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Stuck on Honey: Nith Valley Apiaries

Stuck on Honey: Nith Valley Apiaries

by Keirra Reid

In the words of Winnie the Pooh "What could be more important than a little something to eat?" Whether we use it in our tea, on our toast or just enjoy a spoonful straight up now and again, honey is a truly fascinating and delicious food. It is also touted to be a health food of sorts with many trace vitamins, essential minerals and even a compound that functions as an antioxidant.  

Recently I visited one of Waterloo Region’s local Apiaries. Nith Valley Apiaries is a family-run bee farm located in New Hamburg. They have a charming store where you can purchase a variety of their honeys as well as a few other local treats. I picked up some fresh honeycomb. When I was younger family friends had a few beehives and introduced me to this delicious treat.

 

At Nith Valley I was offered a honey tasting.  Like wine, olive oil, maple syrup and chocolate, there are many different smells and tastes depending on how the product was produced.  In the case of honey, it is the flower nectar and where those flowers are grown that determine the final outcome.

I began the tasting with the first and most obvious sense—sight. The three honeys I tried were Clover, Wildflower and Buckwheat. The clover is the lightest in colour, the wildflower is medium caramel colour and the buckwheat is a dark maple syrup or molasses colour. 

The second sense I tuned into was smell. The clover had a light floral smell; the wildflower a stronger floral aroma and the buckwheat had a slight almost musty, pungent smell. 

Finally, I got to taste the honeys. The clover had a "light" taste that reminded me of vanilla with slight toffee notes. The wildflower was more bodied in flavour with floral and maple notes. (This was my favourite of the three types). Finally, I tasted the dark buckwheat. I found the flavour strong and rich like molasses with a touch of anise and burnt caramel. Because there is not much buckwheat grown in Ontario, Nith Valley supports another farmer and brings this type into their store.

I thoroughly enjoyed my honey tasting and have earned a deeper respect for both the hard working bees and the farmers who raise them. As a chef I am constantly seeing, smelling and tasting food and thinking what I can pair it with or what I can prepare with the ingredient. Everyone has a different take on it. That is why food is so amazing and why we make it our own. Get out there and taste some honey! 

Nith Valley is hosting a Honey Tasting event that I strongly encourage you all to go. You will taste some of the finest liquid gold we have in this area and you will expand your knowledge of how to pair it with different foods. The event is July 22 9am-2pm the event info is linked below

https://www.facebook.com/events/1872871542928156/?ti=icl 

There are also many local farms and retailers that carry local honey. Many are listed here:  http://www.foodlink.ca/index.php?p=food_maps/map.SearchResults&search=honey 

 

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