Love when little markets are set up in various piazzas around Florence. Toward the end of our stay (10 months), I started to catch on to the fact that seasonal markets would hit a few piazzas on a regular basis. So on weekends, I started to make it a point to routinely walk through Piazza Reppublica, Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza Annunciata.
Often I would find vendors set up with Pecorino cheese, family-wine, just-pressed olive oil, jams, soaps and always, always honey.
And in one case, a few weeks back, it took just 5euros for me to obtain six tiny jars of honey---all a different variety. I love that bees pollinate different crops and their honey reflects their efforts. And just the other day, my son Anthony and I popped the tops on all 6 little jars, plunked in our spoons and took notes.
1. Trifoglio: literally '3 leaves' which makes sense: clover. It tasted like the honey we have in the states, where clover is standard. Here, though, it is surprisingly clear and whitish in color.
2. Eucalipto: Eucalyptus, which reminded me of 'creamed honey' back in the states, yet a milder and slightly coarser version.
3. Millefiori: it means 'a thousand flowers' this was my favorite. Honey not to sweet, yet perfectly sweet.
4. Girasole: sunflower honey, very common. Tastes like sunflowers smell.
5. Castagno: chestnut honey. The furthest from sweet, with a distinct chestnut flavor. Fantastic for cooking meats.
6. Arancia: orange---very common flavor in Italy. Mild.
Honey. My appreciation for honey is certainly one of the countless benefits of this year we spent in Italy; before I may have walked by it or my attention was elsewhere. But after a year of honey being involved in Italian recipes, at almost every festival and common among flavors of pastries and gelato (okay, not just common but my favorite pastries and gelato...), I am forever tuned in to nature's gift of sweetness.
This is far from the last you have seen of honey dripping on this blog. So far, you can find it in these recipes:
- Honey dijon pork
- Salmon in Parchment
My favorite quick use for the numerous flavors of honey, is to drizzle it into plain yogurt with a pile of the freshest of walnuts and call it a snack, or breakfast... or dessert. Yum.
What honey have you tried lately?