Honey is an amazing substance. It's eternal: Honey found in a Pharaoh's tomb is still edible. It's antibacterial: Wild honey spread on a cut can temporarily suffice in lieu of Bacitracin. And, of course, it's delicious, even if it does still spike your blood sugar. For all its many qualities, the actual packaging of honey hasn't changed much since the Egyptians packed it with their mummies -- other than harvesting honey from various flowering plant sources (a post for another day). It's pretty much strained from the cob, or occasionally not, and placed in a jar or bear. (Okay, those are new-ish.)
But like all things culinary, eventually someone decides there's a reason to tamper, temper, or infuse. Santa Cruz-based Delk Bees Honey has chosen the path of infusion as a way to take their honey to a place no bee has ever flown. Bees have stingers, but these honeys have bite.
Black Pepper Honey.
Consistency like stretchy caramel. A sweet, almost candied flavor followed by a building spice from the pepper. Fruity candied sweetness to start is subsumed by the building heat of the pepper.
We thought the black pepper honey had some serious heat, until we tried the Habanero.
The flavors go rapidly from sweet, to fruit and caramel, to an immediate heat. Serious heat. Building and continuing heat.
That's some seriously hot honey. We're talking "prank on an unsuspecting friend" hot. And the heat just keeps on going.
Delk Bees are available at farmers markets and some specialty retailers in the Bay Area listed here.