By Teruo Miyazawa / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterHoney is a gift from nature. Its taste is affected by not only the varieties of flowers from which honeybees gather nectar, but also areas and seasons. When I stepped into a honey shop in Tokyo, a world of luscious and elegant amber colors unfolded before my eyes.
About 80 kinds of honey from 10 countries, including Italy and Greece, are sold at L’abeille in the Ginza Six shopping complex in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. A large number of jars containing honeys of slightly different hues are displayed on shelves on the wall, a prominent feature that impresses many customers. The average price for 125 grams of honey in a jar is about ¥1,100.
Timur Egorov, a 34-year-old shop clerk from St. Petersburg, said: “Honey is rooted in the food culture of Russia. We even hold local honey festivals at various places around the country.”
Light-colored honey has a mild taste and goes well with white bread, while honey of a dark color tends to have a distinctive aroma and is better with bread that has a strong taste, such as rye bread, according to Egorov.
In European countries, people drizzle honey over cheese. “You can enjoy various pairings with honey,” he said.
The shop sells six kinds of honey by weight. Among them are orange blossom honey from Spain, sunflower honey made in France, and acacia honey produced in Akita Prefecture. It is fun just to watch honey flow into a cup from the spout of a big honey dispenser.
Deluxe comb honey
Eating comb honey is another luxurious way of enjoying honey. Sumitsu comb honey sold by Kyusyuhachinokohonpo in Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture, is produced by honeybees mainly in hive boxes set up in forests in southern Fukuoka Prefecture. Comb honey can be eaten after being cut into pieces. It goes well with crackers, raw ham or wine. The price of this product starts from ¥3,240 (including tax) per 300 grams.
“In contrast to its rustic look, [comb honey] has a distinctively light and refined sweetness,” said Yoshiteru Tanaka, 68, the president of the company.
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