Faith Dionne is no novice when it comes to creating culinary confections, and her use of honey goes beyond adding sweetness to her products. She uses it to support local economies and bring people together.
“I use honey in all my products. It adds depth and complexity to my marshmallows, Pate de Fruit and the slightest flavor to my crème fondants,” Dionne, owner of Bees & Beans, located in Portland, Ore., said. “It is prominent in my caramels, taffy and nougats. I have committed to using honey.”
Dionne’s passion for pastries began in 1997 after she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. From there, she worked around the country in a variety of climates and regions.
“I enjoyed learning about local ingredients and how to feature the flavors I found in these places,” she said. “I use a variety of classical techniques to highlight the ingredients. Local ingredients are a staple of her products. No matter where she works, she always uses local ingredients to give her foods a unique and native taste.
“The ‘Beans’ refers to the bean-to-bar domestic chocolates I use and the ‘Bees’ refers to the local honey I use. I decided to highlight honey in nougat and embrace the variance as a log of time and place.”
She says one of the main reasons she uses honey is to support local beekeepers and producers of honey. “The biggest benefit (when using honey) is to the local food system, followed by flavor and connection to the community,” Dionne said. “Local should be the first choice in every product, regardless of expense because we live in an integrated economy where we support each other.”
One of her objectives when she travels to a new location is to discover the local food culture. She does this in a number of ways including exploring farmers’ markets, driving through an agricultural area or even talking to local restaurants.
“Throughout my career, I learned about sour cherries and cheese in Utah, peach and wild game in Colorado, fresh beef in Wyoming, heirloom tomatoes and cider doughnuts in New York and muscadines and sorghum molasses in Georgia,” she said. “Not to mention all kinds of berries, pears, hazelnuts, coffee, pinot noir, and of course, honey in Oregon.”
Dionne says right now there aren’t many confectioners using honey like she does, but the numbers are growing daily.
“Since Bees & Beans began, I’ve seen more confectioners using honey, even if it is just a portion of their invert sugar. Our confections are of the highest quality, elegantly packed and widely pleasing.”
They are so pleasing, in fact, that she has won the Good Foods Award twice, once in 2013 and again in 2016. The award is judged by experts in the field and the products are tasted blindly (no packaging, marketing or reputation).
“I am delighted to have won twice for my products. They loved the quality, and they know that our practices are good,” Dionne said.
But just because she’s won an award twice doesn’t mean she can slow down on creating innovative, honey-infused candies. She’s currently working on a new, culinary confection: Li’l Mint. “I’d like to release that in the next year or two. It’s a mint cream fondant that also uses honey in a dark chocolate shell,” she said. “It’s meant for an everyday type of treat.”
Check out these Bees & Beans products made with honey!
Honey Bar Reserve
This 2016 Good Food Award Winner is made with honey, organic dairy, single-origin amano chocolate, sea salt, honey caramel and hazelnut nougat for a delicious delectable that melts in your mouth.
This crispy, crunchy, sweet candy bar is made with honey, milk chocolate, and peanut butter combined with dark chocolate to make an addicting, appealing treat.
That’s what one San Francisco-based company is doing. ReGrained, founded in mid-2012 by Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz, takes the wet grains from breweries and repurposes them as healthy snack bars, all of which are made with honey.
In order to make the bars, Kurzrock and Schwartz collect the used grains from local breweries, dry and bake them. At first, they tried turning the grains into bread, but the bread would expire in only one day. They realized they needed a more sustainable product and something to help prolong the shelf life. That’s where honey enters the picture.
“Honey is a huge part of our story. Not only does it add flavor to our product, but it helps with the shelf life too,” Kurzrock said. “It’s delicious and functional for binding. And we have a great opportunity to use a natural ingredient.”
After deciding to produce snack bars, they partnered with local beekeepers and created their first two flavors: Honey Almond IPA and Chocolate Coffee Stout.
“Reducing waste and investing in the growth in companies doing good for the environment is one of our main goals,” Kurzrock said. “Our next step is to increase distribution and create all different products with our unique grains. We are thinking about making a high-protein, high-fiber cookie next.”
Check out these ReGrained bars that are made with honey!
Honey Almond IPA
This snack bar is baked using grains from local breweries and infused with almonds, oats, cinnamon and honey to bind it together and give a sweet, savory taste.
Chocolate Coffee Stout
The Chocolate Coffee Stout bar pairs semi-sweet chocolate, coffee and honey to create a snack that not only fills you up, but gives you the satisfying taste of chocolate and honey in every bite.
Innova Market Insights recently found that products that use the word ‘Paleo’ have tripled in the last three months. Here are a few of our favorite Paleo products.
Steve’s Palelogoods started in 2007 when the founder, Steve Liberati, decided to provide nutritious lunches for young athletes to eat at school. The company has grown since then, providing a variety of portable snacks for the Paleo diet. The Paleokrunch Bar is a gluten-free and grainless granola bar that helps you stay Paleo anytime, anywhere. It is a delicious blend of shredded coconut, raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, raw almonds and a touch of honey.
Julian Bakery’s Paleo Bread Honey is a great way to begin your transition to the Paleo way of eating. The bread is gluten-free, grain-free, yeast-free and soy-free, and lightly sweetened with honey.
There are also alternative options instead of just drinking water if you’re on the Paleo Diet. Lipton’s Decaffeinated Honey Lemon Green Tea has a smooth taste and refreshing aroma and is made with honey.