What makes a girls' getaway all the sweeter? Adding in a delicious dose of maple.
Can there ever be too much of a good thing? Not when it comes to maple! This classic Canadian flavor is so much more than a pancake topping. And when I had the opportunity to partner with Ford Canada for a girlfriends' wellness weekend in Montebello, Quebec, I knew that my favorite autumn flavor would only sweeten the experience.
I was excited to indulge in as much of Quebec's signature condiment as possible, and I soon learned that there was more to maple than meets the eye. Traditional pancakes, step aside! Here are my favourite Montebello maple moments.
The unexpected: savory maple pastry
Meet the appetizer that eats like a dessert! This is a maple and cheese stuffed doughnut from the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello's in house restaurant, Aux Chantignoles. The doughnut comes coated in green apple glaze and pumpkin seed crumble and served with a side of parsnip veloute. Yep, this is every bit as decadent as you imagine it is - and a good reminder that maple is just as suited for savory foods as sweet.
Truth be told, I personally would have appreciated three mini doughnuts instead of one large pastry. The doughnut itself was very heavy and dense and I think smaller pieces would worked better. However, I absolutely loved the parsnip veloute - if I were to order this again, I'd ask for two cups of it!
The indulgence: maple butter breakfast crepes
Maple butter crepes are a challenge to photograph but they are heaven to eat. Found at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello breakfast buffet, the thin, spongy pancakes are rolled up with maple butter and swim in a sea of even more maple butter.
The incredible sweetness of the syrup is balanced out by the maple's earthy tones and the creamy saltiness of the butter. I managed to stop at just two but I'm assured that a plate of ten isn't unheard of! If you're going to have just one maple experience in Montebello, this is it.
The reinvigorating: Maple sugar scrub at the spa
If you're a true maple fanatic, you know that it's not enough just to eat it. You've got to soak in it! The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello spa has the perfect solution. Their maple sugar body scrub treatment is 60 minutes of utter bliss. The process begins with a full body exfoliation using an indescribably delicious smelling maple sugar scrub . It felt so decadent to breathe in the amazing scent while the fantastic esthetician worked their magic. As the sweet smelling scrub was worked into my skin, I felt more and more relaxed.
At the 30 minute mark, you step into a gorgeous rainfall style shower to rinse away any scrub residue. The shower comes stocked with shampoo and conditioner. Even though there was no scrub in my hair, I thought it was a nice touch to include these toiletries as it's pretty hard to avoid getting your hair wet - might as well wash it while you're there!
As you're getting washed, the attendant will knock on the door to let you know they're coming in (don't worry - the shower stall is opaque) and they'll change the sheets on the spa bed to ensure there are no trace bits of sugar scrub. Then it's time for the next wave of maple magic - a light massage as a maple body butter is applied. It looks just like maple cake frosting and it smells every bit as delicious. Thankfully I showed some restraint and didn't try to eat it.
This was by far the best spa body scrub treatment I've ever had. I couldn't get over how utterly relaxing the entire experience was and I absolutely fell in love with the maple based scrub and lotion. And, best of all, my skin felt so soft and it was absolutely glowing. That scrub really sloughs off a lot skin! Afterwards, I lingered on the balcony of the spa, enjoying looking at the water, and as well as their historic pool house (above), which tempted me but I didn't dare get in and wash away the fantastic lotion.
The adventurous: Finding maple while out and about
When you really love maple, you're willing to go the distance to find it at all cost. Hiking with my girlfriends in Kenauk Private Game reserve, we saw lots of maple trees but alas it was too early in the season for any of them to have turned red. So while we didn't get the classic red maple leaf moment that every Canadian craves, we did have a wonderful time exploring the area on foot. (I suspect that if we were to return in the spring, those maples would be busy producing delicious sap).
Speaking of cravings, we did have a chance to satisfy our maple-minded sweet tooth one last time before leaving the Montebello region. Chocomotive, the beloved local chocolate shop, carries products with maple - along with nuts, berries, and a wide variety of other flavors. I grabbed a bar with maple and nuts for Ryan, and picked up a bar of dark chocolate with sea salt for me. Delicious!
Hitting the road with style
Our road trip to and from Ottawa and our explorations around Montebello were made all the more comfortable thanks to Ford Canada. The girls and I were fortunate to enjoy several of Ford's 2017 models. That included the Ford Flex Limited, which had room for 7 people (and all of our luggage) and individual sun roofs, as well as the Fusion V6 Sport (where I experienced seats that can heat or cool your bottom and offer a massage at the same time). It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up on each other's news while enjoying such smooth comfortable rides and, when we cranked up the music, the sound was crystal clear. Perfect for some impromptu song belting!
Montebello's can't miss hotel
If you want to see or be seen in Montebello (or simply just to experience the same food and spa experiences I enjoyed), there's only one place to go. Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is unlike any Fairmont you've ever experienced. The historic property dates back to the 1930s and may well be the world's largest log cabin. It has all the touches you'd expect from a Fairmont, including great beds, linens, and toiletries, but there's rustic touches you won't find anywhere else. Sometimes the vintage charm can carry frustrations (like hauling the heavy furniture around in my room just so I could access a plug near the bed for charging my phone), but there are plenty of rewards as well (like the gorgeous lobby, perfect for lingering and chatting over swanky cocktails). Staying here is a unique experience you don't want to miss.
I'll be back for more maple moments
I discovered that Montebello is a sweet destination for a girlfriends' getaway - with or without maple! We enjoyed a wonderful escape that was filled with delicious memories and I can't wait for our next escape. Chateau Montebello - we'll be back!
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The Best Montebello Foodie Spots
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My time in Montebello was facilitated by Ford Canada and I thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are my own.