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La Cabane d’à Côté: Au Pied de Cochon’s dynamic project

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The Cabane d’à Côté opened its doors in February 2018 in the Mirabel region. Here, they offer an exceptional country dining experience, with their simple yet beautifully executed classic Quebec cuisine.

“We always used to say ‘la maison d’à côté’, ‘la cabane d’à côté’. The name just stuck,” says Vincent Dion Lavallée, co-owner of the project. Martin Picard and Marc Beaudin (Au Pied de Cochon, Cabane Au Pied de Cochon) are also co-owners of the Cabane d’à Côté.

“We had the opportunity to buy the land next door to the cabin, to have more maple trees and an orchard. When we explored the land, we saw how beautiful the spot was, and we decided to put up another cabin, but one that would be totally different,” Vincent continues.

The intention here was to create a project where the land would be the main focus, and which would still be linked to Au Pied de Cochon. “We were looking for a slow pace, we went on a trip,” he says.

In the beginning…

The Cabane d’à Côté is essentially like a beautiful, tasteful cottage. Upon entering, you immediately arrive in the kitchen, where an imposing evaporator sits. “We wanted to keep it classic; almost all the cooking is done with a wood-fired evaporator or on a Bélanger wood oven. It’s not on the fire, but practically,” explains Vincent.

The nearby 38-seat dining room (currently closed) offers four revamped picnic tables. The team, along with their family and friends, did all the decor. The whole place is charmingly pastoral, cozy, and friendly. The Cabane d’à Côté was an instant success. We enjoyed a surprisingly simple menu, in a welcoming setting, surrounded by breathtaking nature.

Evolving with the seasons and challenges

To our dismay, the pandemic closed the dining rooms and things changed for many restaurateurs. “The pandemic has made us more than restaurateurs. We’ve learned to survive by doing lots of little projects,” says the co-owner. But Au Pied de Cochon has always been full of ramifications: shows, spirits, cider, picnics…”

Ecological resilience refers to the ability of a living system to recover or maintain a state of harmony after a phase of instability due to an upheaval. Au Pied de Cochon is a whole living system. Everyone wears many hats, projects are constantly evolving, and the word “impossible” does not exist in their vocabulary. Through their creativity and determination, the team at La Cabane d’à Côté has been able to rebuild itself after this disruption and has certainly inspired many.

A picnic like no other

It was during this phase of instability that the idea of the picnics was born. The response was so good that they continue to push the concept even after the dining rooms reopened. Reservations open on May 1 for the year. The concept is brilliant: the reservation is for a given week (Thursday to Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00) instead of a specific day. You are free to come on any day of the week you want, and you don’t need to tell anyone! Picnics are available from late May to mid-September.

“We only cook what is available. What’s most exciting about where we are is that you can take everything: nature is our pantry, it’s sick”, enthuses Vincent Dion Lavallée.

The baskets are filled with beautiful local products and the menu changes monthly. The aim is to offer really simple things, but very well done—simplicity being always more difficult to master. Today, Philippe Picard-Labelle leads the team in the kitchen. Philippe grew up with the Pied de Cochon team. He definitely has the Picard gene; he’s a passionate man who’s not faint-hearted.

The big tent

Although the dining room service has not yet resumed (but will certainly resume in 2023 – stay tuned), the team has found a way to continue to offer their signature Pied de Cochon service. On the edge of the orchard stands a beautiful tent, accommodating groups of a dozen people. One table per day enjoys a service of about 15 dishes, spread over a period of 4 to 6 hours. Similar to the experience of the kitchen table at the Pied de Cochon sugar shack, here you are completely immersed in the surrounding nature. With table service, an outdoor kitchen and a team dedicated to the group, it is a very special experience. Reservations can be made by e-mail ([email protected]).

Au Pied de Cochon cidrerie

Since 2018, Vincent Dion Lavallée and his team have been interested in cider production. After all, they bought an orchard! At first, the project was sidelined, today it is a year-round project. The range of products that are now produced here is impressive; we’re talking about a dozen varieties!

When you arrive at the Cabane d’à Côté to enjoy your picnic, you will be greeted at a lovely outdoor bar. You can order wine (the menu is the work of the talented Alexandre Meilleure), pink lemonade, cocktails, and of course, cider! Cider being the perfect compromise between wine and beer.

Just a few steps from the cider house, sitting under the shade of an apple tree, is there really anything you would prefer to drink?

La Cabane d’à Côté is definitely one of the best addresses in the Laurentians. We will always be surprised by the thoughtful touches dotted around the grounds, and the creativity and resilience of this team.

We look forward to their new projects and the potential reopening of their magnificent dining room.


Photography by Alison Slattery





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