Have You Tried Pine Cone Bud Syrup?

A most unusual syrup.

A most unusual syrup.

 

Imagine a syrup that’s the color of burnt amber and possessed of a beguiling taste that’s a mashup of burnt toffee, port, maple syrup, evergreen and pine needles.

That’s what Mugolio Pine Cone Bud Syrup is like.

When I had an opportunity to try a sample from Manicaretti Italian Food Importers, I jumped at the chance. After all, who even knew you could make a sweeter from pine cone trees?

According to Manicaretti, forager Eleonora Cunaccia of Primitivizia is one of the few people in the world who is permitted to gather by hand tender young buds of the Mugo pine in early May in the heart of the Dolomite Alps National Park, Trento, Italy.

Those fragrant buds are macerated in water and sugar until September, when the must is filtered. The resulting syrup is cooked over a low fire with more sugar until thickened.

It’s plenty sweet just like maple syrup. But with a deeper complexity and undertone of savoriness.

Drizzle over grilled chicken, pork chops or ripe cheeses. It would also be great on gelato, panna cotta, crepes, yogurt, toasted pound cake slices, roasted fruit or even in a martini. And yes, atop morning waffles or pancakes, it would be a delicious and unexpected awakener.

A 3.6-ounce bottle is about $27 at Amazon, Market Hall Foods, and Dean & Deluca.

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