Take 5 with Karin Campion

| June 22, 2005 | 4 Comments
  • 4 Comments


Title: Founder, Sonoma Syrup Company

Home town:
Southern California, living in Sonoma for the past 12 years

1. How did you come up with the idea for making syrups?
I’ve always messed around with sugar in the kitchen from preserving fruit to candying citrus peel. I wanted to use the bounty of my kitchen garden. I had lavender, mint and Meyer lemon and I was always looking for ways to preserve it so I created infused simple syrup for iced tea partly because I’m an iced tea drinker and I hate the way sugar always settles to the bottom of the glass.

Infused simple syrups are a classic ingredient. I looked into the history and found them in the earliest American cookbook, dating back to 1796. I used to use traditional Italian syrups to make sodas at home, but I wanted a high quality natural syrup. So I use real California natural fruits and flavors and pure cane sugar–no corn syrup or anything artificial.

2. What’s your favorite season?
Baseball season, summertime. With three boys in little league, there’s lots of fun all summer long, then there’s Memorial day, Fourth of July…

Also our production is seasonal, especially Meyer lemon, which is harvested November through May. June is the harvest time for lavender and this year I got to see it being harvested.

3. What’s your favorite flavor of syrup right now?
The vanilla bean has fine seeds of Madagascar vanilla. This is the only syrup in the world with vanilla seeds in it. It’s the most versatile syrup–you can use it with fruit, coffee, brandy, whipped cream, marinades, for caramelizing or in tea. Peet’s Coffee & Tea is using it in coffee. It was just chosen as a finalist for the NASFT (The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) 2005 Product Awards this summer.

I also love the Meyer lemon in ice tea and pomegranate for a pink drinks, tangerine for cosmopolitans and lavender in martinis, like they make at the Sonoma Mission Inn.

4. What’s the best thing about living in Sonoma?
The food! Sonoma itself, the Sonoma farmers market, there are such natural beauty and flavors here. The Bay Area supports natural and scrumptious food, even the bartenders want to use natural local flavors!

5. What book are you reading this summer?
Vanilla : The Cultural History of the World’s Favorite Flavor and Fragrance by Patricia Rain. I’m really enjoying it, it’s great.

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink

About the Author ()

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her friends and family were constantly asking her where and what to eat. Three months after it launched, Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the top five best food blogs, praising her writing as “smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and the world. In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes restaurant reviews for SF Station. Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook reviews along with some interviews and current events. Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer. She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine. She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.
  • chef ‘em out

    Sounds like a great product. Besides the web site, are there any plans to market this on the east coast?

  • Amy Sherman

    You can purchase some of the syrups at Williams-Sonoma. I know Karin is still working on distribution and more and more places are carrying the syrups all the time.

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    My absolute favorite combination was a drink that you made, Amy: sparkling wine with a bit of the lavender syrup. What a fabulous summer cocktail! Sadly, I haven’t been able to find the lavender syrup on shelves yet.

  • Karin Campion

    In the Bay area you can find the Lavender Infused Simple Syrup at Copia in Napa, Sonoma Market in Sonoma, Sunshine Market in St. Helena or at Matanzas Creek Winery.
    I think the Sonoma Mission Inn also has it. Saddles Restaurant at MacArthur Park in Sonoma makes a Fantastic Lavender Martini as does the Sonoma Mission Inn!