Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blossom to Table: Honey Grows Up - New York Times

I'm reading Robbing the Hive right now, so this article in the NYT piqued my interests. I love bees: Every morning, I spend a few moments near my gaura and basil plants, listening to their contented hum. Another symptom of my biophilia.

I hope this interest in artisanal honey continues -- by the nature of its production, it tends to be a small-operation and local agricultural affair, readily available practically anywhere there are flowers.

The article errs when it remarks that tupelo honey is a product of Georgia: It's produced everywhere in the Florida panhandle, where the tupelo tree grows abundantly in the marshy river flats. There are native tupelo trees in North America, but I'm fairly sure that most of the ones in Georgia and Florida are introduced species from Asia.
Blossom to Table: Honey Grows Up - New York Times: "June 14, 2006
Blossom to Table: Honey Grows Up

TED DENNARD, founder of the Savannah Bee Company, says 2004 produced the best orange blossom honey the South has seen in decades.

But you never know. 'Last year was an awful year for basswood,' said Zeke Freeman, owner of Bee Raw Honey, blaming an early summer drought in New York.

And Neal Rosenthal, who imports Mario Bianco brand honeys from Italy, in rare flavors like dandelion, lime blossom and eucalyptus, wistfully recalled, 'We still talk about the remarkable chestnut honey of 1983.'

It's apt that Mr. Rosenthal imports wine as well as honey. Many of the same factors that distinguish a reserve cru from a pitcher of house red — a distinct varietal, a particular place, propitious bursts of sun and rain — determine whether honey is packaged in a costly jar or pumped into a plastic bear-shape bottle. And with more single-flower honeys on store shelves and farmers' market tables, chefs have been dispatching their wildly different flavors to dishes the way sommeliers pair wine with food."

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