City Bees and Country Bees.

How can you not love a substance that’s sweeter than sugar?

Everyone at Eli’s seems to be quite honey-obsessed, including me. For the last few years honey has been a growing trend in everything from coffees to candles, and we’ve developed some delicious honey desserts like our Wildflower Honey Almond Bar and my personal favorite, the Bee My Honey Cheesecake available only at Valentine’s Day, topped with a hand-made marzipan bee. I’ve been burning the Provencal Honey-scented candles by Votivo at home. At my friend Maryanne’s birthday party I served little spoonfuls of blue cheese topped with White Truffle Honey as an appetizer (White Truffle Honey is one of the most delicious things on earth). I even got a gift of some fancy raw honey for Christmas last year from my friend Dana – she knows me too well.

Our ingredient-obsessed Chefs Diana and Laurel set up a honey tasting for us once and I was in heaven. The flavor of honey is dependent upon which flowers the bees have access to. Different honeys in a rainbow of colors were lined up in beakers – and as in a wine tasting we tried each one and marveled at the subtle flavor and color differences. Laurel told us of her life in Germany, visiting the farmer’s market each Saturday at the local church. They had 15 different types of honey and she’d almost make herself ill tasting each one. She said she’d always favored the light-colored honeys, the flower varieties, as opposed to the dark forest honeys at the other end of the spectrum. I shared a fond memory from my honeymoon in New Zealand, where the native Manuka (tea tree) Honey can be found everywhere – I even got some Manuka honey hand cream, which I only use on special occasions.

Right now our R&D team is working feverishly to create some new products and my favorite is a cheesecake made with raw wildflower honey which is provided to us by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. These products are still in development so I know there’s a chance they might choose some different flavors, but my fingers are crossed.

Above: Some of Laurel’s honey Cheesecake Ideas

What intrigues me the most about our honey is that it’s produced by city bees. The high school maintains its own hives and the bees gather their nectar from nearby fields. This city honey that we get from the high school is gloriously raw, not heated or processed before it arrives at our bakery. When choosing the honey to use in our dessert, our chefs were impressed by the delicate wildflower flavor of the school’s honey and the fact that it supported urban ag efforts. We also were glad to have a chance to support the school, where the students produce the honey for us from start to finish.

Posted on: No Comments

Back to Chef's Blog

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.