One of our absolute favourite things about spring is maple season (how French Canadian of us, eh?). It’s the unique sweetness of maple syrup, the decadent food that is served in sugar shacks and (let’s face it) maple season signals the fact that spring is right around the corner (hallelujah!). This year, Melissa & Kristiana had the incredible opportunity to be among the first to indulge in the 3rd edition of Chef à l’Érable, with a menu created by none other than Laurent Godbout, the chef and owner of Montreal’s Chez L’Épicier.
The menu combined the traditions of the sugaring off season with unique flavour combinations that can only be described as a party in my tummy. The food was amazing, the atmosphere festive and the experience unique. If you decide to treat yourself to this incredible experience (and we highly recommend that you do), here are each Mel & Kris's top 5 favorite things from Chef à l'érable:
Melissa’s Top 5 Highlights:
1- While most of the action takes place on the table, take a moment to look up and admire the beautiful decor of the room. From twirling umbrellas on the ceiling, to giant spoons with (fake) maple syrup and an impressive moose head at the head of the room, the attention to detail that went into transforming Scena into a sugar shack retreat is delightful.
2- The Maple Syrup Won Ton Soup served during the first course may sound a little “they-put-that-s@*t-on-everything”, but was one of my favourite dishes. The dish seems simple enough, but it’s all in the presentation as the broth is poured over the won tons to create an appetizer that offers the perfect balance between savoury and sweet.
3- Smoked meat egg rolls. Yes, you heard that right! Quite simply, they are egg rolls filled with minced smoked meat (and every Montrealer’s delight). Served with a mustard dipping sauce, they are absolutely delicious.
4- Caramelized squash, labneh and quinoa. Something for the vegetarians! This dish was not only delicious, but it was also so beautiful. The combination of the squash with the coolness of the labneh and the intricacies of the herbs gave this dish the perfect balance of flavours that kept me wanting more.
5- A sugar shack experience isn’t complete without dessert. While the dessert course offers a few selections, my heart skipped a beat when I bit into the bombolone maple-yuzu. Essentially a doughnut topped with maple cream and a dollop of yuzu custard, it was warm, it was maple, it was the perfect way to punctuate this amazing experience.
Kristiana’s Top 5 Highlights:
1- I’m going to have to agree with Melissa on the décor here, because it was amazing! It was both rustic and colourful at the same time, and the bright umbrellas really got me in the mood for spring. Make sure you look up!
2 – Snacking on the maple glazed popcorn. The amazing setup includes a wall of hanging mason jars filled with salty sweet popcorn. If you’re feeling extra hungry (pace yourselves people), just go unscrew a job and enjoy!
3 – Amongst all of the maple-infused everything was a different treat: Mimosa deviled eggs! These were so creamy and light (I’m normally not a fan of deviled eggs), and of course the smoked sample topping was smoked on maple wood.
4 – Ah dessert, the best part of ANY meal. Am I right?!? My favourite of the many offerings was the “Crelaire” filled with maple prailine cream. Yum!
5 – Remember when I mentioned the decor? It comes into play with my final favourite (but I’m not going to give the secret away), which involves the classic maple taffy on snow...but instead of snow, it’s ice cream!
Want to check out this year’s edition of Chef a l’Erable for yourself? The seasonal Scena event is now open to the public, and they “perform” the service on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday Brunch now through April. Only a few weekends left, hurry and lock down your spot!
You can call 514-503-9802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP! ;)