The scent is unique outside Camilla Ingr’s little shop in the Mile End: warm lemon, sharp ginger, traces of honey and hints of bourbon. The soothing aroma trails from her cozy headquarters. Inside, Ingr gently stirs the unusually scented liquid in a large pot. She’s making Rhume Rx, one of the many preservatives sold at Preservation Society.
Originally from Alberta, Ingr moved to Quebec to study pastry making at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec. For about 10 years she switched between working as a pastry chef and playing keyboard in a band. During this time Ingr also taught herself how to make jams, jellies, marmalades, chutneys and pickles.
A little over a year ago, while Ingr was working at her friend’s restaurant making $12 an hour, she discovered her band had broken up, leaving her with a decision to make.
“It was either going to be a pastry chef or [making preservatives]. This afforded a better schedule, it was a little cheaper to start up and was something getting a lot of interest in the press, so I thought I’d take that as a sign,” she said, periodically stirring her warming concoction.
Ingr found a small space she’d share with private wine importer La QV and started her one-woman business.
All of Ingr’s recipes are her own creations. Her products range from sweet pink grapefruit and honey marmalade to salty wasabi green beans. “I think the jam ‘Fall Sweater’ has to be one of the most popular. It’s hand picked Quebec apples and pears in St-Ambroise pumpkin ale caramel, with orange and spices,” said Ingr. “I actually ran out of it this year. I only like to use the Flemish Beauty pears from Quebec so I have to wait until those are back in season.”
The ideas for Ingr’s recipes come from her favourite foods and flavours. “I worked at a lot of fancy restaurants where they do molecular gastronomy. I like taking one flavor and transforming it into another substance. Like, I have Caesar Celery, Piña Colada Marmalade, and Margarita Marmalade. Apparently I like to make cocktails,” said Ingr with a laugh.
Besides citrus fruits and sugar, all ingredients in Preservation Society products are local. If Ingr isn’t buying fruits and vegetables at the Jean Talon market, she picks them herself at Quebec farms. She also uses locally produced eggs, Quebec honey and St-Ambroise beer.
“People are intrigued. It’s a new product, so people don’t know it that well, but the response has been good,” said Lindsay Davis, owner of Fait Ici on Notre-Dame West St. It’s one of the nine locations that sell Preservation Society products. “I think her products are so special because of her story and the way she combines flavours to make jams you can’t find anywhere else.”
Davis and Ingr are in the process of discussing holding canning workshops at Fait Ici in the near future. Ingr already hosts workshops at her own location twice a month.
Each black-capped jar has a brown, vintage style label which Ingr individually sticks on every jar and stamps with the product name, batch number and date. On her own, Ingr makes approximately 200 jars a week.
Ingr will be sharing her Preservation Society products at the Holiday Puces POP Fair from Dec. 14 to Dec. 16.
Preservation Society is located on 29 Beaubien Rd. East.