For someone who doesn't eat a lot of sugar, I sure do love honey. In fact, reducing my sugar intake has given me a new appreciation of honey, because I know better than to buy those little honey bears full of the processed stuff. The real treat (and nutrients) can be found in raw, unfiltered honey.
And I know just the place to buy it...
My dad is a real honey enthusiast (yes, there is such a thing), so when we stumbled across Follow the Honey during my family's visit, we had to go inside.
Down a flight of stairs in Harvard Square you'll find this haven of a zillion types of honey and all of the honey and beeswax products you could imagine. And in the back, there's an observation hive. Honey tastings are offered up front.
But our honey adventures didn't end there...
This past weekend we found ourselves in Portland, Maine, and our first stop was the Maine Mead Works, where they offer complimentary tastings every day of the week.
It's a generous offer from this little start-up that operates with only seven people. These seven people do all of the work from start to finish, and use local, organic sources to craft a unique and delicious product.
This mead is dry and light, like a honey wine. It's available in many flavors, some of which are seasonal. (We are crossing our fingers that we'll be able to find their spice and elderberry versions around here during Christmas.) And it is all so so good. Seriously, we were blown away. J's favorites were the lavender and the dry. I loved the lavender too, but strawberry was a tough competitor.
Our host was so gracious and eager to share (I didn't even disclose that I would be blogging), and partway through the tasting, she went in the back and filled up a pitcher of their special sparkling tea mead. This stuff is phenomenal.
Based on an iced tea recipe from the head mead maker's grandmother, this easy-to-drink mead tastes like tea, lemon, mint, flowers, and of course, honey. I can imagine sipping it all day long during the summer. Sadly, they're not bottling it yet, so you can only drink it where it's offered on tap.
By the end of the visit, we were happy campers...and it wasn't just the alcohol...
If you ever find yourself in the area, offer your support to these lovely, local businesses. I'm hoping they're around for a very, very long time.