If you’ve visited The Benton Boutique or any other shop offering artisanal food products, you’ve probably seen jars of honey on the shelves. It’s easy to assume all honey is the same, but once you try our gourmet honeys you will start to appreciate the differences. In this article, we’ll provide a basic introduction to what gourmet honey is all about to help you get started on your taste explorations.
- Flower = Flavor – Many types of gourmet honey you will see on our shelves are what’s known as single-flower honeys. As the name suggests, the bees producing these honeys are feeding on nectar from just one type of flower, rather than on many different species. The type of flower has a big influence on the flavor profile of the honey. For example, acacia honey is known for its delicate flavor with notes of almond, while lavender honey retains some of the floral notes of its namesake.
- Raw vs. Pasteurized – Another common term used to describe artisanal honeys is “raw.” Unlike most commercial honey, raw honey has not been heated or pasteurized in any way, which allows it to retain many of the enzymes and nutrients that would otherwise be removed. Because of this, many health food enthusiasts prefer raw honey. However, many gourmet honeys are pasteurized because it helps prevent crystallization and improves shelf-life.
- Whipped Honey – Fans of gourmet honey will often talk about crystallization, which occurs when the sugars in honey start to solidify. This process can be easily reversed by popping the container in the microwave, but many people prefer to avoid it at all. Many honey producers, on the other hand, are using crystallization to make their honey creamier and more spreadable, like butter. This product is called whipped or creamed honey, and we believe it is absolutely worth a taste.