MieliThun is an Italian company run by a man with a name like a prayer and a face like an angel. I met Andrea Paternoster last year at the Terra Madre Slow Food Conference and spent a long time looking and licking at his fabulous range of honey. There were monoflorals we’d all be familiar with (acacia, heather, eucalyptus) and some more exotic types I’d tried before (chestnut, thyme, ivy) but there were far more jars labelled with plants I’d never even known could be used as a source of honey. Sunflower, dandelion, carob, coriander flower, limeflower, apple blossom… I came home with a bag jangling with little pots to try.
This evening I thought I’d take one of the pots as the focus for this blog, and just to make it interesting, I would hide the labels and just help myself to a fingerful of honey and see what I could _really_ see, smell and taste, without any preconceptions.
So it’s a yolky yellow colour. Any guesses?
And the smell: Malt, and burnt caramel.
In the mouth, and I get a slightly granular consistency, a mellow sweetness, and a coffee aftertaste.
I’ve never tasted it before but I know what this is – it’s got to be carob. I dipped my finger right back in again. And I checked the label – I was right.
I remember carob from 1980s health food shops where I was assured that it was a substitute for chocolate. The people who say that are like people who say margarine is a substitute for butter. The word we use for people like them is ‘liars’. I’ve never been a big fan of carob, but carob honey is something else. I don’t say this lightly, but I think carob honey might be better than chocolate. I’ll just scoop another fingerful to check that I’m right…