Honey Flavors: Molasses

The honey aroma wheel I talked about in an earlier post has a “burned” category that ends in “Molasses / Burned Sugar”. This seems like an odd type of flavor to expect in honey, but in fact I have a few honeys that make me think of this.

  • Glory Bee Pure Honey from Belize: my friend Tizzy brought this back with her from her week in Belize. When we first tasted it we were taken aback by its distinct molasses flavor, and were suspicious that this was some sort of adulterated product. But as it has sat on my shelf it has begun to crystallize, so I’m thinking that it’s real raw honey after all. The flavor comes on warm and forwardly molasses-like. I’m hoping to contact the beekeepers and ask what flowers are involved in this unusual honey. Edit: see below!
  • Avocado Blossom Honey from Spain: the molasses flavor in this one is pretty obvious but is mixed with a syrupy fruitiness, perhaps the “cooked fruit” flavor mentioned on the flavor wheel.
  • Honeydew Honey from Italy: This is the Italian version of Honeydew honey, not to be confused with Beech Forest Honeydew honey from New Zealand, which is quite different. They share only their deep color and viscous thickness. Where the New Zealand variety is like musty malted milk balls (in a good way), the Italian version reminds me of the Avocado honey in that it combines a molasses background with a similar syrupy fruitiness, but it also has a distinct additional taste that I can recognize but not really describe, except to stab at “green” or “planty”.

The honeys in my collection that look the most like molasses don’t actually have a trace of molasses flavor: Knotweed and Buckwheat. These honeys can run almost to black. My jar of Knotweed from Pixie Honey (Olympia, WA) looks and acts exactly like molasses, in fact, but tastes nothing like it. I wish I could describe what it tastes like, other than to say it tastes sort of like Buckwheat honey. I’ll leave those honeys for another day!

Honey Details

  • Glory Bee Pure Honey, bottled by P. Ayuso & Family, Orange Walk Town, Belize.
  • Etruria brand Honeydew Honey, Italy, purchased at Chef Shop, Elliott Ave., Seattle.
  • Al-Andalus Delicatessen brand Avocado Blossom Honey, Spain, purchased at The Spanish Table, Western Ave., Seattle.

Update

I called the phone number on the bottle of Belizian honey and talked to the beekeepers, Fernando and Emeliana Ayuso. As it turns out, this is honey from flowers in a sub-tropical rainforest! Fernando says that his motto is “From the bees to me to you”, and that the honey undergoes no processing. He extracts it, lets it settle overnight and bottles it. They say that there are are eight to ten colors of honey in Belize, depending on the season. If you end up in Belize, you can call their number (605-4358) and get some of your own. Now I want even more to visit Belize than I did already.

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