Oser Communications Group

Oli e Aceti 2019

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www.gourmetnews.com Gourmet News • Oli e Aceti 7 Built By Bees Wins sofi with Sourwood Honey Balsamic BY GREG GONZALES Sometimes, nature really does do it best — albeit, a gentle, meticulous helping hand can turn a great natural food into some- thing extraordinary. That's the philosophy behind the Queen's Harvest Sourwood Honey Balsamic Vinegar from Built By Bees, which won a gold sofi Award this year. It's a lighter, yet flavorful vinegar that gets its unique qualities from New Eng- land apples and mountain sourwood honey from northern Georgia. Empire, Fuji and Honeycrisp apples are combined with the honey to ferment into a type of mead called cyser, and then barrel-aged for 18 months in oak. The result, explained Built By Bees Owner and Founder Tim Haratine, is a buttery, caramel taste and a touch of spicy twang, with only 4.1 percent acidity. "The sourwood is named for the tree. It's not ac- tually sour," he said. "So you end up with this crazy marriage of buttery caramel with spice, and tart and bitter with some pop. It gets the palate going because it covers a lot of the different taste groups. It's exciting for the tongue." The low acidity makes the vinegar great for people who want a little less sharpness. It's a lighter option to drizzle on salads, roasted meats, soups, or even over strawberries with black ground pepper for a tangy-sweet treat. Haratine said the honey is what really ranks this vinegar at the top of the hive. Rather than adding any flavors to the vinegar, Haratine selected a monofloral honey to en- sure a repeatable flavor experience. "We wanted to work from the beginning with a honey that had more con- sistency from year to year," he said."Every batch from wildflower is like a snowflake: it's all different, so we couldn't rely on the consistency. So we went with a monoflo- ral." Sourwood honey in particular, though, comes with unique challenges. "The season for sourwood honey starts in August," said Haratine. "Anyone who has sourwood honey that you can source from, they don't have any right now, so we're living off the honey we sourced and acquired last year. It only blos- soms for a couple weeks in late July and August, so we have to buy all we can get at that point in time, and plan for it to last us the whole year. There are only so many sourwood trees." Because of that, Hara- tine says the suggested retail price for an 8.5- ounce bottle is $18.95 until the season kicks off again in August, but the usual suggested re- tail price is $16.95. Still, Haratine added, plenty of people are willing to pay the premium for that fla- vor. He said he's looking to create all-nat- ural lines free of added sugars, preservatives and other additives. Flavor is primary, he added, but attention to qual- ity is equal. "We could probably make our products taste even better if we dumped a lot of stuff in there that we shouldn't, so we work really hard to provide a great product that's actually healthy for you." For more information, email sales@builtbybees.com. GN Stonewall Kitchen Wins Bronze sofi Award Award-winning spe- cialty food producer Stonewall Kitchen is pleased to announce that its 25-Star Grand Reserve Balsamic Vine- gar received the 2019 Bronze sofi™ Award in the Vinegar Category from the Specialty Food Association. "It's an absolute honor to receive this award," said Janine Somers, Stonewall Kitchen's Director of Marketing. "Stonewall Kitchen acquired Napa Valley Naturals in November of 2018, a brand known for its high quality and taste of nat- ural oils and vinegars. The 25-Star Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar is one of the most popular products in the Napa Valley Naturals vinegar line, and for us to win this award is a great testament to the pre- mium brands we have added to our family of brands." "The Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar is a delicious, clean label with just two ingre- dients: grape must and wine vinegar," she added. "The vinegar's rich and smooth taste is a perfect addition to any meal that you'd like to take to the next level." This is the 30th award Stonewall Kitchen has received from the Specialty Food Asso- ciation in 22 years. GN "You end up with this crazy marriage of buttery caramel with spice, and tart and bitter with some pop. It gets the palate going because it covers a lot of the different taste groups. It's exciting for the tongue." — Tim Haratine

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