Archives for posts with tag: honey

The Honey Connoisseur cover

I’m sure that there are many beekeepers out there – perhaps most – that do not feel the need to eat honey beyond what comes from their own hives. After all, why would you pay for honey, when you have more than enough of your own? Well, after reading The Honey Connoisseur, you’ll have all the reasons you need to want to try every honey on the planet.

The Honey Connoisseur: Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey, With a Guide to More Than 30 Varietals is a brand new book by well-known authors Marina Marchese and Kim Flottum. Many beekeepers will recognize Flottum’s name from several well known books including The Backyard Beekeeper, Better Beekeeping and contributions to The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. Marchese wrote the first beekeeping book that I ever read, Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper. Together, this dynamic duo have created an excellent resource for honey lovers everywhere (whether beekeeper or not).

When I first picked up this book and started flipping through the pages, it became immediately apparent that there was a huge amount of material in this book. Even more evident was that an extraordinary amount of research and scrutiny would have been required to write such a detailed book. The book is broken up into several sections; basic information on honeybees and beekeeping,  honey “terroir” and geographic regions, instructions on how to smell and taste honey, as well as pairing honey with different foods and throwing a honey tasting party.

The largest section of this book by far, is devoted to describing – in great detail – many different types of honey. Flottum and Marchese examine over thirty common and exotic floral sources which create some of the most interesting honeys in the world. I loved reading about flowers and honey that I’ve never heard of before and their interesting tasting notes and physical properties. For example, who knew that grapefruit honey is extremely thixotropic, meaning that it sets up in a thick gel until you shake it? Or that Saw Palmetto is considered one of the finest honeys in the world. Not me!

There were more than a few times, while reading through the honey varietals, that I thought to myself, “this would make an excellent coffee table book!” (and I mean that in a very good way). I think that just about anyone would love to pick up this book and start reading about honeys like Kudzu, Sidr, Tamarisk or Manuka.

Having read a large number of beekeeping books, it was quite refreshing to read The Honey Connoisseur and learn all sorts of new, fascinating stuff about honey. Even though both Marchese and Flottum keep bees, you definitely don’t need to be a beekeeper to appreciate this book or the honeys that it presents. This would be an excellent book for foodies or anyone that appreciates a great glass of wine, a slice of fine cheese, or just someone with a sweet tooth for honey. The Honey Connoisseur has an excellent section on creating a honey tasting party for your friends, including instructions on how to prepare tasting flights and setting up an Aroma Sensory Table, all complete with mouth-watering photographs of food, honey pairings and a few simple recipes.

I walk away from this book with a new appreciation for honey. I will no longer be satisfied eating only the honey that my bees produce. I will be visiting farmer’s markets, visiting apiaries in rural areas and keeping my eyes open for exotic honeys while traveling.

Purchase this book at Amazon:
The Honey Connoisseur
By: C. Marina Marchese & Kim Flottum
Released June 2013
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

A bowl of gourmet yogurt

I have two people to thank for this recipe: my good friend Brendan – who first introduced me to the concept of gourmet yogurt, and my wife, Heather – who makes this for me every single morning.

Here’s the recipe for the yogurt depicted above, but the beauty of this is that you can use whatever ingredients you have available to you. We usually have a bag of frozen berries in our freezer and then thaw a cup of them in the fridge every week.

Gourmet yogurt with honeycomb

  • A couple huge spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
  • 1 heaping spoonful of berries (thawed from frozen or fresh in the summer)
  • A half-dozen almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered probiotics
  • A huge pinch of ground flax seed
  • A hefty slice of honeycomb

You can, of course, use liquid honey as well, but I’ve recently been using whole honeycomb. The wax is fine to eat and you get the benefits of pure, raw honey, untouched by air, moisture, machines or heat. I mix up all the ingredients thoroughly and  enjoy as a side-dish at breakfast.

Having tried several times to find a true mead at the LCBO (and failing), last month I decided to purchase some mead from Munro’s Meadery in Alvinston, Ontario. The online ordering system does not incorporate shipping costs, so it was a bit pricey ($73 for 3 bottles) to order online. Needless to say, I’ll be saving these for special occasions. Pictured below are my three bottles: Black Currant MelomelSweet Mead and Mead.

Three bottles of mead

 

The Healing Powers of HoneyI have had this book on the go for several months now and I’ve found it very useful and informative. It’s a great book to have lying around and pick up from time to time to read a few interesting facts about honey. The Healing Powers Of Honey is a book full of little tidbits of information about honey gathered from all over the world as well as recipes and cures for all sorts of ailments.

Author Cal Orey (get it?) has written other “healing power” books including The Healing Powers of Vinegar, The Healing Powers of Olive Oil and The Healing Powers of Chocolate so she definitely has a healthy background in… well… health.

For any beekeepers, aspiring beekeepers or simply general honey lovers, this book is a great resource to have on hand. Orey discusses many of the scientific benefits of honey and applies them to just about any ailment, injury or illness you can think of. When in doubt, turn to honey.

What gives honey its amazing healing powers? It comes down to antioxidants, acidity and hydrogen peroxide. Different styles of honey are derived from different plants and flowers and this book details many of them. I was particularly interested in reading about Manuka honey, a New Zealand honey which has extraordinary healing powers and even combats some antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Most readers will find Orey’s narrative and anecdotal style of writing enjoyable and easy to read, however I must admit that I found the honeybee puns and analogies a bit over the top at times.

Overall, this is a great reference book and one that will get lots of use over the years. I’ve bookmarked many of the pages and will be sure to pick up this book for its recipes, home remedies and honey factoids in the future.

The Healing Powers Of Honey
By: Cal Orey
Published Oct 2011
Kensington Publishing Corporation

As reported in the National Post, French beekeepers are finding brightly coloured honey in their hives. The source of the brown, blue and green honey was tracked down to a biogas plant nearby that was processing containers with residue from M&M candies.

I must admit, at first, I thought that this article was a hoax. It would only take a drop or two of food colouring to fake this story, however it is plausible if the bees were foraging in the area where these liquids were available.

The beekeepers are claiming that the honey is not sellable in this coloured state. I think that with a bit of a clever spin, this honey could probably be sold for more than regular honey. After all, what kid wouldn’t want some blue honey spread on their toast in the morning?

Read the original article here.