Rosemary Honey from Antonio

I’ve recently been in touch with Tim one of the founders of The Raw Honey Shop based in Brighton (UK). He represents two interesting beekeepers in Spain called Ramon and Antonio. I’ve been sampling a few different honeys from both.

The one I am currently tasting is a raw Rosemary honey from the hives of Antonio, a fourth generation beekeeper. His honey is made by bees foraging for nectar from flowering rosemary growing on the northern mountain ranges of Madrid (known as Sierra De Guadarrama).

Rosemary honey can be very pale in colour, the one I have has started to set and the consistency is thick (although this is also due to the low moisture content). Its colour is very light compared to the hues of the other honeys I’ve recently tasted.

The flavour is satisfying though on its own does not ignite passion, it needs to be  paired  with something to lure out its secrets. The Rosemary hints are delicate ollowed by an intense sweetness (you might think this quite an obvious statement to make about honey however the sweet after kick is particularly noticeable). Overall it has a light floral taste and is superbly uplifting if you are in need of a pick me up.

Rosemary honey can often be found in Spanish nougat (known as Turrón or Torró in Spain). Nougat is mainly honey, sugar and egg white, mixed with almonds and other nuts. I’m particularly fond of the soft type, however it also has a harder sibling. The first recipes of white nougat were found in an Arabic book from Bagdad from the 10th century, however it has been made in Jijona in Spain for more than 500 years and is very popular around Christmas.

Whilst consuming nougat is one thing, making it at home is an altogether different proposition, so I had to think a little about what to pair this honey with. Fortunately, one of the glorious things about honey is that it has a remarkable way of making simple food taste delicious and feel special. So with no effort at all I put a generous dab of rosemary honey together with some roasted butternut squash and blueberries, to create a delicious starter (fruit goes well with honey and so does the texture of the squash).

The sweetness of this particular honey would also make this combination a successful dessert, such is the versatility of honey!