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In the last two years or so, we’ve featured so many incredible single varietal honeys that the art department has started to lament, “Not another honey!” But each time we think we’ve found the most amazing jar, another one arrives from an even more exotic place. In 2005, we found sensational honey in our own backyard from the Hamptons Honey Company on Long Island and featured them in our gift guide that year. The perfumey Black Locust Blossom is still one of my favorites. Last December, we suggested three honeys, including the delicately floral Wildflower Honey from ApiPharm in Greece, to go with Grace Parisi’s recipe for Spicy Honey-Glazed Bacon. In the May issue about to hit the stands, we hail New York’s Blue Ribbon restaurants for bringing in one of its chef’s family’s honey made by bees in Mexico. The Mesquite Blossom is unusual and intense; the opaque Golden Reserve, which is like the fleur de sel of honey, is so luxurious and velvety that I like to eat it with a spoon.
Just when I thought no other honey could impress me, Chefshop.com sent us jars from Big Island Bees, a small Hawaiian farm that only sold its honey wholesale until two years ago. Garnett Puett, co-owner of Big Island Bees, is so dedicated to honey that even when he tried to escape his beekeeping heritage by moving from Hawaii to New York in the 80’s, he created sculptures combining bronze casting with live bees and honeycomb. His artwork is still on display at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, and on artnet.com. His current work, the honeys, include the rare, buttery 'Ohi'a Lehua Blossom that’s great for spreading on toast. The caramelly, slightly nutty Macadamia Nut Blossom is lovely for drizzling on pancakes or even cheese.