Sunday, January 29, 2012

Family Adventures: A Taste of Honey

Photo via Beauty to the People

Beer tastings and wine tastings are fun but not exactly small child friendly. So when I saw there would be a honey tasting at Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington on Saturday afternoon, that seemed promising. My Wife was up for it but, shockingly, Our Girl was a tough sell on the idea. Here we were offering to take her to sample sweet things - at a chocolate factory, no less! She rolled her eyes at the suggestion that we might see Oompa-Loompas but we did finally manage to convince her that the excursion could be preferable to hanging out in her room all day. Off to town we went.

First, lunch. We went to The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. My Wife had been once before but it was my first time. As it turns out, the place is a very popular choice for families with kids - a bit surprising considering the prices. My cheeseburger was $14. I once paid $17 for a cheeseburger, at Stage Left in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Crazy? Yes though, to be fair, it was far and away the best burger I've ever eaten. My burger on Saturday was pretty darn good, too. Worth $14? Sure, why not?

Image via The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

The beer list is very impressive, another surprise given the number of children (though My Wife suggested that perhaps the beer was, in fact, the draw for parents). Keeping with the theme of our outing, I ordered a Kissmeyer Honey Porter but alas, they were out! Not to be deterred, our waitress suggested a very nice Russian stout as an alternative.

Image via Vermont Attractions Association

On to the tasting. The honey tasting was a joint venture between Lake Champlain Chocolates and Slow Food Vermont. There were also representatives from The Vermont Beekeepers Association. In addition to the honey itself, we got to taste pollen and, of course, some honey-based chocolate treats. Honey is amazing stuff, varying greatly from region to region according to the local flowers being pollinated. We all enjoyed the tasting, even Our Girl. I'm sure the chocolate we bought on the way out didn't hurt her outlook.

Image via Slow Food Vermont

We've had some experience with Slow Food in the past. We were members when we lived in Jersey and even went to a meeting of the state chapter in Princeton. Overall, we were disappointed in the New Jersey gathering as some of the people in positions of influence appeared to have ideas very different from those of the broader movement. We had an interesting lunch, though, as we ended up at a table of mycologists. Mycology, of course, is the study of mushrooms. That Slow Food meeting is the only reason I know that. My Wife seems inclined to give the Vermont chapter a try.


  1. It's always cool to find a new blog to follow!

  2. I'm not a wine drinker, but I could definitely get on board with honey tasting. I always enjoy finding the subtle differences in various honeys.

  3. I'd like to be part of the chocolate tasting club. Wine too! I'm not too big on mushrooms although wifey is.

  4. I'm intrigued by the pollen tasting. What was it like, as compared to honey? The chocolate and the cheeseburger sound divine, and you can never really go wrong with honey (or can you?).

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 A-to-Z Challenge!

  5. The pollen itself was quite bitter - not unpleasantly but also not the sort of thing you'd eat by the handful. The point though, was that even tiny, individual pellets were subtly different from one another, ultimately accounting for the variety of flavors in honey. To me, this begged the question as to how commercially produced honey managed to achieve such consistent flavor. Our tasting hostess suggested that it's likely a result of blending honey from various sources, but in fact they might not actually be as consistent as you'd think.