Have you been to New York’s Finger Lakes? Gorgeous! The northern reaches of the Appalachian Mountains, fresh water lakes, waterfalls, bucolic farms — including wineries — along with neat-o museums and boutiques, make for a wonderful getaway. Because bees feast on flowers, it’s hardly surprising that the area’s Nature’s Way Farm has incredibly tasty and unusual honeys. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
Ask any chef: your creations are only as good as the quality of its ingredients. Even if — or especially if — you eat simply, such as herb teas, yogurt, freshly made breads, every little thing you add to them makes a tremendous difference. Many years ago, I read the book The Power of Style: The Women Who Defined the Art of Living Well. One of ladies profiled was fin de siecle beauty and socialite, Rita Lydig. It struck me that even when she was in the most dire straits, she kept up with little bits of the nicest tokens of living well — fresh flowers, for one. A pal of mine for over 30 years comes to visit and notices that I may have 3 things on the shelf, but they’re the nicest. When you have guests, serve them a cup of tea in a pretty vintage china cup, with the finest cloth or cutest paper napkin and small dish of fine honey. C’est tout! Keep that head held up high.
Have you looked at the weather for most of the USA? You should be stocking up your cupboard with goodies for snowbound days and guests coming for the holidays.
Raw Buckwheat Honey is deep, dark, almost black. I noticed a combination of a molasses and meaty nose. There are sugar flavors, but they’re also rich and nutty. It’s full bodied. Along with the usual suspects like flapjacks or bran muffins, try this intense honey with your most pungent cheeses like Epoisse and Tallegio or blues like Bleu d’Avergne. You might trya bit of it, mixologist style, in peaty Scotch, Irish or Canadian whiskey cocktails. They describe it as “A flavor somewhere between mild licorice and molasses, this honey will stand up great in applesauce cakes, granola and is unequaled in a bowl of hot oatmeal with some cranberries and raisins thrown in.”
Raw Linden Blossom Honey is a light honey with a woody nose and a mellow, creamy flavor. It’s not super sweet. It’s great with apples, cornbread, toast and butter (like a creamed honey) and sprinkled with European-style true cinnamon. This is definitely a good honey to use come Passover time, for making charoset. They describe it as “honey with a light floral aroma and flavor. It is a must-try-off-the-spoon honey which is super great in herbal teas, salad dressings and on light toast.”
Raw Forest Honey is very dark, with a deep honey-maple nose. It’s sweet, full-bodied and nutty. I found it to be a good contrast, color and flavor-wise, to roasted white sweet potatoes.
Raw Wildflower Honey has a deeper amber color with a floral nose. I tasted a sweet, spicy flavor, with a silky texture. This is the perfect honey to set out with tea. They say this about it: “The flavor varies with the time of year as most blooms last about 2 weeks and seasonal blooms change from year to year. Spring often sees a strong Russian Olive bloom which combines with local fruit bloom to make and mellow aromatic honey. We have prolific summer blooms which include yellow, white and white dutch clovers, teasel, golden rod, birdfoot trefoil and a variety of other blooms which impart a very crisp sweetness in our wildflower honey. This is an excellent choice for that daily use table honey and is just the right flavor to accent almost any food which pairs well with honey without imparting a stronger flavor.”