I’m constantly mind-blown by the perfection of the natural world. It’s one of the main reasons why I love to create charcuterie boards and how they end up looking and tasting beautiful—nature’s bounty essentially does all the work! One of the most glorious examples of the gifts of nature is honey.
Created by foraging bees that collect and store the nectar from different flowers, they then return to the hive and work together with hive bees through a fascinating process that involves their own digestive enzymes and water evaporation. They pass the nectar from one bee to the next until the product reaches the honeycombs for storage.
The result is nothing short of amazing and delicious. Even more mind-blowing is the fact that honey and honeycomb are actually great for your health. In fact, honeycomb is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on Earth! According to the USDA, raw honeycomb includes calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, vitamins C, B6 and B12, A, E, and D.
In addition to providing vitamins and minerals, honey provides micronutrients to improve metabolic health and boost the immune system. While honey is a source of sugar, it’s also a functional food that has an extraordinary impact on human physiology. Some other health benefits of honey include:
- Beneficial effects on cholesterol, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein
- Lowered blood glucose and homocysteine levels
- Increased serum antioxidant levels, including glutathione reductase
- Reduction in plasma prostaglandin, a marker of inflammation, in as little as 15 days
- Potent antibacterial properties, which may be beneficial against certain infections
As if that’s not enough to be grateful to bees for, honey pairs well with many different types of cheese and is the perfect healthful accompaniment to charcuterie boards.
At Brie Kind, we usually offer honey as a standard item on our boards and honeycomb on request. While it’s fun to try out different varieties and cheeses together, here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate honey on cheese and charcuterie boards:
- Blue cheese pairs perfectly with honey. The sweeter the honey, the better for any strong-smelling cheese. In particular, you will notice that the honey mellows out its intense flavor.
- Brie is lovely when drizzled with dark bamboo or buckwheat honey. We offer a baked brie add-on item on our menu that caramelizes the top and provides a gooey delight for your guests. If you love creme brûlée, you should try our honey brie brûlée. It’s truly an experience!
- Chèvre, feta, and other tangy cheeses are lovely with a drizzle of honey.
- Hard cheeses like Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano and other aged hard cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, are also delicious with honey.
- We also like honey with a rich farmhouse cheddar or any of the alpine cheeses like Comté, Gruyère, or Appenzeller.
- In addition, the comb itself is edible, so your guests can simply cut off a slice of honeycomb and top the cheese and cracker.
Although many excellent quality kinds of honey are available (and we love to switch it up from time to time), our favorite honey is Bee Seasonal. Their organic products are varied, and the taste is pretty unique. But just as importantly, they are socially engaged beekeepers with a focus on sustainability, community, and maintaining a “transparent food chain.” We think that’s pretty sweet.
Based on all of the reasons we’ve shared and the fact that bees are critical to our survival (and our enjoyment of honey!), we can all agree that bees are amazing and need to be protected. Visit https://www.beesponsible.com/ to learn more and get engaged.
It may sound “cheesy,” but I always like to give thanks for the gifts of nature when creating my charcuterie boards, and honey is at the top of that list.
Pass it on, and pass the honey!