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The Best Maple Syrup Regions in Quebec —

Three sweet escapes in La Belle Province.

The maple syrup regions of Quebec produce an incredible 72 percent of the world’s supply, but there’s a lot more to Canada’s most famous ingredient than pancakes and family trips to the sugar bush. The terroir responsible for Quebec’s liquid gold traverses regions bursting with dramatic landscapes, historic towns and foodie-approved stops. We asked three maple ambassadors from Quebec to share their favourite spots in just a few of the regions that have helped put maple on the map.*
 
 
 

July 1, 2020

Montérégie

A vineyard in Montéregie, Quebec.
Clos Saragnat, Eastern Townships.   Photo: Virginie Gosselin

Home to 2.9 million maple taps, Montérégie encompasses 11,000 square kilometres of wineries, cider houses, apple orchards and maple syrup farms east and south of Montreal, making Quebec’s biggest city the perfect home base for a delicious day trip. Marc-André Royal, the owner and chef behind Le St-Urbain restaurant and La Bête à Pain bakeries in Montreal, says the best way to begin your journey is with a maple-flavoured French pastry.
 

Chef Marc-André Royal of Le St-Urbain restaurant.
A plate of oysters at Restaurant L'Imperial in Montéregie, Quebec.
Chef Marc-André Royal - Le St-Urbain, Montreal.   Photo: Maude Chauvin
Oysters at Restaurant L’Imperial, Granby.    Photo: Restaurant L’Impérial
  • Morning After fuelling up with one of La Bête’s maple-sugar brioche buns, set out on a road trip to the award-winning Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser in Noyan, an hour southeast of the city. There you can buy piles of regional products, including maple syrup and house-made cheeses. Save room for a lunch of local charcuterie, cheese and other delicacies at the famous La Rumeur Affamée in Sutton (the brownies alone are worth a stop).

  • Afternoon Work off your earlier indulgences with a hike in the scenic Parc National des Îles-de-Boucherville or Parc Régional St-Bernard (where you can try orienteering!). Just save time for a stop at a winery or cider house – Royal’s pick is Vignoble et Cidrerie Coteau Rougemont. “Make sure you leave with a bottle of Ambre du Québec!”

  • Evening Head to Granby to dine at Restaurant L’Impérial, where chef François Côté serves up classic French fare, like dauphine de crabe and confit de canard. If you’re lucky, the doughnuts Suzette with maple will be on offer that night. Make your way back to Montreal and spend the night at the hip Alt Hotel with a room overlooking the Old Port.
     
     
     

Mauricie

Two people in a canoe paddle away from the camera in a blue lake in Mauricie, Quebec.
Mauricie.   Photo: Ari Magnusson

Nestled halfway between Montreal and Quebec City, this Instagram-worthy region, which produces $4.2 million worth of maple syrup every year, isn’t known as La belle d’à côté (the girl next door) just because of its proximity to major centres. It’s also known for its lively festival scene, jaw-dropping natural beauty and historic spots, including the city of Trois-Rivières, which was founded in 1634.
 

Objects on the wall at the Musée-POP in Mauricie, Quebec.
Drinkers at Le Temp d'une Pint in Mauricie, Quebec.
Musée Pop in Trois-Rivières.   Photo: Musée POP
Drinkers at Le Temps d'une Pinte.    Photo: Sylvain Mayer
  • Morning Located on the picturesque shores of the St. Lawrence River, Trois-Rivières is loaded with bike trails, and local Nancy Samson, owner of Chocolaterie Samson, suggests starting your day by going for a ride. (Hardcore hiking and cycling enthusiasts can also head to the gorgeous Mauricie National Park nearby.) Reward yourself at Le Caféier with a Le Canadien coffee – you can’t go wrong with espresso, maple syrup and whipped cream. Save time to check out some of the eclectic shops nearby. “I have a crush on Maison Griffin Décor,” Samson says. “It’s a decor boutique as well as a café.”

  • Afternoon Order next-level gourmet sandwiches from Le Buck Traiteur before visiting the groovy Musée Pop, which is devoted to pop culture in Quebec. History buffs will need to take a tour of the adjoining Old Prison, a 19th-century jail that comes complete with a dungeon. Afterwards, Samson suggests sitting down to a beer at Le Temps d’une Pinte microbrewery or satisfying your sweet tooth with a Maple Leaf Mignardise from her chocolate shop.

  • Evening Head to Épi Buvette de Quartier, where you’ll dine on an always-changing menu of elevated bistro fare. If possible, end your night with a show at the massive riverside Amphithéâtre Cogeco before heading back to your room at the charming Hôtel Oui GO! in the heart of Trois-Rivières’ historic downtown.
     
     
     

Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie

A cottage on top of a rocky outcrop in Gaspesie with water in the foreground.
Gaspésie.   Photo: Maude Chauvin

These stunning maritime regions are Quebec’s seafaring face and are the province’s highest-producing maple syrup regions. Bas-Saint-Laurent, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, is the western gateway to the famed Gaspésie Tour, which loops around the Gaspé Peninsula (think historic lighthouses, charming coastal villages and gorgeous sunset views). It is one of Patrice Plante’s favourite regions – the co-owner of Bistro L’Atelier and Restaurant Ophelia in Quebec City visits every summer.
 

A flight of beer viewed from above at Le Naufrageur in Gaspésie.
Restaurant Chez Saint-Pierre in Gaspésie.
Le Naufrageur in Gaspésie.   Photo: Maude Chauvin
Restaurant Chez Saint-Pierre.    Photo: Maude Chauvin
  • Morning Plante recommends starting your day on the beach in Percé. Admire the famous Rocher Percé while nibbling on fresh bread paired with “impossibly delicious” cheese from Fromagerie des Basques. Next, visit the nearby “out of this world” La Société Secrète distillery, which is housed in an old Anglican church, for a little fortification. Plante also suggests kayaking on the Bonaventure River. “You will feel a sense of fulfillment and peace so rare, it’s impossible to describe,” he says.

  • Afternoon Make your way to the village of Carleton-sur-Mer to sample a refreshing maple saison beer at Le Naufrageur. The village is a veritable foodie paradise, with shops offering everything from wild mushrooms and lentils to teas infused with local hops. Shopping done, take in the sea with a stroll along the one-kilometre beachside boardwalk.

  • Evening Finish your day at Bic National Park, at one of the most famous tables in all of Quebec: Restaurant Chez Saint-Pierre, where, Plante says, chef Colombe St-Pierre will make one of the most memorable meals of your life, all from seasonal local products. Then roll back to your bed at Auberge du Mange Grenouille with its lush gardens and views of Bic’s harbour.
     

*As things continue to reopen across different regions, be sure to call ahead to check the status of your chosen destinations.
 
 

A hand holding a steaming mug of coffee.
   Photo: Clay Banks (Unsplash)

Five Ways to Enjoy Maple All Day

  1. Replace sugar in your morning coffee with a teaspoon or two.

  2. Mix syrup in plain yogurt at breakfast or add it to a cheese and charcuterie board for lunch.

  3. A fresh green salad pairs perfectly with a maple vinaigrette.

  4. Maple from Quebec ambassador Marc-André Royal recommends adding maple to marinades to sweeten your summer BBQ.

  5. Use maple as an earthy substitute for simple syrup in cocktails – Patrice Plante adds it to a classic gin gimlet, as well as an absinthe-based cocktail he calls Maple Beast.
     
     
     

Recipes courtesy of

Maple from Quebec ambassadors

Marc-André Royal’s Baby Back Ribs with Maple Syrup and Miso

 

 

  • 2 baby back ribs

  • ¾ cup maple syrup

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • ¼ tsp cayenne

  • 6 tbsp ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon miso
     

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  • Mix all ingredients together.

  • Brush the ribs with the marinade.

  • Put the ribs on a baking sheet or an ovenproof dish and add about 1 cm of water to the bottom (to create humidity in the oven).

  • Cover with aluminum foil.

  • Cook 2 hours at 325°F

  • Serve immediately.
     
     

Patrice Plante’s Summer Cocktails

 

 

Maple Beast

  • 1 oz of Courrailleuse (absinthe from Fils du Roy in Saint-Arsène, Bas-Saint-Laurent)

  • 0.5 oz of maple syrup

  • 1 oz of lime juice

  • 1 oz of cold water
     

Directions

  • Shake all the ingredients with ice.

  • Strain into a glass full of ice.

  • Garnish with a thin slice of fresh cucumber.
     
     

Maple Gimlet

  • 2 oz of Radoune Gin (gin made with forest mushrooms from O’Dwyer Distillery in Gaspé, Gaspésie)

  • 0.25 oz of maple syrup

  • 0.75 oz of lime juice
     

Directions

  • Shake all the ingredients with ice.

  • Fine strain into a chilled coupe.

  • Garnish with a lime wheel.

To learn more about Maple from Canada, visit their website at www.maplefromcanada.ca.

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