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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Editor's Choice: Bee Raw Honey

If you think that all honey tastes the same, you are seriously mistaken, my friend. It wasn't until I was writing November 07's jams, preserves and honey feature that I discovered the wonderful world of varietal honey (just months before the release of Bee Movie).

The flavor of honey greatly depends on the flowers and plants the bees visit. For example, hives rented by Florida's citrus growers to pollinate crops can usually be used to produce a citrus blossom honey, which contains notes of mild citrus flavor. One company that focuses exclusively on the distinct, unique flavor created when honey is made from a singular floral source is Bee Raw Honey. As implied by the company name, Bee Raw skips the filtration process (which is typically done on a commercial level by heating and micro-filtration) to ensure the honey's distinct flavor remains. For 10 years, Bee Raw's Zeke Freeman has been working with artisanal beekeepers around the country to source Bee Raw's high-quality varietal honey.

Like a fine wine or artisanal cheese, varietal honey allows the sophisticated palate to pair honey and cheese for an upscale hors d'oeuvre, accent a favorite gourmet tea or host a honey tasting (I had one for the office when I was writing the article -- most were surprised to learn that the flavor in good flavored honeys comes from the flower).

So enough with the honey lesson. My EC pick this week is Bee Raw Honey's Colorado Star Thistle. This honey is so thick and creamy, you definitely need a spoon to scoop it from the glass jar. The almost-white honey carries a delicate, light flavor that Freeman recommends as a finishing touch when served with blue cheese or alongside a cheese fondue. I like it right off the spoon when I have a sweet craving, or in tea because the delicate flavor won't overpower or clash with any of the flavored teas I like.

For more information on Bee Raw's other varietals, visit For more honey resources, recipes and information, visit the Honey Board at