A Taste of LIKE HONEY
By Liz Everly
So LIKE HONEY is coming out on April 3! Yay! As you already know, this book means a lot to me–so I’m very excited. I have chapter one published on my blog, if you’d care to take a look. But one of the early reviewer said how much she liked the honey tasting scenes. So I thought I’d share the first one with you. Gray has brought Jennifer some honey to taste. Enjoy!
“What kind of honey did you bring?”
“Several different kinds,” he said, following her to the fire, pulling another chair over and then sliding a small table between them.
He set out three jars of honey in a variety of shades. A barely yellow, almost translucent honey was labeled Lavender, from France. A darker, almost brown honey was labeled Chestnut from Italy, and yet another deep rich golden-looking honey was labeled Tupelo, from Florida. Intriguing. Jennifer picked up the Tupelo jar and held it up to the firelight.
“Taste?” he said. She nodded.
“Tupelo honey,” he said as he dipped the spoon in for her and handed it to her. “It comes from the blossoms of the Ogeechee tupelo in Florida.”
Her mouth went around the spoon as she ate the honey, noting its taste and texture in her mouth. Sweet and light like cotton candy or flowers. “Good stuff,” she said.
“Tastes good, huh? But here’s the thing about this stuff, it doesn’t crystallize at all because of its high fructose content.”
“Crystallization is a problem for us, but only with the starflower crop, and most of our customers are local and they use it quickly,” she said. “Next.”
He dipped the next spoon, held it up as the silky thread of honey spun down. He dragged the spoon on the side of the jar. The rich amber color of it was breathtaking.
Jennifer reached for the spoon and in went the honey. The taste exploded in her mouth. Dark and spicy, with touches of smoke and leather.
“I’ve sampled chestnut honey from almost all of Italy’s regions, and no two of them have ever tasted alike. They vary wildly in intensity of color and flavor due to a number of factors, including the type of chestnut tree and its natural microclimate, the methods by which the bees are moved among the chestnut blossoms, and how or if the honey is refined after it has been collected. This is probably my favorite,” he said, then watched as she reacted with mmmm’s and nods. So sexy.
“This is honey?” she finally said. “It’s almost like wine. The different tastes and even textures. There’s so many of them. I’d like another spoonful please.”
“You’re right. Like wine varietals, each type and batch of honey has a unique flavor and texture, and trying to distinguish one from the next can be a daunting task. Two general rules apply: the darker the honey, the stronger the taste, and the more liquid the honey, the more fragrant.”
She leaned farther toward him in her chair and he was there already. His spoon touched her spoon as they each slopped into the honey jar for the last drop of chestnut honey.
“I didn’t bring very much, just a sample,” he said, and laughed. “Next time I’ll bring more.”
“I hope so,” said Jennifer. “You’re such a tease . . . with this honey,” she said, her face heating slightly. She loved watching his long fingers wrap around the spoon and stir into the thick sticky stuff.
The last jar was very light yellow in color, the lavender from France. When she tasted it, she nearly swooned. It was like tasting the fields of Provence.
Her eyes widened in sheer delight. “Mmm-mmm-Mmm.”
“Good, heh?” A grin spread across his face.
“So good!” She couldn’t hold back her enthusiasm; she almost felt like a child discovering a new toy, except that her senses were heightened and aware in a way that she could not have imagined as a child.
“Do you have more?” she asked after a moment.
“I have more back at my place. But maybe three honeys in one night is enough, considering the hour.”
The fire was blazing. Shadows played against the wall. Jennifer relished in the aftertaste of the honey. She tried not to look at her companion, whose eyes drew her in with each breath. The fire. Look at the fire. Not at his eyes.