Feature in association with Fulmer Honey
There is a bit in a Winnie-the-Pooh story that I’ve always loved. It’s in the story called ‘In which Pooh goes visiting and gets into a tight place’, where Pooh goes to visit Rabbit, somewhat against Rabbit’s better judgment.
‘Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, “Honey or condensed milk with your bread?” he was so excited that he said, “Both,” and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, “But don’t worry about the bread.”
Pooh does then get stuck in Rabbit’s front door trying to leave, and they have to leave him there in the hole until he ‘gets thin again’, but generally I admire this approach to life and his love of honey. Honey is not only delicious, but it has all kinds of natural health benefits. Pooh was ahead of his time.
It was the first thing I thought about when I was introduced to Fulmer. The Fulmer honey story is a lovely one. Their maternal great-grandfather, Gyorgy Fulmer, founded his apiary in 1929 with just a few bee families and some years later, their grandfather, Ferenc Takács, also started making honey. In 1959, Ferenc married Gyorgy’s daughter Maria, and one big happy bee family was created.
With nearly 100 years of beekeeping experience, the fourth generation of Fulmers is now at the helm and Fulmer now not only make their own honey but also source honey from specially chosen beekeepers around the world, selling it to 30 countries.
Quality and sustainability are the key drivers behind the Fulmer ethos, along with huge respect for bees. The bees go about their business, collecting nectar and adding their own special ingredients and flower aromas, and the result is a range of quality honey including chestnut honey, holly cream honey, maple cream honey and so much more.
As much as I love honey just with condensed milk and bread (bread optional) I wanted to do these special honeys justice. I decided to create a couple of honey cocktails.
Fig and honey martini
When I was thinking up flavour combinations, things that honey go especially well with, figs were top of my list. That and goat’s cheese, but that didn’t feel like it would be awesome in a cocktail. (Although remember when I made black olive, honey and feta ice cream?) Fig and honey though? Yum.
For my fig and honey martini, I used the James Bond of the Fulmer honey range – the Siaagn-Torecila Honey from their Limited Selection range. These honeys are unique and rare. They are dependent on very specific environmental and weather conditions and so can hardly ever be produced. This one blends the flavours of the cultivated fields of the French Pyrenees wild Spanish lavender. The result is delicious.
To make my martini I kept things simple to let the honey shine. I added a large handful of ice to a cocktail shaker along with two halved, ripe figs, a spoonful of honey and vodka. Shake it hard to mix everything well – let the ice do the work here of mushing the figs and blending the honey.
The result is a very simple, elegant martini that I’m sure Rabbit could have done with after having Winne-the-Pooh’s legs in his burrow for a week.
The Fulmer hot toddy with Fulmer honey lollipops
For this one I wanted to take a fun twist on a classic. It’s definitely hot toddy season, and everyone knows that lemon and honey is medicinal, but I didn’t want to make any old boring hot toddy. I wanted to make something that you could bring out at a Christmas party and everyone would go ‘Oooooh!’
I decided to make honey lollipops.
I’ve never made lollipops before and was also slightly held back by the fact that my sugar thermometer had stopped working, but I went for it. Literally all I did was heat some Fulmer forest honey until it was just about at the point where I thought I was going to burn it, and then I poured it into lollipop moulds. There is definitely a specific temperature that gets the honey to the point where it can set hard, so do check this – I think I got lucky.
(Note: Heating the honey takes away some of the health benefits, so while the lollies are fun, make sure you include the forest honey in its natural form in your diet too as it has a lot of minerals and a high iron content.)
Once the honey lollipops have had time to set hard, it’s time to make your hot toddy. I used spiced rum for mine because as much as I try, I can’t like whiskey. I poured a large shot of rum into a nice chunky glass, added a thick slice of lemon and topped it up with boiling water.
Pop your lollies out of their moulds and hand them out to your festive friends along with the rum hot toddies. Sit back and lap up the praise.
The honey lollies can then be stirred into the hot toddies – the honey slowly melts into the drink, or you can mix it up with a dunk and lick manoeuvre if you want to get a good dose of honey flavour. Fulmer’s forest honey is a naturally darker honey with a rich aroma, so once it has dissolved into your drink it gives it a lovely warm colour and flavour.
Two very different types of honey for two very different cocktails, but both delicious. I feel like if Winnie-the-Pooh had Fulmer honey with his condensed milk, he’d be a very happy bear indeed.