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What Is Varietal Honey?

Varietal Honey Definition, Uses, Recipes, & Buying Guide


Manuka Honey & English Honey

Dark, viscous manuka honey is shown alongside a lighter, runnier English varietal honey.

© Miri Rotkovitz

Definition: Varietal honey is honey made predominantly from the nectar of a single type of flower. In order to capture and preserve the qualities and flavors unique to these monofloral honeys, beekeepers must consider local plant flowering patterns when planning hive location and the timing of each honey harvest. Unlike supermarket honeys, which are generally blended, ultrafiltered, and pasteurized to create a uniform product, each varietal honey possesses its own distinct flavor and color. Within a single varietal, there can also be variations in these characteristics from year to year. Artisanal varietal honeys are usually raw honeys - in other words, they are unpasteurized and unfiltered (or very lightly filtered), and so contain may contain pollen and wax, both of which contribute to the texture and flavor of the honey.

Also Known As: Monofloral Honey

Varietal Honey Uses:

  • Drizzle varietal honey over hot cereal, waffles or pancakes.
  • Blend varietal honey into softened butter and use as a spread for toast, scones, or muffins.
  • Stir varietal honey into hot tea.
  • Whisk varietal honey into marinades or vinaigrettes.
  • Mix varietal honey into Dijon mustard for a sweet and savory spread.
  • Layer varietal honey with plain Greek yogurt or whipped ricotta and fruit or nuts.
  • Serve varietal honey over ice cream, or drizzle it over toasted pound cake.
  • Use varietal honey as an accompaniment to a cheese platter.

Varietal Honey Recipes:

Where to Buy Varietal Honey:

Formaggio Kitchen also offers an extensive collection of single-source honeys. The website boasts a handy "honey finder" feature, so you can search for honeys by country of origin, flower source, or producer. If the selection proves overwhelming, try the domestic or world honey sampler. Shop online at formaggiokitchen.com. Price: $7 to $66.

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