A rich, multi-floral honey from the South Downs
“In this kind of weather, it’s perfect,” says Sam of From Field and Flower, of the raw, ginger-infused honey that’s just arrived on the stall. “It feels very Christmassy. It is a limited edition—it’s naturally a seasonal product, but this year has been terrible for honey production because of the bad weather, so we’ll likely only have it a couple of months.”
Like all raw (meaning unpasteurised) honeys, its arrival is a slow process. “It takes a long time to harvest from the comb, filter the honey and then infuse it with root ginger—it takes anywhere between two to three weeks just for the flavour to imbue, and is only jarred once the right taste level is reached. You can’t rush it”—particularly when the honey comes from a small, local supplier, that’s as mindful of its bees as it is the flavour of its honey, such as the East Sussex beekeepers from whence this particular honey hails.
Their bees forage the flora of the South Downs, “which means it’s a multi-floral honey”—and you can taste it, the honey being rich with a deep, rounded flavour. “It’s 88 per cent raw English honey, 12 per cent ginger root,” Sam continues. “Unlike our Italian honey cremes, which taste mainly of whatever the honey’s infused with, the honey is the dominant flavour. The ginger lends it a delicate warmth—it has none of that fieriness you sometimes get with ginger root.”
It works well with all the delicious things that spring to mind when you think of the classic flavours of honey and ginger: in teas, stirred into porridge, drizzled on cakes or on pancakes—“if you’re feeling decadent, you could even whip it into some kind of spiced cream”—but also in savoury dishes.
“The ginger is quite dry, so it does dilute some of that sweetness of the honey,” Sam continues. “A savoury tip is to have it with duck or in stir-fries—it’d definitely work well with something Asian-inspired.” Try using it to glaze seabass, blackened in the oven or under the grill to give it some sweetness and caramelisation. “You could even try it with roast parsnips, that would be very nice. It doesn’t have to be a complex recipe, it can be used almost like a condiment,” Sam advises.
“For me, though, at this time of year, you can’t beat it in a warming hot toddy.”