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Archive for the ‘Honey’ Category

Honeys for Rosh Hashanah

Three different honeys to celebrate Rosh Hashanah

I always look forward to celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is a lovely time of year when the weather is just cooling off, fall produce is coming into season and my craving for my grandmother’s brisket is at its highest!

A traditional aspect of Rosh Hashana is enjoying fresh apple slices with honey. The sweetness of this treat represents our hopes for a sweet new year. Since becoming the honey buyer almost 7 years ago, I have taken this tradition a step further by bringing home a selection of my favorite single varietal honeys each year. This year I decided to focus on a selection composed of very distinct honeys with geographic, visual and textural diversity. If the hopes for my new year are proportional to how lovely these honeys are, then my year is looking bright!

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Crystallized Honey

Far from it! In fact, honeys that crystallize more easily tend to be the least processed.

Some people (like me) enjoy the texture of crystallized honey – it melts more slowly in the mouth and its more solid structure can make it easier to pair with cheese. I especially like crystallized, creamier honeys, like Lo Brusc Montagne or Ames Farms Buckwheat. In my experience, the crystals in these honeys are small and give their naturally creamy texture a little more body, perfect when spread on toast or just by the spoonful.

Of course, the truth is that not everyone wants sugar crystals in their honey, and the good news is that honey crystallization is easy to reverse. If you want to return your honey to a more liquid state, simply put the jar in a pot, filling the pot with water until it comes about half to three-quarters of the way up the side of the jar. Simmer for a few minutes, and you’ll notice that the crystals start to disappear, and the honey will return to its original, liquid state. (more…)

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Ihsan and Valerie visiting Brigitte of Lo Brusc

On an early visit to Lo Brusc (L-R): Brigitte, Sarah (Formaggio employee), Valerie and Ihsan

In the early 90s, Ihsan and Valerie were invited by one of our customers to stay at a lovely château in Provence while on a food sourcing trip. Located near the town of Abt, about halfway between Toulouse and the Atlantic Ocean, the surroundings were picturesque and, as Ihsan recalls, “breathtaking.” The villa served as a wonderful base from which to explore the region and led to some of Ihsan and Valerie’s earliest finds – ones that have stood the test of time – like Durand chocolates and miellerie: Lo Brusc. (more…)

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Three Domestic Honeys - Ames Buckwheat, Smiley Tupelo and Hawaiian Winter

L-R in back: Ames Buckwheat, Hawaiian Winter and Smiley’s Tupelo. In front is an open, mini jar of the Ames Buckwheat honey.

Although we are known for having a vast international honey selection at the shop, I think that this year’s selection of domestic honey particularly stands out. Over the years, I have gotten to know our domestic honey producers quite well and, while the stories behind their passions are different, they each strive to produce beautiful, unique and delicious honey. Here are a few that will knock your socks off! (more…)

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Bees at their hiveSome weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an introductory beekeeping class led by local beekeeper, Jean-Claude Bourrut. After a quick hop, skip and a jump (i.e. a T journey, a bus ride and a short walk), I found my way to his hives which are nestled between the Boston Nature Center and the Clark Cooper Community Gardens in Mattapan. (more…)

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One of my favorite deliveries happens on Fridays, when Michael from Carlisle Farmstead Cheese drops off a few rounds of goat cheese made by his wife Tricia, along with a few cases of Carlisle Honey, collected by beekeeper Ed Erny.

Michael and Tricia keep about 10 goats on their property and make several lovely cheeses — all named after their goats — in their state-of-the-art cheese room. Most, like Meg’s Big Sunshine, are fresh and tangy with a white, bloomy rind. My personal favorite, Greta’s Fairhaven, is made of raw goat’s milk and aged a bit longer for a denser texture and an earthier flavor.

Across town, Ed keeps about five beehives in his back yard. In the springtime, he collects a delicately sweet blossom honey. By summer, that has given way to a darker, richer wildflower honey.

Michael works in Cambridge and conveniently drops off both the cheeses and the honey at FK on his way to work.  They are outstanding artisanal products on their own, but perhaps elevated a little higher when they are served together, properly showcasing their common local roots.

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