Honey tasting

I got honey as a present and I decided to do a horizontal taste testing; and I decided to do it as a series of posts on FB, because why not. This is the collation of those posts…

Are there honey fiends? I guess there must be. I’m not one of them – I mean I like honey but I don’t go out of my way to get really good honey, mostly because I don’t know what really good honey is. But I’m about to experiment and I thought I’d share that here. I’m not very good at comparing tastes over multiple days… so the fact that I got a box of honeys from Beechworth c/my work Kris Kringle this year (totally above and beyond) is a magnificent opportunity to do a horizontal tasting! And then somehow I have three ‘ordinary’ honeys at home (what even?) and I was given a large jar of honey by another friend because she didn’t like it… so: ten honeys. Let’s see what this is like.

First, the supermarket honeys.
1. Capilano “Natural floral honey: Manuka”. Tastes… like honey? Maybe a little bit savoury? I guess this works as a base line.
2. Allowrie “Mixed blossom”. Definitely a bit sweeter and smoother, too (the Capilano has crystallised a little, although that doesn’t impact on the taste). This is nice but definitely not ‘challenging’; I guess it’s a good inoffensive one.
3. Beechworth Honey from the supermarket – no info about blossoms or what have you. Not quite as sweet as the Allowrie, I guess a bit more… tasty? As in, not just straight bland sweetness.
Hey, describing honey is hard, who knew?

For what it’s worth, I’m using little wooden spoons for the tasting – I did a bit of reading that suggested wood was best. And I remember the first Gastropod episode where they talked about the way different materials for utensils make a difference.
4. Golden Nectar Organic Real Leatherwood Honey: c/ a friend because they didn’t like it. Well THAT bodes well… Wow. That is definitely more character-ful than the others. I like it! It’s got… punch, or something. More on the savoury side of sweet (yes I know that’s silly). Not floral. I’m going to assume Leatherwood honey is a fairly distinct taste. It would presumably lend a noticeable taste to a marinade, I guess depending on what else you were using.

And now: the fancy ones. The Beechworth Honey jars are presented in a very nice little box. Each jar is labelled with (I presume) the blossoms the bees mostly fed on to make the honey, and a statement like “Bee… Fruity.”
1. Orange blossom: “Bee… Fruity.” The jar gives this 2/5 stars in terms of mild –> strong. Yes, by comparison with the Leatherwood it’s definitely mild. Sweet although not overwhelmingly so (my mother would tell you my sweetness gauge isn’t to be trusted though). Fruity? … I guess so? Not sure how you judge that. Nicer than the Allowrie.
2. Red Gum: also “Bee… Fruity”, hence why I’m doing it next. It’s got three stars on the mild –> strong scale. The fruitiness is more noticeable here and I’m glad I did it next to the orange blossom because yes, it’s definitely a step up in terms of strength of taste. It’s not as sweet, it’s more interesting to taste, and I like it more than the orange blossom.
Things learned so far: I think I prefer stronger honeys. Good to know.

I may have done these in slightly the wrong order; turns out there are two that are right at the mild end of the spectrum, and two at the 4/5 end. So, mild first:
3. Ironbark: “Bee… Delicate.” Gets 1/5 stars on the mild –> strong system… and yes, definitely more mild than the Red Gum, and completely different from the Leatherwood. A bit closer to the Allowrie in terms of pure sweetness, but more… interesting, I think. Can’t describe why: it’s more than *just* sweet?
4. Creamy Honey: “Bee… Creamy” (obvs). This has a special place in my heart already because creamed honey always makes me think of my Grandma. And this is super, super creamy: the honey doesn’t move in the jar, it has a lovely white layer on top, and I’m already excited about just eating it from the jar (in very small amounts of course). It’s a 2-star honey, and yes it’s quite mild, but it’s also not overwhelming in its sweetness, especially compared to the Ironbark. Super tasty and I adore the texture.

Last honeys: the strong ones.
5. Macadamia: “Bee… Warm.” I mean. Macadamia. What’s not to be excited about? 4/5 on the strength-o-meter so I’m assuming I’ll like it. Aaand… it’s nice, but not that exceptional. Tested it against the supermarket Beechworth Honey and it’s definitely more interesting than that – which is why doing a horizontal tasting is the only way I can figure this stuff out. I’m a bit surprised that it’s a four on the strength rating, I wouldn’t have thought it was that much stronger than Red Gum.
6. Stringy Bark: “Bee… Bold.” Well that’s an ambitious claim for the honey, isn’t it? I would give it to Leatherwood for sure. This is also a four on the strength meter. And oh yes, that’s a delight. Not as strong as the Leatherwood – it would have to be a five, or maybe a six, out of five – but definitely punching the standard supermarket honeys in the face.

Well, now to figure out how to use these I guess. Aside from just stealing spoonfuls when I need something sweet.

Melomakarona

IMG_0887.JPGCaution: trying to say the name of these biscuits as an Anglo can have dangerous consequences for earworms.

These biscuits were my first foray into the Greek chapter of Tess Mallos’ Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook. They’re honey-dipped cookies and they were, of course, a winner. They were a bit fiddly to make what with the kneading and then the pinching off and the adding the filling and then pinching shut, but in the end it was totally worth it.

The pastry is a pretty straightforward sweet one; it has both oil and butter which surprised me a little but they don’t come out particularly oily or anything. Orange zest and juice is a nice touch.

The filling is honey and cinnamon and walnuts and orange juice; it’s meant to have some almond essence but I decided it wasn’t necessary. You grab a bit of pastry, make a flat disc, put some filling in the middle and then pinch it together. Like I said, a bit time-consuming… but I made just over 40. (The recipe says 60; I presume my biscuits were IMG_0886.JPGbigger than they’re meant to be.)

After they’ve cooked you also dip them in a honey syrup; you only dip the ones you’re going to eat immediately. I made some for friends, but didn’t dip them all; I’m not sure how long they’ll last. Ate some that had been dipped the day before – they still tasted fine, although yes probably a bit better when they were fresh.

I can imagine making these again although it will have to be an important event to make the time worth it.