Something about the quality of existence these last few years has resulted in life being unpredictable to the extent that it has been chaotic and unplannable. If ever there was a time to quote Burns, it would be now....Given the peripatetic situation we seem to perpetually find ourselves in, a wing and prayer seems the only way left to proceed. So once again a last minute decision saw the family drive up from Portugal to participate in the BBC Good Foods show after a hiatus of 11 years, where we had initially launched Wild about Honey. The Ghosts of Brexit may never be put to bed, and for small food companies like us, it's the gift that just keeps giving. Still at some point you have to get back in the saddle and just put yourself out there.
2000 miles later and with the good fortune to have dear friends Steve and Jenny, living nearby to the NEC, who provided warmth, food, practical assistance and shelter, we set out to put on a show and see first hand how the honey was received by the public at large and hopefully find new customers and introduce them to the world beyond supermarket honey. It was also an opportunity to taste and experience the entire range ourselves, something we rarely get a chance to do. We also thought we would try out some cross promotion with other small producers at the show, and have some fun, particularly with cheese pairings.
It was truly wonderful to sample over and over again, the diversity of this range, which, with all due humility :) , is I believe, the best curated range of honeys available in this country. The depth of flavour and diversity of the Portuguese honeys, the elegance and subtlety of the new Greek honeys together present amazing possibilities for food pairings and should be of real interest to chefs as well as anyone else with a curious palate who enjoys good food. There really is something in this range for every palate.
We sourced three cheeses from the Cheshire cheese company, a creamy cheddar, a smoked cheddar and one with jerk seasoning, with chillies and garlic. From the Cornish Cheese company, their superb Brie and strong Blue. Its fun pairing food, sometimes flavours are antagonistic, strong opposites which balance each other, other times subtle complementaries which gentle preserve the balance of flavours. The most interesting part is the synergy, where two flavours come together and create something new. So if you get a chance, experiment.
Here is what we came up with - Creamy Cheddar and Wild Lavender honey, Smoked Cheddar and Chestnut honey ( amazing), I did not know if any honey could stand up to a Jerk seasoned chilly cheese, but the Kalymnos thyme honey was equal to it with its strong herbal notes. The Cornish Brie with its delicacy was served by the exquisite Vanilla Fir honey and the Powerful Cornish Blue balanced out by the butterscotch chewy sweetness of Eucalyptus honey.
A Few Ideas
We also paired up a wonderful picnic ham, a dry cured ham from The Greek Farmer, with our wonderful resinous Pine honey.
An Artisan made Cretan olive oil and lemon salad dressing with the complex and slightly fruity Laurissilva Cloud forest Honey.
If you are cooking meats like Lamb, Beef or Duck, especially if you are roasting them, finish them with a generous glaze of the incredibly rich and chocolatey Serra Da Estrela honey, Chestnut honey or Pine honey, they all work incredibly well. Just put them on right at the end, so you actually preserve all the goodness of the honey while enjoying its spectacular depth of flavour. There are an awful lot of things you can do with honey besides using it as the powerful medicine that it is
On the subject of Medicine.
Two days into the show, after hours of talking we felt our throats go, headache and mild fever started to develop and we knew that we had to get through at least two more days, so we opened a jar of Arbutus honey and Serra da Estrela honey and between the two of us consumed half a jar of each through the night. That was all it took. The symptoms vanished. Which brings us neatly to a question we often get asked, What is the right dosage, how much honey should I use. The best way to use it is to let your body do the talking, just keep consuming it till you don't want to anymore. Your body will tell you when its had enough. When you are taking honey for general well being a spoon or two in the morning and last thing at night is fine, however if you are getting ill its generally not enough.
So, thanks to all of you who showed up there and participated with us, we hope that you continue to enjoy this incredible range of lovingly produced and curated honeys for years to come. Till the next time. xRaT