Sweetening the deal

Categories: Product stories

A tour of the myriad honey products available at the Market

There are many pure unprocessed honeys from around the world available in the Market, some with fragrances and flavours so distinctive that, eaten simply with bread or straight from the spoon, they are an ambrosial revelation. Others combine beautifully with ingredients adding subtle sweetness, texture and complexity to dishes and products.

Forest, or honeydew honeys as they are also known, are particularly unusual, being made not from blossom nectar like the mono and poly-floral honeys, but from the sweet secretions of insects, typically aphids, that take sap from trees and plants, which in turn is collected by bees and processed into strong-tasting, mineral rich honey.

Two of these exceptional—and in one instance particularly rare—honeys can be found in the range at Oliveology: “Greece has numerous forests, so pine and fir honeys are quite typical. Our pine honey has a delightfully earthy flavour, a viscous texture and a lovely resin aftertaste,” explains owner Marianna. “We also sometimes have a unique vanilla fir honey with PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin). It can only be harvested from the fir tree forest of Mount Mainalon in the Peloponnese—nowhere else in the world! This is a thick, earthy, creamy honeydew honey with a pearlescent effect and a flavour reminiscent of vanilla or caramel. Due to its rarity, production is limited and it’s not available every year, but if you can, try it—like any of our honeys—with herbal tea, Greek yoghurt, morning cereals, porridge or toast, as well as in dressings, marinades, glazes and desserts.”

Heather, orange, rosemary, thyme, sunflower, lavender, chestnut, pine, fir, acacia and mixed flower blossom are just some of the honeys to look out for at Borough—here are more ideas to get you hooked:

Honey cremes, From Field and Flower
Sam: “We have four honey cremes: strawberry, blueberry, lemon and apricot. They are 94 per cent raw acacia honey, and six per cent fresh fruit—no sugar is added, it’s entirely fruit concentrate and the honey absorbs all of that flavour. The lemon one is made with oil extracted from the zest, and has a more delicate flavour; the others have much more punch. The apricot is quite a grown-up flavour, but they are all amazing—once you get into them, you can get quite creative.”

Honey mustard, Fitz Fine Foods
Noel: “It’s a basic honey mustard, made using cider vinegar and French blossom honey. It’s one of the simplest things to make. I recommend eating it with ham, or glazing a ham or it’s a wonderful flavour with a chicken.”

Trying the mustard, Olivia, one of Noel’s customers said: “I make dressings with lemon and honey mustard, I expected this one to be good and it really is. You can taste the sweetness, but it’s subtle. Honey gives a different kind of sweetness—it’s finer, creamy, and it just blends everything so well.”

Truffle honey, Tartufaia
Francesco: “Acacia honey, being quite mild, works well with the white truffle. We add shavings of the wild truffle, mostly winter white truffle, and it doesn’t take long for the flavour to permeate the honey. Sometimes the truffle itself can be very mild, depending on the season, so the aroma we use for the truffle oil can help to give it an intense flavour, without being too pungent or harsh.”

Chestnut honey, Brindisa
Greg: “Our unpasteurised honeys are 100 per cent pure and come from a company in Catalonia that has been producing some of the finest honey in Spain for three generations. The chestnut honey is a beautiful, unusually deep amber colour, and has a sweet treacly almost savoury taste with an earthy, nutty aroma. It is the strongest flavour in our range and I would recommend trying it on toast or pancakes.”

Pasteli, Oliveology
Marianna: “We have two types of delicious golden pasteli, one made with sesame and honey and a sesame, honey, linseed, raisin, almond and hazelnut version. Examples of this sesame seed candy or nougat can be found around the world, made with different textures, from chewy to crisp. They are perfect healthy and nutritious snacks.”

Honeycomb honey, De Calabria
Guiseppe: “We have a small organic producer, Pasquale, who has just 60 or 70 hives in Calabria where he has been keeping bees for over 40 years, and we take whatever flavours he has available, depending on the season. This guy takes his honey by hand, it’s not extracted mechanically, and it’s a very, very slow process and his honey tastes of so much more because of that.

We don’t have honeycomb all the time because the bees have to work hard to replace it when it is removed, so we only use broken frames that Pasquale saves for us. Then I take the combs and use acacia or orange flower honey to fill the jar because it is clear—you want to be able to see the bright, beautiful shape and colour of the comb.

Don’t eat the honeycomb with anything else. When you put a piece of the comb and wax in your mouth you can feel that it is not just sweet there, in the wax, you have the pollen, the propolis, the honey—everything that belongs to the hives.”

Golden honey, Local Honey Man
Curtis: “The bees have fed on a wide range of wild flowers and tree nectar such as chestnut. Now that spring is in full flow, the blackberries will also start blooming, among many more florals. Our raw honey hasn’t been pasteurised, which is the beauty of it: we provide it exactly the same way the bees give it to us. While we are able to supply it all year round, each season results in a different combination of floral sources in each batch. It’s thick in consistency, and the taste is out of this world. I love it on strong-tasting cheese, or drizzled over natural yoghurt sprinkled with some bee pollen.”

Chevre saveur miel, Une Normande a Londres
Jean: “This is a fresh goat’s milk cheese with a heart of honey inside. It is from a city called Parthenay, in the Poitou-Charente region of France. The beauty of the cheese is that they provide you with incredible fresh flavour, as well as all the acidity you have in a usual goat’s cheese. That combination with the sweetness of honey is unbeatable.”