Specialty syrup at Gourmet on Gore and Minturn Market this weekend | VailDaily.com

Specialty syrup at Gourmet on Gore and Minturn Market this weekend

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Sure, celebrity chefs have taken a liking to Tim Burton’s maple syrup, but Tim never dreamed he’d have a chance to see Oprah Winfrey eat, and like, their sugary life’s work.

But sure enough, the Indiana syrup purveyor and his wife, Angie, got to eat chicken and waffles, topped with his pride-and-joy rum-infused maple syrup, with Oprah at her going away brunch after her last show at the Lincoln Center. Eagle County residents can try the syrup this weekend. The Burtons will sample their syrups at Gourmet on Gore Saturday through Monday and at the Minturn Market on Saturday.

Oprah’s former personal chef, Art Smith, hosted the brunch for Oprah at his Chicago restaurant Table Fifty-Two. Smith had been buying Burton’s syrup for a few years, and special ordered small maple leaf bottles of the syrup for brunch guests to take home. The Burtons stopped by the brunch to take a few photos of the syrup bottles on the tables and Smith invited them to stay.

“We were not dressed for brunch, we were just going to take a few photos, but Art insisted,” Tim said.

They got a chance to sit with Lady Gaga’s parents – they were very “down to earth, nice people,” Tim said – and meet Oprah.

‘Out of this world’

Now that Oprah’s a believer, they’re out to spread the word to the western half of the U.S., which in part has led them to Vail.

“The making of maple sugar goes back in my wife’s family to 1810,” Tim said.

While it’s hard to improve on something as naturally perfect as pure maple syrup, the Burtons seem to have found a way. Drawing inspiration from small-batch distillers, Tim repurposes used rum, bourbon and brandy barrels as storage vessels and hot-packs the maple syrup with the goal of infusing his amber elixir with the subtle, yet distinctive, flavors of each respective spirit.

Burton’s Maplewood Farm first introduced their syrups at Midwest farmer’s markets in 2008, including Chicago’s Green City Market, where their products quickly garnered attention from several of the city’s top chefs, including Smith. Recently the Burtons were contacted by Williams-Sonoma and Tim said they’re in the process of finalizing contracts to sell the syrup through the specialty kitchen store.

They’ll be selling the syrups this weekend for $20 for a 12-ounce bottle of Grade A or Grade B syrup, and $35 for the bourbon ale-infused maple syrup. They will also be taking pre-orders for rum, bourbon and brandy-infused syrups since limited supplies of the specialty items won’t be ready for shipment until the fall.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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