Ah, spring… The warmth of the sun on your face, the sound of babbling brooks, the smell of the earth, the first snowdrops poking through—it’s spring time In Québec, maple syrup season is all about sugar shacks.
Think sugar shacks are old fashioned? Think again. Sugar shacks are actually shaping—and being shaped by—some highly modern and urban trends. And you might be surprised at how many ways there are to riff on this theme!
Hello! My name is Suzanne Voisine. I am the Sales Manager, Associations, at Hôtel Château Laurier Québec. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of the maple sugar season theme for your next event in Québec City! And I’ve got a little surprise from the chef!
- LEVERAGING THE “URBAN SUGAR SHACK” THEME FOR YOUR EVENTS
Barnwood headboards and footboards, checkered napkins, pillows with deer antler motifs, bacon on every plate, a crockpot simmering away in the kitchen, and cold craft beer for evenings with friends. All of it brings us back to simpler times, to the comfort and warmth of our Québec traditions—but with a stylish touch of modern-day design and refinement. Taking advantage of this “urban sugar shack” trend could be a very compelling way to spice up a conference or an association event.
No matter what the season, the festive décor and ambiance of the sugar shack will liven up networking and friendly discussions. Whether you opt for one of Hôtel Château Laurier’s exquisite spaces or another site with breathtaking views, the Québec City region is brimming with magical locations that can recreate the enchanting ambiance of an urban sugar shack.
Looking for an “authentic” sugar shack? No problem. There are a number of traditional sugar shacks not too far from Hôtel Château Laurier Québec, including Relais des pins located in Ste-Famille on Île d’Orléans (24 km from the hotel), and La Cabane à Pierre (72 km from the hotel), to name just two.
- SPICE IT UP A NOTCH!
If you want to spice things up, there are lots of different ways to play with the traditional or urban “sugar shack” theme.
Break the ice
How about a little friendly competition? There’s no better way to break the ice and get the group to come together at the start of an event. In the winter, why not take “icebreaking” literally with an ice sculpting contest? Of course you’ll need to take the necessary precautions to keep your members safe during the activity. Just talk to Michel or Marc Lepire; they’re real professionals who can help supervise your budding sculptors. Plus you can even hold the competition in the inner courtyard at Hôtel Château Laurier Québec during all year round.
Kick up your heels
Another option is to spice things up with an evening of music and dancing. Not a fan of folk dancing? Then you clearly haven’t experienced the Painchaud family. They’re true artists with an uncanny knack for getting people’s heads bopping and toes tapping! I still remember a wonderful meal I had at the sugar shack. Everyone was enjoying the feast and having a ball. But when the Painchaud family started their show, the whole room went crazy. That’s what happens when you combine fiddle music, dancing, interactive activities, and delicious food!
- A TOUCH OF MAPLE AND A SURPRISE TREAT FROM CHEF MEESEN
Even if you’re not planning to use the urban sugar shack theme to liven up your event, a touch of maple is sometimes all it takes to add a bit of originality and Québec flavour to your cocktail, dessert, breakfasts, or coffee break.
After all this talk of maple syrup, I thought I’d share a recipe that really captures springtime in Québec. So I asked Chef Heinrich Meesen, from our George V catering service, to share one of his own maple-infused recipes. Originally from Switzerland, Chef Meesen tells me he grew up with this comforting dish that’s delicious and easy to make. Here’s his recipe for homemade “Bichermueslix,” which can be served as a dessert or a snack after a long springtime hike.
1 L milk
60 mL honey
300 g rolled oats
125 g plain yogurt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch salt
Maple syrup to taste
2 prunes, pitted
1 handful of raisins
1 dried fig
1 apple, grated
1 pear, grated
Garnish: Seasonal berries, grated coconut, and walnut pieces
In a saucepan, heat milk, honey, salt, and cinnamon (do not boil), and let cool.
Add dried fruits (if you want to get a head start, you can stop here, refrigerate, and finish the next day).
Add yogurt, grated pear and apple, and, last but not least, the maple syrup.
Garnish with seasonal berries, coconut, and walnuts.
Note: You can substitute the dried fruit in this recipe for your choice of other dried or fresh fruit.
MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE!
For me, staying healthy is about exercising every day. That’s why I have such a soft spot for this huge open-air fitness space located in our hotel back yard the renown Plains of Abraham.
For me and many other Quebecers, Battle Field Park is much more than just a key national historic site, it’s also an outstanding park that’s makes you want to get active. I love how lively the Plains of Abraham get at lunchtime, when visitors and locals alike come out to go jogging (like me), ride their bikes, go for a stroll, or walk the dog. What a privilege to be able to get some exercise in such a breathtaking environment!
My dream is to find a Tai-Chi group and join them in the park!
A LITTLE ABOUT SUZANNE…
Suzanne Voisine’s colleagues describe her as a creative, on-trend person who’s always available and full of energy. When she’s not tearing up the bike trail, walking, or jogging, you can find Suzanne at Hôtel Château Laurier Québec. She says she’s particularly proud to work at the hotel because it offers not only an outstanding product, but unparalleled customer service to boot.
Suzanne’s office at Hôtel Château Laurier Québec is in the heart of the action, just steps from the fortifications between Battlefields Park and Grande-Allée. So feel free to drop by and see her if you would like more information on the topics discussed in this newsletter or just to share your questions and comments. She loves to hear from you!
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