FEA-Food-ArtisanalHo 09-04 nm
Don’t confuse a honey’s source with its taste. The blossoms from which honeybees get their nectar impart honey with a flavor that is related, but hardly identical, to the fruit or scent those blossoms can produce.
"Honey from blueberry blossoms is not the same as honey with blueberry flavor added," explained Ari Weinzweig, owner of Zingerman’s, an Ann Arbor, Mich., gourmet deli and mail-order company that offers 14 artisanal honeys.
There are hundreds of varieties of artisanal honey, each with distinct colors and flavors. Here are a few to whet your appetite.
• Orange Blossom Honeycomb (Savannah Bee Co.)
Serve small pieces of honeycomb over bread or blue cheese. The liquid will burst into your mouth as you chew, shooting out an intense dose of rich, caramel sweetness and leaving behind the chewy comb.
• Tupelo (Savannah Bee Co.)
The much-coveted tupelo blossoms of the South are available just a few weeks a year. They produce a honey the color of orange marmalade with a tangy, almost citrusy flavor. Try it with tea or served with apples.
• Sourwood (Savannah Bee Co.)
Amber-hued, this is a strong, rich honey with a gingerbread taste perfect for honeycake. The honey is made from the white, bell-shaped flowers of the sourwood tree. The taste will dominate whatever it is mixed with.
• Pumpkin Blossom (Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey)
This rich, amber-colored honey is squash-like in flavor. It is good drizzled on pies, ice cream, yogurt and yams.
• Eucalyptus and Acacia (Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey)
This full-bodied, dark honey has a rich aroma and a slightly tangy aftertaste slightly reminiscent of a sweet throat lozenge. Try it over ice cream or baked into bread.
• Golden Reserve (Blue Ribbon)
This honey is produced from the "mantequilla" (Spanish for butter) that has been skimmed off the top of autumn harvest honey. Its nectar comes from several wildflower blossoms, including mesquite and orange blossoms. It is reminiscent of maple-sugar candy, has the color of lemon curd and has a thick, buttery texture suitable for eating with a spoon.
• Yellow Star Thistle (Moon Shine Trading Co.)
Use this dark honey with a sweet, candy-like flavor in honeycake. It is made from yellow star thistle, a fuzzy, yellow wildflower that grows throughout Northern California.
• Black Button Sage (Moon Shine Trading)
Almost white, this mild honey made from blossoms found in the Southern California Coastal Mountains creates a wonderful grill sauce when combined with soy sauce, garlic and oil. It also is good in baked goods.
For more about honey, go to www.postbulletin.com/weblinks.