Largely divorced from its regional and rural origins, honey has become just another condiment in most American kitchens — something gooey and sweet to be applied to peanut butter sandwiches or, at best, used in recipes when called for.
A straight-up taste test of three locally available honeys (plain, and on whitebread toast) revealed differences both subtle and profound between different varieties.
Roundy’s Honey US Grade A Fancy
Intriguing lavender-like notes underlying a somewhat muted honey base flavor typify this ordinary supermarket brand. It lacks the purity and intensity of WNA honey (see below) but, when tasted on its own, reveals that even everyday stuff has more going on than you might expect.
Wisconsin Natural Acres 100 Percent All Natural Honey
This brand sports an intensely sweet, clean, pure profile — there’s a clarity and power to it that makes it resemble your idealized memory of honey’s flavor, with the volume boosted significantly. (Tomorrow’s edition of the Heavy Table features a long profile of WNA beekeeper Doug Schulz.)
Goya Pure Honey with Comb
This honey was smoky and earthy, with the most background noise and funk of the three varieties sampled. The comb is a personal choice — it adds body and texture to sandwiches or toast, but can be jarring for those used to the purely liquid form of honey.