When Mary and Don Somers began their habit of dining at Bellecour, they would show up with a gift: a bottle of maple syrup produced at Somerskogen Sugarbush, their 17-acre maple forest in Minnetrista, about a dozen miles west of the Wayzata restaurant.
“It was incredibly delicious, and we asked ourselves, ‘Why aren’t we serving this?’ ” says Bellecour General Manager Jeanie Janas. Soon enough, the Somers’ liquid gold was a treasured accompaniment to the brunch menu’s buttermilk waffles.
Opportunity knocked when the restaurant’s bar found itself with an empty oak barrel — the last call of a rum partnership with Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis — and delivered it to the Somers, who filled it with maple syrup and aged it for nearly four months. The process allows the syrup to absorb luxurious hints of the barrel’s rum, cinnamon and vanilla accents without overpowering its essential maple qualities.
This collaborative taste of Minnesota — pour it over pancakes, or infuse it in cocktails — is now sold by the bottle ($9 for 3 oz. and $24 for 12 oz.) in the restaurant’s bakery. “It has this sense of community,” says Janas. “We’re really proud of how it turned out.”
Bellecour, 739 Lake St. E., Wayzata, 952-444-5200, bellecourrestaurant.com