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No. 27: Cabane à Sucre

No. 27: Cabane à Sucre


MARTIAN PICARD MADE an international name for himself with the comically gluttonous Québécois fare at his original Montreal restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon. But it was what he got up to here, at its rural satellite in St-Benoît de Mirabel, that made him a legend.

The place has become a go-to stop for visiting chefs—from Rob Gentile of Toronto to Massimi Bottura of Modena. It all began as a traditional cabane à sucre, with big shared dinners limited to the sugaring-off season. Maple syrup—and, specifically, the elixir that Picard taps himself from his local maple trees—is his favourite Quebec ingredient. If you’ve leafed through his Sugar Shack cookbook, you’ll know that he will apply it to just about anything he hopes to improve: foie gras, suckling pig, Paris-Brest pastries, tarte Tatin—even unclad women in bathtubs. Do not expect the latter to materialize here fresh from the pages of his book, but everything else, for sure.
Maple-glazed duckling, maybe a lobster omelette, a whole lot of foie gras and, to finish, many, many courses later, maybe a maple-seasoned millefeuille with maple cotton candy. The success of the springtime event—and its propensity for selling out months before the requisite thaw—has forced the addition of a matching dinner series that revolves around the fall harvest: namely Picard’s own pork and organic vegetables, and that other pivotal Quebec crop, apples. Spring or fall, the meal is long and the portions enormous. What you cannot finish and opt to leave behind will be fed to the Pied de Cochon pigs (the real ones). Recycling, à la PDC.

Wednesday to Sunday
5:00 PM until 12:00 AM

Photos by: André-Olivier Lyra

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