15 Mar 2021
Délices, Érable & Cie has been a part of the Old Montreal landscape for nearly twenty years. “The Citadelle Co-op launched this concept in 1999. The goal was to expose people (specifically tourists) to maple-based products in as many forms as possible, and to share gourmet products with the whole world,” explains manager Mark McDonough, who you may have seen in the first episode of the web series Fabricants d’émotions.
The Concept Behind Délices, Érable & Cie
As the name would indicate, this shop offers a wide variety of quality, organic, and conventional products made from maple, but that’s not all they have. They also have items flavoured with harvested honey and cranberries. Délices, Érable & Cie is showcasing these three flagship products of Quebec’s food and agricultural industry to the public.
The unique concept of this boutique is halfway between a market and a café. Guests are invited to live a gourmet tasting experience in their dedicated space where you can sample certain products, making this the perfect place for foodies and fans of sweets. It is this aspect of discovery and education that Mark appreciates the most about his work. “I think that my true passion is giving people unique experiences. Since the beginning, what I’ve loved was the quality of our service, and the fact that we can give a tasting experience that shows our customers something new.” What better way to discover delicious products than to taste them before making your choice?
During “normal” times – that is to say, when there isn’t a worldwide pandemic restricting access to places – inside Délices, Érable & Cie., there is a lovely area called the “chill and chat” space where you can cozy up with a drink, be it hot or cold, like coffee, tea, or their milkshakes… or even one of their delicious cookies, fudges, sucres à la crème, chocolates, bonbons, or gelato… or why not one of each? Our favourite combo at the moment is a coffee and a homemade maple chip muffin! It’s our go-to order at the moment (for carry-out of course).
2016, A Big Year
In 2016, the boutique-bistro on Saint-Paul Street East was completely renovated to expand the tasting space that Mr. McDonough holds so dear, but also to grow the boutique portion where their different products are carefully classified into categories like “Essentials: your pantry’s must-haves”, “Fine Snacks: ready-to-eat”, or “Art of Cooking”; this makes it easier for customers to find their way to the sections that speak to them the most.
2016 was the year in which Délices, Érable & Cie got its makeover, as well as the year when the delightful Mark McDonough was promoted to manager.
Originally from America, Mark’s studies in geography and French culture gave him a yearning to discover the country, so he set off for France… for a decade! Then, North America called to him once more, and he returned along with his fiancé. And thanks to the French speaking community here, the couple decided to come settle down in Quebec. “Shortly after I arrived in 2011, I discovered Délices, Érable & Cie. And this was the beginning of a love story… which lasts to this very day!”
Discovering authentic maple syrup and its unique taste was a sugary sweet bolt of inspiration for Mark when he was working as assistant manager under Alain Bergeron. Aside from the fact that it coincided with his introduction to Quebec’s liquid gold, meeting Mr. Bergeron was significant for him in his personal development: “I cannot talk about my history with maple without talking about Alain Bergeron, an inspiring man who always encouraged me to go farther and who showed me the importance of listening to customers, colleagues, and collaborators. For Mr. Bergeron, respecting all members of the team is fundamental, and it still remains one of the business’ core values. The boutique’s success is directly linked to the values that he instilled in us.” On the subject of the Délices, Érable & Cie team, Mark Mcdonough proudly adds: “Our employees may be diverse in age and origin, but they are all passionate and hold the same desire to share and teach people about Quebec’s iconic products.
Maple-Flavoured Delights and Other Recipes
We can’t talk about Délices, Érables & Cie without asking Mark his pet favourites when it comes to Quebec’s particular terroir: “I like simple things.” That’s it? “Yes: bacon sprinkled with maple sugar and caramelized in the oven… It’s almost candied bacon. Bacon candy!” The recipe is simple, effective, and will probably star in our next Sunday brunch menu!
The "recipe" section of the Délices, Érable & Cie website is well stocked. Sweet and savoury, in a rage of meal types from entrées to desserts, using maple syrup, honey, or the oh-so-recognizable tart flavour of cranberries – you have a wide variety of choices!
Where did all these recipes come from? “Everywhere!” Mark tells us brightly. “We love collaborating with our chefs, but our ideas come from everywhere; the chefs, our employees, and even our customers! Creativity knows no limit!” So go take a look, you will surely find some inspiration for some of your next meals! We particularly love the ideas they have for quickly crafted… and devoured… entrées and appetizers, like the goat cheese crostini with Quebec honey or the layered mozzarina with a hint of maple.
Photos: Geneviève Giguère