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Everyone knows how hard it can be to get a seat at Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack. Reservations for the entire maple sugar season usually get sold out in less the 12 hours. When I heard that Montreal celebrity chef Martin Picard was going to open the doors of his Cabane à Sucre this Fall, it was too late: it was already fully booked.
Fortunately, thanks to some dear friends, I got a last-minute invitation to join them in this delightful food extravaganza. How could one say no to such a great opportunity?
So, last Saturday we headed to the North Shore and after a 45-minute drive to Saint-Benoît-de-Mirabel, we got to Au Pied de Cochon charming cabin. But this time, instead of featuring maple syrop, the new Martin Picard’s special seasonal menu is an ode to apples. Easy to understand when you see the shack surrounded by apples trees. The 12-course menu, including 4 different desserts, was $50 / person. All made with local ingredients produced by farms within a few kilometers.
The Fall feast began with some cured ham and headcheese served in a pig’s skull; Sheep’s Milk Cheese with honeycomb and foie gras; and the most delicious squash soup I’ve ever had. I can’t stop thinking about that soup. It was creamy, full of apple chunks, grated with gruyère cheese and topped with crunchy amaretti cookies. Absolutely fabulous!
Then came the cavatelli and liver-filled ravioli in an apple sauce with foie gras confit. Everything mixed in a huge Parmesan wheel right in front of us.
As main courses we had a glazed apple roast beef with oysters and carrots; eggplant crepes accompanied by hazelnut broccoli; newspaper-wrapped salmon baked with basil and apples and a rich cured snail & potatoes stew. My favorite dish was the beef with oysters, but overall, everything was really good. Except for the salmon, which I found a bit boring. Or maybe I was just too full at that point.
This pleasant food marathon wouldn’t be complete without some sweet treats. And we all know, there is always room for desserts!
First, came the classic apple pie followed by honey & apple soft serve ice cream topped with cotton candy in a cut out milk carton. Then, the apple and plum toffee pudding baked in a can and flooded with a decadent caramel sauce.
Last but not least, they served the apple soufflé with chocolate ganache, which some bloggers complained about it. I think I was lucky and they probably got it right this time, because it was delicious. Definitely the best dessert I had there.
It’s not surprising to see people leaving the place with take-away containers due to the amount of food. So don’t be shy to bring bring your Tupperware for leftovers.
As I said before, Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack is already fully booked for the 2012 Fall season. Reservations for the annual sugar shack open Dec. 1 for the Spring 2013.