Honey, one of a kind
This month, La Grande Épicerie de Paris gives you the chance the rediscover a unique product: honey. Consumed since antiquity as a food or for cosmetic ends, honey is above the fruit of long and meticulous labour, carried out by bees for millennia. They first pollinate the flowers from which they then harvest the nectar, before transforming it in the hive.
From flowers to trees, the great regions of France to the most remote lands, discover our selection of exceptional honey.
Grands crus, monofloral or polyfloral
To produce their honey, the busy bees take the nectar from surrounding flowers, usually within 3 km of their hive. The honey, therefore, reflects the identity and character of a known, defined area.
The zones, called parcels, that concentrate the same variety of flowers are preferred areas for the production of "monofloral" honey. Predominant in its composition, the flower confers its flavoursome characteristics on the honey, which are easily recognisable. So you can distinguish a honey from Bourdaine, with its notes of quince, from a linden honey with a more menthol flavour. " To produce our 'grands crus' honeys, we have selected the emblematic flowers of different parts of France, known for their floral density", explains Cyril Marx, founder of Miels Hédène. "The honey is harvested at the end of the flowering season of the flower in question, so it is naturally concentrated. The floral appellation is controlled during certification of our honeys."
On the other hand, polyfloral honey, which bring together the nectar of different flowers, may vary from one year to the next depending on the flowers harvested or their period of production. This is particularly true of the Paris honey, made from millions of flowers that grow even in the heart of the capital.
Choosing to learn about honey through its history, the young house Miel Sauvage selects, according to itself, atypical honey, from remote areas. Sometimes hard to access, they enclose and largely preserve ancestral expertise.
" We wanted to find lands whose honey had not been discovered. We walk in the footsteps of men and women who lived 12,000 years ago, before apiculture existed, who went to find honey in the wild."
From this was born a unique range of rare honey , from Chile to Martinique.
"These types of honey have really strong identities. Our mangrove honey, for example, comes from the tropical forests of Martinique. The hives, installed on stilts, favour unique, iodised tones."
3 criteria for choosing honey
If the flower variety influences the final texture of the honey, the nectar determines its colour and, of course, taste. So favour honey with clearly identified floral origins; they are a real test of quality, traceability and flavour. "From the Valensole plateaux, Hédène lavender honey has a fine and creamy texture. On tasting, it reveals characteristic flavours that are both floral and fruity. "
Also favour cold-pressed and non-pasteurised honeys, retaining their taste and organoleptic qualities.
Honey can sublimate every moment of eating, whether at breakfast, brunch or with a cheese plate, thanks to its wide aromatic palette.
To help you explore the nuances of each honey, Hédène has created, with master cheesemakers and refiners, 9 gustatory alliances to inspire you. Picardy linden honey & Maux Brie or chestnut honey and Roquefort... great associations you can easily make at home.
Honey is also a precious ingredient to add to your favourite recipes. It can be used to baste meat, perfume a marinade or replace sugar in your desserts.
Our recipe for cereal bars with honey
From savoury to sweet, find honey in our recipe of the month: homemade cereal bars.
For these, you need:
- 300 g small porridge oats
- 100 g chopped almonds
- 50 g pumpkin seeds
- 10 stoned, chopped Medjool dates
- 50 g chopped cranberries
- 50 g diced dried apricots
- 100 g liquid honey
- 6 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1 pinch fleur de sel
- 10 cl water
1. Place the oats, chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds on a baking tray covered with baking parchment; brown for 15 min at 180°C, turning regularly.
2. Mix the dates with 10 cl of water until you have a paste.
3. Whip the honey, date paste and peanut butter until the mixture is smooth.
4. In a large bowl, add the two mixtures and then the dried fruit, and salt. Mix. Turn out onto a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Press into a large, compact rectangle about 1.5 to 2.5 cm thick. Bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on a tray then cut into bars of equal size.