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Branches Varietal Honeys

Just Call Me Honey

For the loot, honey, for the loot.
—Ava Gardner

"The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite."

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Romeo and Juliet

Is there anything more to say about honey after Shakespeare? The Bard probably didn't know anything about its health benefits or the pleasures of honey harvested from citrus-blossom loving bees, but he expressed an earthy appreciation—simple and passionate. To be sure, Albert Katz has a lot more to say. He and his wife, Kim, are the founders and operators of Katz and Company; a Napa-based producer/distributor of an enviable line of artisanal food products. These are varietal vinegars, olive oils, honeys and jams that call California home, and frequently outshine fancy imports.

Honey has a rich, prehistoric history, and a texture and flavor so beguiling it has captured palates and minds from Pliny to Winnie the Pooh. And here in the 21st century, Katz offers an award-winning line of Branches Varietal Honeys that may just redefine how you think about honey.

Raspberry Honey

Branches Varietals are deliciously diverse—a fragrant selection of Citrus Blossom, Black Button Sage, Wild Blackberry, Raspberry Flower and Range Wildflower honeys carefully sourced from individual beekeepers scattered across Central California, coastal mountain ranges and the Sierra foothills. The fruit nectar honeys possess unmistakable floral bouquets and fruity finishes—most notably the Raspberry Flower clearly suggests its source. Black Button Sage is richly flavored and delightfully smooth, and Range Wildflower is creamy and a bit tangy with hints of grass and herbs.

By working with handpicked sources and shunning pasteurization, Katz is able to maintain the honeys' distinct aromas, flavor components, textures and health benefits. This also means that some types will crystallize—that's part of their character and easy to remedy. Just leave the crystallized jar in a warm (but turned-off gas) oven for a few hours and the honey will return to a liquid state. The commercial grades you find on the supermarket shelf, however, are pasteurized. They won't crystallize, but they are generic, limpid and lifeless in comparison.

Dip Right In!

And what about the health benefits of honey? It is, unquestionably, a good source of glucose, fructose and antioxidants. It's an effective moisturizer and feels great on a sore throat and, anecdotally, has been touted as a remedy for everything from ulcers to allergies.

The best part, naturally, is eating these sensual honeys—on fruit, cheese, ice cream, or toast. Of course it's the perfect tea sweetener. Try roasting it on a chicken or squash, or add a dash to salad dressing. And, while nobody is looking, just eat it straight from the jar.

Branches Varietal Honeys are sold in some 120 select specialty food retail locations throughout the U.S. You can buy them in 10.5 and 16 ounce jars ($6-$9) with handmade original wrapping directly at www.katzandco.com. In addition, Katz and Company sells domestic and imported varietal olive oils and vinegars, preserves, herbs and kitchen accessories.

National Honey Board event on GAYOT's Blog
Read our feature on the Health Benefits of Honey
Read more Health Features
Check out our Honey Reviews


(Updated: 02/07/11 CT)
Katz and Company: Branches Varietal Honeys

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