Honey Tasting: Polifloral Native Honey From Chile

Polifloral Native Honey from ChileThis is a honey I use all the time, and I’ve been buying extra in case it stops showing up in Seattle since it’s the best honey I know for putting in coffee. This is billed as a “polifloral” honey, which is just another way to say “wildflower”. But the Origen website says the flowers are native to the south of Chile and include “Coigües, Robles, Raulí, Arrayanes, Ciprés de la cordillera, Canelos, Tepas and Araucarias.” I want a picture.

Tasting

Despite all the flowers apparently involved, this is not a very floral honey (unlike Ulmo Tree and Tiaca, two others from Chile that are in-your-face flowery). Instead it reminds me of cooked bananas, or cooked fruit of some kind, with brown sugar. It’s very rich. It’s like a Thai desert I’ve had many times: cooked bananas with a sweet brown sauce.

I don’t take any kind of espresso drink sweetened, but if I make coffee at home with my grinder and French press, I like to add a little honey (or Dark Muscovado sugar) and coconut creamer. I’ve tried many honeys in coffee, and most just disappear into the coffee, which is a waste of good honey. But any honey with a cooked fruit thing going on seems to work in coffee.

Where To Find It

In Seattle, the only place I’ve seen this is Big John’s PFI. It’s imported by Origen (Chilean Gourmet), so maybe you can track down a distributor in your area.

Honey Mustard Challenge

I was at Central Market when a craving hit me: “sausages… with hot-as-hell honey mustard on them”.  I went to the mustard section and stood next to another guy who was also looking over every jar. The selection was huge but nothing stood out for either of us. We must have been like people looking up at the sky, because soon enough a third person turned up and asked what kind of mustard we wanted. Here out of the blue was a mustard enthusiast. “Honey mustard tends to be too sweet and not hot enough,” I complained to him. “Yes,” he said, “they are all like that. You’d be better off getting a good hot mustard and mixing in honey yourself.”

D’oh!

Challenge accepted. I went home with a very hot (and pure) mustard: Kozlik’s XXX Hot mustard from Canada. Of course I forgot to buy sausages.

Hot mustard for mixing with honey

Today I had some nice simple organic turkey dogs on hand, so I fried them and lined up these contenders to mix with the mustard:

Honeys for mustard mixing experiments

Hot mustard with buckwheat honeyI could have just mixed in any plain honey to make the mustard sweeter, but what I really wanted was a flavor pairing, where the honey added something special. So I chose honeys with wildly different flavor profiles to see which ones would work. For each honey I mixed just enough into a dollop of mustard to add flavor and sweetness without getting too sweet. I couldn’t go on doing this all day because soon my nostrils were burning and my palate bombed out from the hot mustard. Plus I was hungry.

Results, in order of experiment:

 

Leatherwood Honey (Tasmania)
Blech! This unique honey seems to be good for eating straight only. So far it has ruined any food I’ve tried it with. It even killed this hot mustard with its strong floral-aftershave aroma. Barf.

Buckwheat Honey (Washington State)
Fail. I had high hopes for this combo, but the buckwheat has a round sweetness and a strong flavor that both seemed at odds with the mustard.

Chestnut Tree Honey (Italy)
Yum. The deeply nutty / woody flavor of this honey complemented the mustard flavor. This honey is rather strange to the uninitiated (until they try it on triple-cream cheeses), but the mustard toned down the strangeness so altogether it was nice and rich and hot.

Brazilian Pepperwood Tree Honey (California)
Fail. This is an amazing honey but it didn’t work with mustard. Its fruit flavor didn’t match, and the combo seemed a bit sour.

Neem Honey (India)
I had high hopes for this one but it was just OK with mustard. I’ve been using up this honey lately, since it’s so good in my morning Irish breakfast tea with cream. It has a sort of funky brown sugar flavor, so I thought it would be great with the mustard, but in fact there seemed to be a “flavor hole”, like some important component was missing, and the mustard covered up its special qualities.

Wilelaiki Blossom (Hawaii)
Fail. This wonderful honey is just too subtle to work with the mustard.

Chestnut Tree Honey (France)
Yum. Since the Italian version of this honey worked with mustard, I thought I would get out my very special jar of French chestnut honey which my friend got for me when she was abroad. The French version of this honey is the most bitter honey I own, and its flavor is stronger than the Italian version as well. If you eat some straight and don’t eat anything else, the flavor hangs around for a long time. It was great with the mustard.

Beechwood Honey (New Zealand)
Meh. I had high hopes for this combo as well, since Beechwood tree honey is so malty and strong, but it didn’t really complement the mustard and something was covered up.

So the best mixture was (of course) the one I can’t make in quantity, since I can’t get the French chestnut honey in Seattle and value it too highly. However I can get the Italian version, and that combo was nearly as good. And when I had it with the turkey dogs, it was the best honey mustard ever.