Not all honey is created equal. In fact, not all “honey” is even real honey, a number of ingredients are often added to what we buy as honey
Unfortunately there is a lot of adulterated honey around with the most prevalent problems including:
• dilution with different syrups
• harvesting immature honey
• using ion-exchange resins to lighten colour
• mis-labelling origin
Honey adulteration is done to increase the volume of honey and to lower the cost of production. Honey fraud is a widespread problem, recently an EU investigation found that all UK samples taken from supermarkets were suspected to be fraudulent.
One of the simplest ways to avoid buying adulterated honey is to look for honey that is labelled with the country of origin. Price is also another indicator
Raw honey comes straight from the honeycomb, and is honey in its purest form. It is unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized, processes which can destroy the natural vitamins (high in vitamin C and B vitamins), minerals and enzymes found in honey and to get the maximum benefits from honey, it's important to purchase it in its raw organic form, because regular honey has been filtered and processed, losing some of its nutritional properties along the way.
The type of honey made by the bees is dependent on the types of foliage and flowers available to them and determine whether the honey will be clear and runny or dark and hard.
The health benefits of raw honey are endless:
Anti-viral and anti-fungal properties
Contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant
Helps ward off allergies
Soothes sore throats and is a natural expectorant (i.e. is great to eat when you have a cold)
Stabilizes blood pressure and balances blood sugar levels
Boosts immune function
Helps heal skin conditions and wounds when applied topically
Promotes digestive health
As an alkaline-forming food, helps combat chronic illness
It is an energy booster
It helps fighting allergies
It is loaded with nutrients
Not only one honey has plenty of health benefits, but it is delicious with cheeses. We have put together some of the most classic matches between honey and Italian cheeses, this list could go on for many pages, there are at least 300 different honeys and thousands of cheeses but we focused on the main one. Ours are only suggestions, don’t be afraid of experimenting and please let us know if you discover new pairing.
We start with the pairing of two particular honeys: pepper honey and truffle honey, which go together with aged cheeses, such as Roman, Sardinian and Tuscan Pecorino and the Formaggio di Fossa.
Acacia honey with its delicate flavour and a soft, floral and fruity scent goes well with blue cheeses, such as Gorgonzola. Additionally, due to its lightness it can also be combined with semi-mature cheeses, such as provolone or pecorino, to soften their flavour.
Citrus honey has an intense flavour derived from the scent of the flowers from which it originates (such as orange, citron, lemon, mandarin) and as such, goes well with cheeses such as sheep ricotta and caciocavallo.
Chestnut honey, dark in colour, sometimes almost black, has a fairly strong flavour and aroma therefore, goes well with medium-aged products, such as Asiago, caciocavallo, grana or parmesan and soft cheese. If combined with delicate cheeses, it would cover its flavour.
Eucalyptus honey has an opaque yellow colour and a slightly bitter taste, although reminiscent of caramel and generally appears crystallized. On the cheese board, put it next to the Asiago and other flavorsome cheeses.
Sunflower honey has a bitterish taste and a beautiful yellow colour, perfect with Taleggio and Asiago cheeses.
Wood honeydew, it does not come from flowers but from the sap of plants. With an amber colour, almost dark it has a fruity and pleasantly caramelized flavour. It goes well with aged cheeses such as pecorino, but also with gorgonzola.
Millefiori Honey, as the name suggest, it is a type of honey that comes from different flowers, nonetheless, it has a delicate and sweet flavour that manages to agree, somewhat, with all cheeses. To be on the safe side, better combined with Zola, fontina but also with fresh cheeses.
Linden honey, it has a balsamic and intense smell, while its colour can vary; in fact, in the liquid state it appears yellow, while it becomes white when it crystallizes. The flavour is mainly sweet, however it leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste, perfect with Asiago, Montasio or goat cheese.
Heather honey can be combined with pleasantly spicy cheeses. It has an amber colour, a slightly smoky flavour and not particularly sweet. It can be combined with Brie and Puzzone di Moena.
Strawberry tree honey is a typical Sardinian honey, refined and also rare. It has a bitter and persistent taste. It goes well with ricotta, robiola, mascarpone but can also be enjoyed on a simple slice of bread with a layer of butter.
Now that you know more about honey, discover our range of raw, organic, 100% Italian.