Bienvenue Martin!

What a treat as we welcomed Chef Martin Picard to our shop to celebrate the release of his beautiful new book, Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack. To say that Martin's genuine warmth and enthusiasm for all things maple syrup was infectious is an understatement - and there is nothing understated about Martin Picard.

Joining us to help recreate our own little cabane à sucre atmosphere was Patrick Demers of the Maple's Sugar Shack. Patrick is a well know face at many markets around town. Guests were able to take home some treats of their own from his selection of maple syrups, maple butter, maple sugar products and sugar cones, along with a taffy on a stick. Thank you Patrick for bringing a little flavour of the woods to 2nd Avenue.

In his introduction, Martin cautions that readers may feel a momentary feeling of giddiness when diving into his whirlwind of a book. His ideas, he confesses, were thrown together helter-skelter with his unrepentantly disorganized approach to things. Indeed, where else besides a Martin Picard book would one fine an over the top creation such as Maple Pig's Head and lobster preceded by a straightforward technique for Smoked Sturgeon. And in response to any dismay of his inclusion of a recipe (along with butchery instructions) for beaver, Martin claims no disrespect for beaver or any of the other animals he hunts and cooks. His intention is not to shock rather serve and celebrate food that is available in Canada and tastes good. And, naturally there was some fun discussion on both the practicalities and benefits of taking a bath in maple syrup.

For this evening's refreshment, Mojito's were a lively concoction of Flor de Cana Extra Dry (aged 4 years) (available at Legacy Liquor store) White Rum, lime juice, maple syrup, fresh mint leaves with a dash of club soda.

A round of applause to Chef Lawren Moneta who recreated Martin's Vinily Sandwich - pork belly braised in stout and maple syrup tucked into 2 pancakes fried in duck fat. A cucumber garnish added a cool touch while a layer of goat cheese spread gave it the over-the-top Picard touch. For a sweet finish, Chef Lawren served Martin's favourite desssert from Sugar Shack - 2 types of eclairs, one with a delicate maple pastry cream and another with a maple whipped cream centre and maple butter topping.

Merci Martin for bringing your sugar shack to us in Vancouver and sharing your story and passion with us. Visit our flicker page to see more photos of our Sugar Shack event with Chef Martin Picard.