The Gleaner
Agriculture

Brix 66’s new approach to sugaring season

This sugar season is going to be different than those we have experienced in the past. Even with the new government aid for sugar shacks, many places will be remaining closed this year, meaning that a maple leaf shaped hole will be left in the stomachs of much of the Valley’s population. However, even though several places will be closed, some will be providing takeout, and some will be providing a new kind of experience.

Brix 66 is one of the newer editions to the sugar shacks of the Valley. The owners have been a family that produces maple syrup since 1995, but they’ve only been open as a sugar shack for a few years. Their goal was to create a non-traditional, gourmet approach to the annual festivities. As stated on their website, they “provide (their) clientele with a unique sensorial and gustatory experience.”

This business, like many, was hit hard by the pandemic last year, as the lockdown began right at the start of their season and they lost practically all of their business: “It was a really hard year because we work through reservations and our entire year was booked solid until the end. When we had to close the doors on March 13 last year, we had to reimburse everyone. That really hurt us,” explains Sylvie Caza, one of the owners of Brix 66. For the 2021 season, she says, “We decided not to open the restaurant and dining hall this year. We only have our maple products and maple syrup production.”

 

Brix 66 will not be opening its dining room this sugar season, but still has lots of treats in store for customers looking for a unique take on maple syrup. PHOTO Brix 66

 

Because they focus on creating unique culinary experiences, the items they are selling this year may differ from what you are used to. “We have lots of different products and we like to create different things derived from maple,” Caza says. “We try to show people the diversity that you can make with maple syrup and not just the traditional stuff like maple butter, maple taffy and things like that.” This is a chance for people to get out of their comfort zones and try something new. “There are lots of ways to use it and we want to show people all of the opportunities,” she adds. Some of these products include Bootlegger Bread, Maple Fondue and their special “Olé!” sauce.

A big part of why sugar season is so important is how much it is valued in Quebec’s culture. “Sugar shacks are directly linked to family events,” Caza explains. “Families come out all together.” Sugar season is a time that can bring people together, regardless of age. It is truly a unique time of year: “It’s great to see, because there aren’t many events like this during the year that we can rely on for family time.”

 

PHOTO Brix 66

 

Caza reiterates the importance of shopping locally, and says, “It’s really easy to shop local these days.” Doing so supports the vendors in our community and protects the local economy. She also gives advice to other local businesses on how to self-advertise. “You absolutely have to have a Facebook page to show off your stuff. It’s a great resource to start promoting yourself. … Websites help too, but Facebook is more important for business owners.”

Brix 66’s season will look different than it has in the past, but that isn’t going to stop its owners from sharing their unique outlook on sugar season with their community. They offer a twist on traditional fare that is not found anywhere else. Hopefully, by next year they will be back to running a full dining hall, booked solid with reservations.

Brix 66, 3240 Erskine Rd., Hinchinbrooke, 450-601-1955.

 

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