I arrived in Transylvania this morning, and the only thing I knew about honey here wasn’t really a recommendation: Vlad the Impaler’s head was preserved in honey on its way to the Sultan in Istanbul where it was then displayed on a stake as proof that the enemy had finally been conquered, the impaler impaled.
Whether the honey in question was a lightly floral acacia, or the rich sunflower honey or simply a wildflower honey from the bountiful Transylvanian meadows is not recorded. And perhaps it’s best not to know details: it means that when I sat down to clear my headache with a pot of green tea and mint at a cafe this afternoon in the medieval town of Sigisoara, and was offered a cute little jug of honey to mix with the tea, I didn’t linger on uncomfortable history. And when I found myself in a little shop offering local delicacies my enthusiasm was still intact for lime-flower honey.
This is a clear golden honey with a scent hinting at apricots and the lime you might expect to find, zinging round the edges. In the taste, the lime is more pronounced, making the honey almost as bitter as it is sweet. It will go brilliantly with stewed quince, in a fruit smoothie, or with honey ice-cream. Indeed it will go better with anything than with the severed head of a Romanian despot.
For more honey tasting and honey preparation adventures, see The Little Book of Honey, written by me with glorious woodcut-style illustrations by Su Jones and Paddy McEntaggart