Friday, May 23, 2008

A spot of summer sweetness - Single Flora Honeys from India

The Honeys from The Hive

I have been on a strict diet excercise regime (finally) to combat gestational diabetes since the 1st of May but here is a confession, I allow myself two sugar spoons of honey every so often. Shobha, my long suffering housekeeper has gotten used to my delibrating over one corner of my pantry cupboard (small endurance in comparison to some of my other culinary idiosyncracies! I am sure!) as I decide what I want to have each morning; Wild Forest, Sweet Clover, Orange Blossom, Mahua, Til & Bajra, Cashew, Mustard, Honey Dew or Litchi.

But this morning Shobha knew what I would have. Which is probably why she had a knowing glint in her eye when she laid breakfast before me. Two slices of toast with a smidgen of butter and a bottle of honey. Specifically Mango Honey, because this morning I received my bottle of Vijaya's latest single flora honey - Mango flavour.
But she hasn't noticed that I have what has come to be a ritual of sorts, with the uncapping of every new flavour, I taste it pure.

Like a wine taster (what do you expect from a food lover) I look at the colour, it's a beautiful saffron hued clear golden colour (I think mango yellow but dismiss it because of the mental association).

Then I smell it (I need to smell everything I eat first) .

With the Mango honey the aroma is very subtle, the first sniff gives you only honey, but place a few spoonfuls in a bowl, stir a bit and sniff and the aroma rises to you, bringing to mind memories of walking into the kitchen on a summer afternoon to be assailed by the aroma of ripening mangoes.

Now I put a spoonful in my mouth - again at first it is only honey but wait, swirl a little, let your saliva break things down and let your sense of smell come into play, and there it is first the flavour notes of mango hit you. Swirl again and swallow an you are left with a taste of mango on your tongue, so pure that it is hard to believe you have not eaten a luscious piece of the fruit itself.


Now that I have served to completely confound even myself, let me tell he whole story and atone to the food Gods for my delay in blogging about this. I have been meaning to, honest I have, but life has been moving at full speed off late and time is dear between the kids, home, my first love - cooking (i know, I know that should be husband but you know what I mean), husband, my new job as Editor, Gastronomy with and my book, 'My Mumbai Cookbook' in full swing.

To tell the story A few months ago Vikram (who has kindly been feeding my curiosity about all things food in Mumbai ever since I have been confined - first because I was pregnant and then because I couldn't leave my baby daughter) told me about Under the Mango Tree, a company he found at the Uppercrust show this year. He also wrote about the company and the Lady behind it, Vijaya Pastala in his column later.

So I got in touch with Vijaya and many disjointed conversations via chatboxes, smses and the phone, while walking (me) delivering honey (her), dropping son to school (both of us) and generally living two busy lives we have found we share many interests, namely; kids, cooking, travel and food.
I also found Vijaya's 'Hive' and her delicious range of single flora honey.

The Til and Bajra is unique - like the essence of the grains have been bottled but my favourite is the Cashew. Well untill the Mango came along anyway.

You could cook with honey but not with these. These you must savour by themselves. At most you could stir them into cold milk or spread over bread or toast. They are also great on a cheese platter - Camembert or any sharp Blue come to mind with the Mango... She's gettin Saunff next.

Vijaya of the Honeys

Under the Mango tree and the UTMT blog on it's honey initiative The Hive where owner Vijaya Pastala blogs about her honey and more, Vikram Doctor's column on Honey in ET

To get your hands on honey from the Hive, call 9833154478 for free home delivery in Mumbai and VPP courier service acros the country, or pick it up from bake Haven, Shop No 2, Rajat Apartments, Mount Pleasant Road, Mumbai 26. Call 022-66643798 for free home delivery and Navdanya, The Organic Shop, Shop No 10, Mayfair Housing Society, Andheri (W). Mumbai 53. Call 9920418027 for free home delivery

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