Honey practically not studied as a gastronomic phenomenon and it needs to be urgently corrected.
In every country, in every region, there are plants — honey plants, which give a unique nectar, from which hardworking bees make honey.
Its taste is from gently sweet to frankly bitter unique in every cell.
We will understand this diversity of a unique product collected in Italy, France, Greece and Russia.
To collect a collection of the most unusual varieties of honey from different countries — such a task, despite its simplicity, is rather difficult to accomplish. Honey requires certain storage conditions, it is an expensive and whimsical product, it is often forged and it is necessary to know honey in honey, apiaries are often difficult to access, and beekeepers are people with character (not everyone will contact with him).
But there are enthusiasts and fanatics of honey, who are not afraid of all the above difficulties.
Alexandra Epifanova, author of the project “Fashion Honey” (modameda.com) is exactly that.
In the collection of Alexandra today already 17 selected varieties of honey.
She visited 30 apiaries in 8 countries and brought 120 samples of honey with her to St. Petersburg, of which she selected the most interesting ones.
Take a short walk with her on the honey map of Europe.
Relatively small in size Italy produces a wide variety of honey monoflerov (monofler honey — honey with a predominance of the nectar of a single plant, monoflorn honey can be called honey with a share of the main honey plant from 40 to 70%).
This country is the only one in the world. School of honey tasters.
From three apiaries in Italy, Alexandra brought about 40 samples of different varieties of honey.
Here are 4 examples of Italian honey, included in the Epifanova collection.
In Piedmont, in the north of Italy, in the alpine foothills, the best coniferous honey is harvested.
This is honeydew honey, which bees collect from the so-called “honey dew” or “honeydew”, white sweet bloom on the branches of pines and spruces. Coniferous honey is always dark, frivolous, with a taste completely different from the usual floral honey.
It tastes more like fig jam and is also wonderfully combined with cheeses and cottage cheese.
The best pairs: coniferous honey and gorgonzola, coniferous honey and camembert.
Conifer honey — honey for those who do not like honey.
Our editorial during the tasting instantly hit the number of his fans.
The most common honey of the south of Italy is citrus or “orange”.
Plantations of oranges, mandarins, lemons in Calabria — the endless expanses of excellent honey plants. Honey from the flowers of these trees is light and fresh. Gather it in the first half of summer and, while it is fresh, orange honey is liquid, bright yellow with a mild sweet taste.
Already by the fall it crystallizes, turns white and acquires a delicate citrus notes, but without the bitterness of citrus peel.
You can eat it in any form, it is especially good in refreshing drinks, cocktails, herbal teas and smoothies.
If you are lucky to find honey of a strawberry tree (only fruit color in common with a fragrant berry), be prepared for gastronomic shock.
It is collected on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily in December and January (not every year!), When the strawberry tree blossoms.
This is a rare and expensive variety of honey.
Honey arbutus or corbezzelo — the most bitter of our known honey.
To taste, it resembles a coffee bean with the scent of wormwood.
It has a long, flowing fresh aftertaste.
It is only necessary to experience the first moments of his tasting, after which the bitterness will go away and the gourmet celebration will begin.
For a more comfortable acquaintance with honey of the strawberry tree, you can try it together with seasoned hard cheese, better than parmesan.
The editors were adamant and did not use the help of cheese. They ate like this, without everything: they frowned, rounded eyes, but ate them. And our culinary courage and determination were rewarded.
Eat a spoonful of honey of a strawberry tree, and the impression is that you taste a full-fledged dish of several ingredients — so rich is the taste of this honey. It is good in combination with mature cheeses, with coffee and strong alcohol.
Our special recommendation!
Eucalyptus honey, popular in Australia, Brazil and other countries of the southern hemisphere, is harvested in our northern hemisphere only in one region of Italy — in Calabria.
Bright rich flavor, rich in essential oils of eucalyptus with known healing properties is remembered instantly.
The flavor of this product is original and a bit meaty and intense.
Aged Italian Parmesan with eucalyptus honey creates an interesting gastronomic union.
Tip: To buy honey in Italy can and should be on any market and in small shops. Honey in Italian miel.
Look for brands of local producers — the region in which you make a purchase.
Grocery shop somewhere in Italy
In addition to other regalia, France is one of the largest producers of honey.
Varietal variety and its quality competes only with neighboring Italy.
But French always costs a little more, therefore we will pay attention only to the most outstanding honey, characteristic only for this country.
The business card of Provence is the picturesque lavender fields.
Famous and beloved by many lavender — excellent honey plant.
During the flowering period of lavender in mid-summer, a bee gud stands over the fields. Honey from lavender flowers is obtained in a mild, moderately sweet with a delicate aroma of flowers.
Lavender honey crystallizes quickly and becomes very light, almost white with a soft consistency.
Lavender honey is an exquisite dessert both by itself and in combination with ice cream, panacotta.
In a cheese plate, lavender honey is friendly with blue and aged goat cheeses.
Tip: It is important not to confuse natural lavender honey and honey, flavored with a sprig or essences of lavender. You can buy real lavender honey (in French miel de lavande) specialized stores, grocery stores and grocery stores.
The easiest way to find it in Provence.
This is a polyfleral honey, but so expressive and constant in taste that it has its name miel de garrigue. Alexandra decided to call him «Provencal Honey».
A bouquet of heather, thyme, oak paddy gives an expressive sweet restrained taste with a light creamy-nutty bitterness.
It is almost liquid caramel with hints of licorice on the palate.
Provence honey and crispy baguette is a real French chic.
Pine honey does not have a nationality, but rather belongs to individual mountain regions of the Mediterranean coast. The most expressive pine honey with a frank taste of tar and cones can be found on the French coast, on mainland Greece and in Turkey. On Crete, they make a mix of «pine-heather honey.»
It has a grassy, slightly spicy taste with notes of salt and burnt sugar.
Pine honey bees are harvested from the white paddy on the branches of pine trees in the coastal mountains.
Dark and pulpy with a fruity-pine taste, it will perfectly complement yogurt, cottage cheese or porridge.
If mainland Greece is interesting with pine honey, then island Greece, especially Crete, is known for thyme honey.
«Gold of Crete» is so modestly called this honey by the Greeks.
And, Alexandra, having waved a few hundred kilometers along the mountain roads of the island, understood what its value was.
Already in the first half of June, the steady hot sun burns out all the flowers on the island. The honey collection of other melliferous plants in the foothills ends, the apiary moves to the mountains to a height of 1 to 2 km. There, almost at zero air humidity among stones and deadwood, seemingly nondescript growth of thyme with small blue flowers grows.
Bees adore these small fragrant flowers. The best thyme honey is considered to be the one where the thyme share is above 70%.
It is not easy to find such honey, only professional beekeepers wait for the middle of autumn, while the bees collect pure thyme honey.
It turns out dark amber color, weeping and fragrant.
It has all the flavor and taste of dried flowers. The heat of hot stones seems to be transmitted through honey.
Thyme honey crystallizes for a long time, remaining liquid until winter. This is the most expensive Greek honey. The Greeks eat it with yogurt and cheese, used in all desserts.
Our great country is rich primarily in poliflera honey, often floral.
Restrained northern floral honey is not at all like the burnt, spicy floral honey of the southern regions or a bouquet of aromas from the Far East.
Each region has its own unique bouquet of floral honey.
The scale of sown crops is quite large and it is quite easy to collect pure buckwheat honey.
Its dry taste with woody notes may become a calling card for many regions of Russia.
If you want to surprise a foreign gourmet with something national, buckwheat honey with cottage cheese or pancakes is guaranteed a decent choice.
We tried honey from the Kursk region. He is good!
With woody-hazel notes and a slightly sour pear. There are echoes of rye bread and spices in its aroma.
It is surprising that some foreigners compare its aroma with canvas boots, but what to take from them. They consider buckwheat porridge (our beloved, iconic buckwheat porridge) bitter!
Dyagilovy honey less affordable than buckwheat. And this is not surprising, since Dagil itself is an ordinary-looking plant from the umbrella family, and we are not so familiar with it.
Meanwhile, the honeydew honey from Russia took the first prize at the international competition Apimondia 2018, organized in the framework of the same-name congress.
Dark granular honey is harvested in the Altai foothills. It has a rich and warming, enveloping taste — slightly tart-spicy and slightly smoked. Experts believe that it has woody notes and a light feather.
It is great for herbal tea.
Bees collect nectar from angelica flowers
5 facts about honey from Alexandra Epifanova:
1. 5 g of honey collects for all his life 1 bee.
It is less than a teaspoon.
2. Bees from the hive fly as far as possible over a distance of 1-2 km, so it is worth looking at the composition of the flora surrounding the apiary, and it will become clear what kind of honey there is.
In the fields of sunflower and rape should not look for acacia or coriander honey!
3. The maximum storage temperature of honey is + 17-20 ° C.
It must be stored in the refrigerator, even in the freezer, without access to direct sunlight.
The cold will not harm honey, but the heat — yes.
4. When adding honey to tea, cool it below 40 ° C.
5. Rapeseed and sunflower honey — the basis for almost all the falsification of a valuable product.