Stuff Russian People Like: Honey

Do you like honey?

I used to hate it, to be honest. The texture, the smell…it just tasted….weird.

I’ve been using honey as a natural sweetener for morning oatmeal and baking for the past year or so. When you mix it up like that you can’t really taste the honey part – all you can taste is sweet.

Last weekend, however, a friend and I stopped by a honey market on our way to the metro, and I sampled a few different honeys – sunflower and aspen, and I suddenly just got it. Yum! There’s something about that pretty pale yellow color and how it tastes wild like it came from the inside of a tree. What have I been missing all these years?

I bought a little container of it, and am looking forward to more honey in my oatmeal and tea with honey and lemon this fall.

Russians seem to take their honey really seriously. My Russian co-workers keep tiny pots of honey in the filing cabinets next to their desks. Moscow enjoys a regular parade of seasonal honey markets, thanks in part to its last mayor, Yury Luzhkov, who was something of a bee-keeping fanatic. In other words, it’s always easy to find honey around here.

Russian honey vendors are also quick to tell you about all the incredible health benefits of honey. Honey can remedy sore throats, boost immunity, and according to the unsolicited advice of some honey vendors, improve your love life!

One of my favorite parts about visiting honey vendors, though, is seeing all the different flavors – aspen honey, buckwheat honey, taiga wildflower honey, apple blossom honey. If it blooms, there’s some sort of honey for it. I personally prefer the lighter varieties of honey like aspen and sunflower honey.

What about you? Do you like honey? What kind of honey?

Also, check out this delicious Russian honey cake (Medovik) recipe by the Muscovore, or  also Anastasia’s Medovik honey torte recipe at “While Chasing Kids”.

P.S. as a disclaimer, clearly not all Russians like honey – economist husband can’t stand it, although I’ve never seen him turn down a nice medovik…

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