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Mar 30, 2010 09:28 AM

What is your favorite honey? And what type of honey (clover, alfafa, etc.)?

There are many varieties of honey sold at the stores. I am looking for a really good one.

Therefore, I wanted to ask the people here:

What is your favorite honey? And what type of honey (clover, alfafa, etc.) do you prefer?
Are there any major difference between the different honey types in terms of health benefits?

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  1. Sourwood (AKA Sorrelwood) honey is excellent. We've had great service the last few years from...

    Unfortunately, it looks like they're sold out for the season.

    1. There are some really good threads of people singing the praises of their favorites honeys. Once you start getting into honey, you'll realize what an amazing variety there is. What's best is to some extent a matter of taste and to another what you're going to be using it for. For example, a lot of people like chestnut honey from Italy, but it has a slight bitterness that doesn't work well in some situations.

      Since you're in NYC, I'd recommend going into some good specialty grocers and ethnic markets to get an idea of the wide range of honeys available. For example, I was in a Middle Eastern market yesterday and they had both local in imported honeys that included avocado, sage, acacia, blackberry, etc. Good farmers markets often have local honey producers -- the vendor list for the Union Square greenmarket has quite a few.

      I think that the claims of health benefits from honey are dubious at best. A lot of honey producers claim that eating local honey will help you with pollen allergies from your local plants, so that might be one consideration.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Farmers' markets are a great place to buy honey, because you will typically be able to sample the different varieties. You can see what kinds you like and also taste the range of flavors, which can be quite distinctive.

        I quite like blackberry and raspberry honeys, among others; they have a nice floral/fruity quality.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I think the pollen allergies thing is also associated with unpasteurized honey. Difficult to find, even at farmer's markets sometimes. I don't know if it works, but I have heard from people who claims the honey helps them (placebo or not, don't know).

          OP: I'm a huge fan of lavender honey (impossible to find), followed by tupelo honey (a song from Van Morrison).

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            It also works as an antibiotic, internally or externally. Not as strong as penicillin but a lot more pleasant!

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I bought the Italian chestnut honey from iGourmet. It is a bit bitter. I am trying to find a way to use it fo counter that bitterness. My hub did not like it on roasted chicken. Any ideas?

              1. re: Quill

                You can possibly try using it in a dessert type application, such as with yogurt or cream (as a topping). Pairing it with vanilla ice-cream would work too, to help cut down on the bitterness/smokiness.

            2. Oooooh I'm going to get tarred and feathered for this...but I'm going to come clean.

              My favorite honey is the one in the plastic bear.

              There. Let the flaming begin.


              4 Replies
              1. re: librarianjen

                There are many kinds of honey that come in plastic bears. Do you have a specific one you like, or do you just like the bear?

                A lot of generic honey in plastic bears comes from China and may be adulterated. I just looked at one that doesn't specify country of origin on the printed label, but instead has it stamped on the top, which leads me to believe that the source of this particular company's honey may be different from bottling to bottling.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Interesting! I just always reach for 'the bear' (lol - no particular brand that I know of) because I know it will just taste like 'generic' straight-up honey, without 'flavors.' I've had a few flavored honeys that I just didn't like.

                  Although after reading this thread, I'm really interested in trying orange blossom honey - how could that NOT be good? tee hee

                  And to be honest, I kind of do like the bear. It makes me smile. :)

                  1. re: librarianjen

                    Just to clarify: there's a difference between honey that has flavors added to it and honey that tastes different because it's made from the pollen/nectar of different plants. It wasn't until I started sampling the different honeys from one of the honey sellers at the farmers market that I realized how much of a difference what the bees used to make the honey could make.

                    I think it's really worth the time to set up a honey tasting and at least get a sense of the possibilities, even if you do in the end prefer generic honey over varietal honey. And you can always transfer whatever honey you like into an empty bear!

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      If you want to taste how different honeys can be you can get a sampler pack from many honey places. Here is one I link to simply because I am aware of them


                      But I bet you can get something similar from a lot of places. Generally the darker the stronger, and the honeys from the nectar/pollen of a certain plant have a taste somewhat reminiscent of the blossoms.

              2. Depends on the application. I like our local producers (Marshall Farms is a favorite for their variety, but they do bring in honeys from other regions). I like eucalyptus for a strong honey, wildflower blends tend to be mild here which are wonderful for some applications. Everyday use, we tend to use a mesquite honey which is rather bold, but not too dark. And cheap. We get one called Wild West, which is almost chocolatey in flavor.

                Don't know anything about health benefits.

                1. As the great grandaughter of a beekeeper I love all honey. But my favorite is the darker honeys. Buckwheat especially. Basswood is good also. It all depends on what tastes good to you.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KristieB

                    Basswood is another common name for Linden. When they are in flower here, the scent is just beautiful. I'll have to try that if and when I see it...