Another one of the treats my partner got an a whim. This is a commercial honey, produced in Messinia, Greece and found on the shelves of M&S.
RAW: Honey as it is stored in the capped honeycomb of the beehive -unaltered. In this context, this honey is not pasteurized and not filtered. This (“raw”) is a superfluous adjective already covered by the following two but the producer is probably trying to boost their marketing efforts.
UNHEATED: Non-pasteurized. A lot of the commercial honey is heated, in a similar process to pasteurizing milk, to kill any yeast present, hence extending shelf life and preventing it from getting hard (crystalline). This honey ha snot been pasteurized, and hence will have traces of yeast and will inevitably solidify if left uneaten for a long period of time.
UNFILTERED: Not gone through finer filters, other than the basic one that stops impurities such as beeswax and dead bees. Again, a lot of the commercial honey is filtered several times, finer each time, which removes bubbles and makes the honey appear smoother and clearer, ultimately making it more aesthetically pleasing. Unfiltered honey will not be aesthetically pleasing (this is not my opinion, but what the big companies think consumers’ opinion is) but will most definitely have traces of all the nutrients not present in the filtered honey, including pollen, enzymes and antioxidants.
Having defined these adjectives, this honey is as you would expect raw honey from a Mediterranean apiary. It has a deep golden hue that looks more brown than yellow, due to its cloudy appearance. As I am writing this (2 months post purchase) the honey has already formed crystals at the bottom and is even more cloudy than – evidence of unheated and unfiltered honey.
When you open the jar, the smell that enters your nose is not sweet but almost medicinal, earthy (maybe a mossy earth?). This is reflected in the flavour which is something between spicy and sweet. However, by the time your taste buds can communicate the taste to your brain, your throat starts shouting “It burns!!”, because it actually does. The honey almost skips your mouth and goes straight for the back of your throat. Imagine you have just drank very hot water, missed the initial burn, but still have the aftermath – a warmth and tingle on the inner walls of your throat. Maybe not as bad but that kind of feeling.
I really enjoy this honey by the spoonful and in tea, especially if I feel I need a boost in my system. Both of us have made it a bit of a precious asset, only consumed when needed/deserved. Just kidding, it’s almost finished by now.