eating it! The salmon that was cooked ever so lightly so the center was still a touch raw. Everyone loved it, well those who were not too fall to take a bite or two!. Of course Martin Picard considers this dish a salad of sorts, with plenty of leafy bright greens topping the salmon in the creamiest dressing that puts any Caesar salad dressing to shame. Diva #1 indulged in some “salad” – nothing healthy here, but couldn’t bring herself to try the salmon.
We had to save room for dessert, we warned the Vortex Survivors to pace themselves but they were overzealous and gluttonous, as all virgins to the PDC sugar shack usually are. We enjoyed our cocktails and thankfully we were given some breathing room before dessert. Diva #1’s favourite cocktail was the old fashioned with maple, but Sweet Pea loved the slush with melon, coconut, white rum and Cointreau, it was very refreshing.
The nun arrived at our table and we were excited to see what was underneath her habit. We even tried to steal her but no one had a large enough purse and the staff were eyeing us suspiciously because we kept caressing her inappropriately. The Vortex Survivors are less than normal people! Underneath her habit was a sugar pie with pets de sœurs which translates to nun farts! Oh Martin Picard – you’re so witty and marvelous. Pets de sœurs are the swirls of puff pastry on top of this sugar pie, they are covered with butter and brown sugar or maple, which are baked and normally eaten on their own. But at the PDC sugar shack they were used to top a sugar pie… of course!
As always, a soft serve ice cream is a part of the cabane à sucre experience at Au Pied de Cochon. This time the swirled soft serve was half maple and half banana. Words do not describe how much we absolutely adore their ice cream, we wish that we could have taken the leftovers home but it was already melting at the table. We topped our warm sugar pie with this ice cream and it blew our mind. The banana soft serve actually tastes like a banana split!
And then a gorgeous cake that looked like the base of a maple tree arrived, the details were extraordinary. It looked like you could tap into it to collect its glorious sap. Presentation was everything at this year’s Cabane à Sucre PDC even the maple taffy on the traditional popsicle sticks didn’t sit on snow but maple granita, just in case we hadn’t had enough maple and felt slighted 😉
We soon found out that the tap was fully functional, and the waiter arrived with pliers and unveiled our cake. Dark chocolate bark with plenty of nuts made up the tree trunk of the very edible tree. But the treat was the interior, a coffee chocolate mousse with maple mousse and hazelnuts made up a layered cake that was out of this world, but again, we were too full to really put a dent in it.
And if you hadn’t eaten enough, you psychos, for an additional cost you can even order a meat pie on the side with veal, pulled pork, a wheel of brie, a lobe of foie gras and more. Potato was interested but we were all slipping into a food coma and had to control him. Although Diva #1 silently wanted him to order the meat pie, but she wanted to appear somewhat thin and elegant haha!
Unfortunately you won’t be able to go to this year’s maple season if you don’t already have a reservation, all the reservations have been filled, so you’ll have to wait for next year. But don’t worry, apple season at Martin Picard’s Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon is just around the corner, if you want to get an idea of what’s in store, read about our last visit to PDC during apple season HERE. If you’re interested in making a reservation, you better be at your computers at midnight on April 1st, ready to log on and reserve because we assure you, they really do mean first come first serve.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
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