Jar of local honey
The first of 15 Days of Elgin Christmas focuses on one of the worlds favourite sweeteners: honey.
Elgin County has several apiaries and hobbyists that produce a wide variety of honeys. The colour, flavour, and even aroma of a particular variety of honey may differ depending on the nectar source of flowers visited by the honey bees. The colours may range from pale and colourless to dark brown and caramel-like, and the flavour may vary from mild to distinctively bold.
The English word 'honey' arises from its colour. 'Honey' comes from an Indo-European root meaning "yellow".
Pouring honey syrup over baked baklava
In cooking, honey is a versatile ingredient. Along with being a sweetener, it also adds flavour and acts as an emulsifier or binder in dressings and vinaigrettes.
In baking, the traditional Greek dish baklava would be nothing without the flavour and sweetness of honey. As part of your holiday dessert platter, baklava is an exotic and comforting addition. What is baklava? It's a rich pastry made of phyllo dough (very thin pastry) filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with spiced honey syrup.
Sweet, flaky Baklava!
Normally prepared in large pans, many layers of phyllo dough are separated with melted butter and layered with a mixture of chopped nuts. (I used a combination of walnuts, almonds and pistachios.) After the layers are assembled, the baklava is cut into diamond shapes and baked until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, a syrup flavoured with honey, cinnamon and lemon is poured over the dish and the baklava is left for several hours or overnight to absorb all the juices. Don't kid yourself, baklava is very sweet and is more like a candy than a dessert. A little piece goes a long way!
There are several places to find local honey in Elgin County. You may even have a friend that produces their own! For those not so lucky, here is a few sources for the nectar of the gods in Elgin County.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.