today's tasting: honey. 9 different spoonfuls to taste. 9 glasses of the same honeys to smell. 3 bits of candied orange peel. 1 cup of meade. 2 cheeses. 1 italian speaking lecturer and 1 funny translator. 50 sugar-high students.
orange blossom, lavendar, rapeseed, red fir tree, ivy, heather, lime tree/linden, ecalyptus and manuka.
all had different flavors, aromas, consistencies, tastes, viscosities, some were gritty with sugar, others melted in your mouth. orange blossom was a favorite. lavender too was smooth and floral. rapeseed had an unpleasant smell but the taste was fresh because it was thin. red fir tree was honey dew from the tree so it was sticky and soft - perfect for on pancakes. ivy is very hard to make because october-november are bad weather conditions for honey, but it was thick and reminded me of confectionary sugar with a weird melting sensation. heather was very bitter and spicy like chocolate, toffee or caramel. lime tree was thick with a bright, fresh mint flavor. ecalyptus i wanted a hot cuppa tea and toast to smear it on - thick and sticky with salty remnants of dried mushrooms. manuka was really thick and gritty and none of us are sure what it is.
there are 34 different kinds of honey in Italy, but not some of the world's best.
honey is kinda like bee vomit - they store nectar in their stomachs until they get back to the hive where they regurgitate it. but not.
"making good honey is harder than making good wine."
the bee's main job is to collect nectar (food/energy) in the summer to survive the winter. but, the bee's life is so vigorous and stressful that in the summer they only live for 4-5 weeks.
with the right heat, light and humidity conditions, honey can be kept for as long as 10 years.
honey can be used in fruit salad to keep it fresh and prevent the fruit from oxidizing, used with meat not only to preserve it but like bbq, keep the outside crunchy and the inside juicy, old "games" and mixed with water or something has something to do with hydrogen peroxide (which popi unsuccessfully tried to mix).
(above) popi scraping the last of the honey from the aroma glasses. for some reason, looking around the classroom, other students barely touched their small spoon samples. not ours.