Move over maple, there's a new syrup in town

Bacon banana pancakes

A stack of steaming pancakes with a pat of butter begs for a generous drizzle of syrup. But instead of reaching for the maple syrup, you may want to try hickory syrup. You didn't know there was such a thing? Neither did Travis and Joyce Miller of Virginia until a few years ago. Now they are producing the tasty substance on their Shenandoah Valley farm.

The Millers were looking for something to do in their retirement when a chance Internet search turned up hickory syrup. Unlike maple syrup, hickory syrup isn't made from boiled down sap. Instead, "the Millers craft their product by extracting flavors from the actual bark that's been foraged from the forest floor. They scrub the bark clean, roast it over an open flame and then boil it with turbinado sugar to form a syrup."

The result is a sweet syrup with hints of earth and smoke. It's become a favorite of Washington, DC-area chefs. Since the sweetness isn't as pronounced as it is in maple syrup, Travis recommends using it in meat glazes and cocktails. Says Joyce, "We don't say it's better or worse than maple; it's just a different culinary experience."

While they started small with 48 bottles in 2011, the Millers have greatly increased their production in the years since. They hope to sell 30,000 units this year. You can find hickory syrup at retailers nationwide (including Whole Foods), or you can order it from the Falling Bark Farm website.

Photo of Bacon banana pancakes with buttery bourbon maple syrup from indexed blog Bake at 350

1 Comment

  • Rinshin  on  8/11/2014 at 4:52 PM

    very interesting. Have to look for this.

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