Crown Maple Syrup making American breakfast peaty again

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Crown Maple Syrup, harvested and bottled in Dutchess County, New York.

Crown Maple Syrup making American breakfast peaty againHow many times have you shoveled stack upon stack of flapjacks into your maw at breakfast and thought, “You know what this could use? A hint of booze.”

Surely, I can’t be the only one.

The folks at Crown Maple, the New York based maple syrup purveyor had the genius idea to age their product in bourbon barrels, extracting peaty goodness into their syrup. A great American syrup married with a great American spirit is as delicious as it sounds. I recently sat down with CEO Mike Cobb to talk about Crown Maple’s line of products, how to spruce up sweet and savory meals with the good stuff, and of naturally, bourbon barrel aged syrup.

Can you give me the Crown Maple origin story? The company is still relatively new, can you give me an abbreviated version of how it sprung up?

Crown Maple came about by chance.  Robb & Lydia Turner bought some land in Dutchess County, NY in 2007 with the intention of having a family retreat where they could enjoy the joys of nature. You see, Robb grew up on a farm in Illinois and he wanted his daughters to experience the same joys he had as a child.  One day, as Robb was walking the property with a neighbor, he was asked about his plans for all of the maple trees on the property. It seems the land was a majestic maple forest packed with around 20,000 trees. Robb became curious and later enchanted by the possibilities of maple and set off on a several year journey to learn about it, the industry, the technology, the product.

He enlisted leading experts from Cornell University Maple Research Center as well as leading Canadian and USA maple equipment providers. After much research, and contemplation, the ideal of Crown Maple was born with the objective being to create an estate-produced, premium maple syrup that would stretch beyond use on breakfast foods and excite consumers with tantalizing versatility as a defining ingredient for baking, culinary, beverage and mixology. Crown Maple would strive to create the first real brand of maple syrup that would empower consumers to embrace and adore maple syrup for all of their sweetening and flavoring needs.

How did the idea to age maple syrup in bourbon barrels come about?

The craft beverage market has been growing nicely in recent years with the popularity of bourbon increasing exponentially, especially as a flavor ingredient in culinary applications. Crown Maple noted the increase in these food trends and how well bourbon complimented the usage of Crown Maple as a versatile ingredient that brings depth of flavor and richness to a breadth of culinary and beverage experiences. Knowing that syrup takes on the flavors around it, Crown Maple experimented with bourbon to discover the infused flavor enhanced the graham cracker, creamy vanilla, and smoky notes to provide even more depth of flavor. Crown Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup is now used as a favorite ingredient for topping salmon, grilled fruits and meats, on ice cream, kicked into whipped cream, and drizzled on chicken and waffles.

To that effect, the bottle and even the box Bourbon Barrel aged syrup seems to mirror how bourbon is packaged and sold. How intentional was this? Are bar keeps responsive in using the product in cocktails and the like?

The signature packaging reflects the estate-produced & handcrafted product made on our family farm in New York’s Hudson Valley. Increasingly, consumers and professional baristas and mixologists are recognizing the heightened flavor and added health benefits that Crown Maple brings to coffee and tea beverages as well as cocktails. For cocktails, dark maple syrup is most commonly used.

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Crown Maple + leftover coffee makes a mixologist out of even novice home cooks.

What are some of the most inventive ways fans of the product are using Crown?

The more consumers experiment with Crown Maple, the more they discover additional ways to use it.  Coming from nature, Crown Maple delivers health benefits similar to wine and tea which encourages consumers to use Crown Maple as a healthy sweetener.  It is used to create award winning bakery products, as a glaze for chicken and meats, as a drizzle for grilled vegetables, as a base for sauces and glazes, to make bacon even better, to elevate dessert creations, and simply used to top oatmeal, yogurt, and fruits.

The Crown Maple product line is incredibly vast, from different grade syrups to sugar and even pancake mix. Are there any products being tinkered with?

Crown Maple is constantly looking for new ways to excite our consumers and give them new ways to appreciate and adore our certified organic, 100% pure maple syrup.  Crown Maple provides a deep caramelizing agent in marinades & rubs, delivers intrigue in maple balsamic vinaigrette, and creates refreshingly fresh and natural lemonades.

Anything else you’d like to share about Crown Maple.

In October, Crown Maple will release The Crown Maple Guide to Maple Syrup, a book published by Abrams Books featuring the history and science of maple syrup and 65 tantalizing recipes.

Jaime Carrillo dreams of pizza the way Jiro dreams of sushi. Despite his pretensions about food, his pantry stocked with home made jams and pickles and mad scientist ingredients like xantham gum, he’s not above a weekly dose of drive-thru chili dogs. He’s always thinking of different kinds of food to sous vide, or trying his hands at home charcuterie. Also, he’s very excitable and quick to anger when it comes to food and foodie culture.

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