A World Tour of Honey

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Those who know me know I hate high fructose syrup sweeteners and avoid products that contain them whenever possible. Lately I've been having a lot of fun trying different honeys from around the world.

There was the delicious Tej (Ethiopian honey wine) that I enjoyed at the Blue Nile, for example. Tej is sweet and fruity and you can get a heck of a buzz if you drink it too fast.

There's a particular honey from Bulgaria that I pick up at Phoenicia Specialty Foods that is extremely mild and neutral and just works great with English breakfast teas.

See that crystallization? Don't let that frighten you. Just immerse the open jar as completely as possible in a pot of water and bring the water to a boil and that will re-liquify the honey.

There's also a really interesting Taiwanese honey that I discovered at Champion Gourmet Products, a delightful little specialty store on Bellaire. I wonder if Van Morrison would have had a hit record if he'd described his young lady as being as "wild as Hsinchwan Longan honey"? The Longan honey has a deeper almost nutty taste and would go great with smoked sausage. (I'm showing my German Texas roots here. We eat our sausage with honey.)

Robb Walsh told me that longan is a tropical fruit that grows well here in Houston. I wondered if all the different flavors of honey were a reflection of terroir, but Robb said he thought the flavor was a product of the flower, not the place where it grew. He doubted you could tell the difference between Texas orange blossom honey and Florida orange blossom honey.

Currently we're enjoying some eucalyptus flower honey from New Zealand and some Greek acacia flower honey that I came across at Specs downtown. The eucalyptus has a slight menthol "note" that's kind of interesting.

It's become a Saturday morning thing. My wife, another couple and I go to the gym and then enjoy a breakfast of toasted home-made bread, the honey of the week, Earl Grey tea and orange marmalade. How civilized. – Jay Francis

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