All of the chocolate I make for Liberty Chocolates is sweetened using only organic honey.
When I began my training as a chocolatier, I didn’t use this liquid gold, but as part of taking over Liberty Chocolates, I wanted to learn the techniques of the previous owner, and the unique process involved in sweetening chocolate with honey.
There has been a fair amount of frustration as I have become comfortable with the not-all-that-simple process, but the results have been worth the trials. And I love that I am able to use honey to make my small-batch chocolates.
1. Ancient and All Natural
Honey is an ancient food. It’s unrefined, all natural, and people have been eating it for thousands of years. There is a great Smithsonian article looking at the historical (as well as current) relationship between humans and honey here.
Often people turn to honey because they consider it to be more beneficial than other types of sweeteners. Although honey is a sugar, there are differences between refined sugar and honey, which I could write pages and pages about, but won’t right now (maybe for a future blog). You can start learning about the differences between honey and refined sugars here.
Honey has some properties that you don’t find in cane sugar. For starters, unlike sugar, honey is made up of more than just the sugars fructose and glucose. Honey also contains traces of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Honey has been associated with all sorts of health benefits from improving cholesterol to lowering blood pressure.
Honey has also been found to be anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory and it has long been a homespun remedy for sore throats and coughs.
And for those who want to stick to a Paleo diet but also want to have a sweet treat now and again, honey is on the approved list!
2. Knowing Your Source
Many people prefer using honey because they are able to obtain it locally and know where it comes from.
Depending on your region, it is often possible to find a local beekeeper who sells small-batch honey, allowing you to know your “farmer” and the practices they use to produce what you and your family eat. Check out your local farmer’s market – they are bound to have at least one local beekeeper selling their honey!
Where my ingredients come from is very important to me and I strive to make sure that everything I put in Liberty Chocolates is responsibly sourced, top-quality, and organic whenever possible (link to Ingredients blog). Honey turns out to be a little tricky when you are trying to source both an organic and domestic product.
There are currently no organic guidelines or certifications for honey within the U.S. I will write a blog about this, but basically, it’s hard to certify something as being organic when you don’t know exactly where it came from.
That is, all those little bees are hard to keep track of! So, in order to use organic honey in my chocolate, I work with a honey cooperative in New Hampshire to source organic honey from Brazil.
Finally, honey has a unique and fabulous flavor that is all its own! The taste of honey can vary widely depending on where and what flowers the bees were gathering their pollen from so it has nuances that you just can’t get from refined sugar.
The varied flavors of honey pairs well with high-quality chocolate which has its own depth and variations about which I could go on and on (visit my earlier blog if you want to know HOW MUCH I like to talk about chocolate)!
If you love the layered flavors of high-quality chocolates, give honey-sweetened chocolate a try. It’s unique, delicious, and even includes extras that are good for you!
All of my honey-sweetened chocolate varieties can be found on my shop page, and be sure to check back in often as I am always experimenting and adding new additions to my line-up!