We all know how crucial bees are to pollinating foods and flowers, and how disturbing it is to read the numerous stories about colony collapse disorder and the sudden dying off of hives. Anyone who helps give bees a safe environment to live, pollinate, reproduce and make honey is a hero in my book.
In other parts of the world they take beekeeping very seriously. In Paris, urban apiaries are de rigueur, they even have bee hives in city parks, like these in the Luxembourg Gardens: http://www.talkinfrench.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Beehives-at-Jardin-du-Luxembourg.jpg.
In addition to being delicious in tea, baklava, and halvah, honey has well-documented medicinal uses. It never goes bad and its anti-bacterial properties work as well today as they did in ancient Greece, Rome, and India. Many people use it to treat seasonal allergies, burns, or for soothing a sore throat.
Honey also pairs well with a variety of foods like cheeses, fruits, nuts, and chocolate.
That’s where Claire Marin, the founder of Catskill Provisions, comes in. She creates two types of chocolate truffles. One with honey and one with honey whiskey.
Her Fall raw wildflower honey I sampled is from chestnut, maple, goldenrod, buckwheat, bamboo, and asters. It’s absolutely superb.
She also makes NY Honey Whiskey, distilled at Finger Lakes Distilling on Seneca Lake. It is 80% NY Rye and 20% Malted Barley aged for 2.5 years in new American Oak charred barrels and infused with Fall honey.
The relevance of all this honey talk becomes apparent when you sample her chocolate truffles. Packaged beautifully and carefully, so nothing happens to them during shipping, they are handmade and fairly large. The Honey Whiskey variety are not particularly alcoholic but have that added dimension alcohol imbues. The centers are supremely smooth and the Belgian chocolate couverture is applied with a liberal hand. The Honey truffles are a purer chocolate-honey taste, also dipped copiously in dark chocolate, and dusted with cocoa.
If you are looking for a gift for yourself or someone else, I would strongly suggest pairing a box with their raw Fall wildflower honey. And, if you are lucky enough to live within 50 miles of her apiaries you will get the added benefit of a honey “vaccination” for your seasonal allergies, should you have them.
Last but not least, if you want help setting up a hive in the city, suburb, or country Claire is happy to consult with you.